31 December 2017

2017 KBCULTURE Awards

We are oh-so-pleased to reveal the honorees of this year's competition! Hearty congratulations to all!

05 December 2017

Flush with Meaning

Recent depressing developments [see: Bear Ears National Monument, tax reform, border wall, et al] have me looking to art for comfort. Made while he was participating in the arts/industry residency program at the John Michael Kohler [yes, that Kohler] Arts Center, this 1974 sculpture by Jack Earl caught my eye. Perhaps you'll find some personal solace in 'The Factory as Toilet' as well.

04 December 2017

Sky-High Kitchen

Dubbed the 'Jenga tower' for its top-heavy collection of blocky,  cantilevered condos, the new high-rise by architects Herzog & de Meuron features kitchens that counter that jagged image. Curving islands and conical range hoods add an element of softness to the interior. dada-kitchens.com

30 November 2017

Masonry Masterpiece

I see more than a little bit of Sol LeWitt in the bold, precise lines that course through this bath by Jean-Louis Deniot. But that's not paint on the walls or floor—it's stone. [Beige French limestone and grey Cascais limestone, to be specific.] The cabinet doors continue the pattern; are they mirrored or painted? I'll never tell—to do so would dilute the mystery of the space. deniot.com

29 November 2017

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Well, it's about time that someone realized that slapping a small interactive display on the front of a major appliance was nothing more than an exercise in frustration. We squint, unsatisfied, at tiny screens for hours at a time, usually engaged in something far less detail-oriented as following a recipe—why think such a design is desirable? The Vision oven features a full-door, 19-inch screen that's easily readable from a comfortable distance. And it's not limited to instructional videos; a camera lets you keep an eye on the oven interior from the comfort of your electronic device of choice. hoover.co.uk

28 November 2017

Sinking In

Designed by Dario Gaudio and Vittorio Venezia, the Controstampo pedestal sink is at once raw and refined. There's something about the indeterminate industrial look of the piece that I find quite appealing. A matching tub is also available. falper.it

27 November 2017

A Serene [and Clean] Kitchen

In the wake of Thanksgiving, it's almost startling to see a kitchen that's so tidy. That reaction is heightened by several more integral factors of the design: The shadowy, fog-colored palette; the dissolving, rounded edges of the cabinets, the coved ceiling, and the arched door; the time-telescoping use of contemporary and period details. Hmm...maybe the room is more evocative of Halloween than Turkey Day? evgeniybulatnikov.com

23 November 2017

The Afterbath

Once the beast feast is done, it's time to start planning a recuperative, post-Thanksgiving soak. Allow me to suggest the 'Grid' tub, designed by Werner Aisslinger and Tina Bunyaprasit. Accessories [A wine cooler? Just a suggestion....] can be hung from the enclosing tubular frame, solving a problem that's unique to free-standing tubs. kaldewei.us

22 November 2017

Calm [Kitchen] Before the Storm

This refined kitchen storage reassures me that in this week of culinary chaos, there are still beautiful details in the room deserving of appreciation. In this pantry alcove, the transparent woven-brass sliding screen is a lovely counterpoint to the dusky blue chevron-patterned parquet wall. The design is enlightened; the craftsmanship extraordinary. Something to be thankful for, indeed. lanserring.com

21 November 2017

Beyond the Buffet

While an artistic endeavor, this plate-as-table/table-as-plate design holds much practical potential. As demonstrated in the above film clip, the Bento Table can be endlessly reconfigured to serve a multitude of dishes to a multitude of people, making it a fabulous—if fantastic—furnishing for Thanksgiving dinner. nillylandao.com

20 November 2017

Talking Turkey

It's Thanksgiving week—time to bring it on in the kitchen. For me, the most important design ingredient is a copious amount of work surface. I'm not picky; it can be centralized or dispersed throughout the room, just as long as there's lots of it. This kitchen, anchored by a generous table/island, looks like a promising environment. plainenglishdesign.co.uk

16 November 2017

Tall, Dark, and Handsome [Storage]

In the dual-purpose category of kitchen design, this freestanding, functional partition wall supplies both spatial definition and storage. With a back panel of white opaque glass, it conducts soft, diffused light into adjacent areas. A slim five inches deep, it's well suited for keeping flat or shallow items close at hand. henrybuilt.com

15 November 2017

Ring Around the Rosette

Complementing the collection of concrete-handled taps, this eye-catching trim treatment for the showerhead is brand new. Pop on a concrete rim—eight colors are on offer—and break away from the monochromatic metal look. ritmonio.it

14 November 2017

Bathroom Breakthrough

As if the world wasn't upended enough—we now have a pocket door for shower enclosures. [At least this is good news!] A clever combination of drain and door track, the hardware sits flush to the floor, ensuring easy access for all. With no space-eating door swing or bypass requirements, it's great for small baths. And the soft-close mechanism is a true gift to the noise-averse among us. Available in lengths up to 48 inches. scrigno.net

13 November 2017

Not Standard Issue

Sometimes all it takes to make a kitchen memorable is a curving countertop—really, why not stray from the straight line? But of course, there's more to the Cloe kitchen than a creative contour. Pairing a deeply textured dark elm with satin-finish white surfaces produces a scintillating contrast. The doors and drawers feature a finger-friendly 30º bevel on the inside edge, making them easy to operate. cesar.it

08 November 2017

Pants on Fire

In nine years [!] of producing KBCULTURE, I have never shown the same product twice—until now, and that's with a qualifier: this Pinocchio faucet is now available with the above-shown chrome finish. More than two years ago, I featured the original wooden-body model, in what turned out to be a modestly prescient post. With yesterday's promising political developments, it seemed appropriate to revisit the design; while the silver-tone fitting is sleek, I'm guessing the Liar-in-Chief would opt for nothing less than a gold model. emmevi.it

07 November 2017

Sink as Sculpture

The prolific Patricia Urquiola designed the Wave basin as part of a larger group of products, the Sonar Collection. Made of a proprietary, wafer-thin ceramic that allows crisp curves and edges to be fabricated, the pedestal sink brings a light yet assertive form to the bath. laufen.com

06 November 2017

Wood is Good

I had the great fortune to visit this location—the Copenhagen showroom for the fabled Danish flooring company—shortly before it opened. Even as a corporate kitchen, it's a space that impresses with its materiality and craftsmanship. Designed by Dinesen creative director Thomas Lykke. dinesen.com

31 October 2017

Put Your Heads Together

Josep Motas designed these tiles, a kaleidoscopic riff on cartoonish craniums. In various sizes and colors [mix-and-match mandibles, anyone?], they're available in glazed terra cotta, concrete, or stoneware. Happy Halloween! bussoga.com

30 October 2017

The New Orange

Of course it's the color scheme that triggered this post. But the design merits are worthy of attention; these straightforward storage modules copped a Red Dot award. Fabricated of recycled polystyrene, the individual panels click endlessly together, thanks to the double-mitred edge. They can be fitted with casters and doors, and are offered in 16 brilliant colors. qubing.com

27 October 2017

BOOtiful Design, The End

It's interesting that all three of the people pictured in this 1956 ad could pass as a Halloween character today, but back then, only the combo cowboy-astronaut would be seen as something [or somebody] other than normal.

Such is time.

26 October 2017

BOOtiful Design, Day Four

Not exactly scary but certainly somber, this bathroom has a noir palette and lighting that's best described as moody. This makes looking in the mirror a starkly contemplative experience—one fully appropriate to Halloween. fionalynch.com.au

25 October 2017

BOOtiful Design, Day Three

While the design of the Sesel cabinet pulls is based on granite formations in the Seychelles, at this time of year I see them as amoeba-like creatures, stealthily creeping across the surfaces of doors and drawers. Hand-brushed cast bronze, they can be installed in any orientation—shape-shifting of a benign sort. laurameroni.com

24 October 2017

BOOtiful Design, Day Two

While I appreciate the latent onomatopoeic quality in the name of this lighting fixture—it's called 'Vichy'—I am more impressed by its form: an abstracted bat [vampire, or some less threatening branch of the taxonomy]. It's available with a wider 'wingspan'. jonathanbrowninginc.com

23 October 2017

BOOtiful Design

In this week's run-up to All Hallows' Eve, I'll be featuring kitchen and bath items that are a bit on the dark side—such as this high Gothic range hood. Let's hope that the insert draws well, because cleaning any grease off this ornately carved piece would otherwise require some devilishly good help.

17 October 2017

Points of Light

Applying its expertise in illuminated door handles to a smaller scale, Martin Pierce is developing a collection of LED-powered drawer and cupboard pulls. The Morphic collection is lit with a tiny, high density light strip. Dimmable, it provides accurate color renderings—an important consideration when cabinets are literally in the spot light. martinpierce.com

16 October 2017

Zaha's Kitchen

The Code kitchen was designed by the late Zaha Hadid. Now in production, it's a toned-down melding of the architect's favored swoops and curves. While I find it too tame to convincingly be a part of her exuberant oeveure, it nonetheless offers a distinctive look that can be at home in contemporary or period settings. boffi.com

12 October 2017

Sui Generis Soaker

I must say that in many years of watching the bath scene, I've not come across a design quite like the Pfeiffer. A lumpy block of raw marble on the outside, the inside of the tub is smooth. Surmounted by a walnut surface supported by copper-footed legs, the piece has a rather unlikely mid-century-meets-mesolithic aesthetic. Designed by Cláudia Verde. tccwhitestone.com

10 October 2017

The Personal Touch

Neri & Hu designed the Ren collection of storage furnishings with the Chinese ideogram for 'human' as a point of departure; the character resembles an inverted 'Y'. The frame of this dressing table is Canalatto walnut, surfaces are wrapped in fine saddle leather, and brass hangers suspend shelves and mirrors. arksf.com

09 October 2017

You Say It's Your Birthday

John and Yoko remodeled their kitchen in the Dakota to be more in the spirit of the artists' lofts they knew when they lived downtown on Bank Street. Saltillo tiles, a combination of open shelves and closed cupboards, director's chairs, and a farm table—it's very 1980.

Happy birthday, JWL + SOL.

04 October 2017

Better Together

Here's a bath for the stylistically undecided. The grisaille palette ensures the the contemporary elements and the more baroque flourishes are equal partners in the design. And one needn't live in a baronial palazzo to have ornately plastered walls—a skillfully made photo mural will suffice.

02 October 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Big—really big—built-in cabinets have been making quite the mark in kitchen design lately. Owing to their jumbo size, they offer more than storage capacity; they are large enough to house work stations (complete with counter space and power outlets). The Trotter kitchen features walnut doors whose mitered frame angles outward, adding dimension and focus to the wall. gama-decor.com

29 September 2017

If Only...

Just imagine if the current First Family exhibited the virtues ascribed to these appliances: tasteful style, helpful features, and honest value.

Keep the faith!

28 September 2017

A Good Game, Indeed

The 'Backgammon' encaustic tiles on this backsplash knit the cabinets together with color; their pattern echos the herringbone marquetry of the floor. The color options are limited only by the proverbial imagination. pophamdesign.com

27 September 2017

Foot Fetish

I think the Rockwell tub would be best at home in a kids' bath—but with its exaggerated forms and punchy palette, it would also be well suited to a PoMo- or Memphis-inspired interior. The feet are optional, but what would be the point of stripping away its distinguishing characteristic? Made of a stone/mineral compound, it's offered in nine standard colors, and custom hues, too. thewatermonopoly.com

26 September 2017

Weathered—Or Not

No fancy fittings here—water for both the sink and shower flows from what are essentially stub-outs. This almost certainly creates a major splash event, but the wet-room design of this bath is built to handle just that. I'd like to revisit the space after a couple years' use, to see how the then-patinated copper alters the appearance of the room. stonewooddesign.co.uk

25 September 2017

Super Kitchen

During last week's London Design Festival, KitchenAid revealed a series of concept kitchens. This one, by Ellen Bernhardt and Paola Vella, is my pick of the lot. The pole-based system could be installed in virtually any space, as it's not dependent on walls. The brass supports are fitted with tinted-glass shelves, lending a note of color to the kitchen. The name—La Super Leggera ['The Super Light']—could refer to weight, massing, or even be an artistic reference: doesn't the design bear a certain resemblance to a musical staff? kitchenaid.com

22 September 2017

Chemical Warfare

As Agent Orange continues his charm offensive [or is it offensive charm?] with bro Rocket Man, let us look to history for lessons. This was part of the response in 1962 to the Bomb Threat du jour. I'm particularly impressed by the manufacturer's assurance, 'Comes complete with chemicals.' In the implied holocaustic scenario, wasn't there little doubt that if anything, the world would enjoy a surfeit of such substances? And note: 'Agent' inquiries were invited...orange or otherwise.

21 September 2017

Cue the 'cue

Defying the calendar, we'll have a summer-like weekend, with temperatures close to 90ºF. Let the cookouts continue, I say! Made of Corten steel, this durable design will easily make the transition into fall [whenever it should arrive]. It's offered as a standalone model, or with one or two oak shelvesone or two oak shelves. The pedestal opens to store fuel, whether wood or briquettes. attika.ch

20 September 2017

Streaming Surprise

From this perspective, the Vita faucet might look more like a drinking fountain, with its upward-facing angle. But the water flows down from a slit on the underside of the sleek fitting's spigot. The anodized colors make me happy, as does the spunky form—both hallmarks of the faucet's designer, Karim Rashid. cisal.it

18 September 2017

Transitional Kitchen

Exactly what 'transition' does this kitchen represent, you may ask. Well, while the time of year would signal a seasonal change, I see this design also showing a shift in outlook—the vintage back-bars finding a new purpose as kitchen storage.

15 September 2017

Bathroom Blues

American post-war prosperity was hitting its stride in 1961, as this ad reflects. Three happy, well-dressed kids—but not enough bathrooms. Sad! No longer was sharing deemed necessary, nor virtuous. The more, the better would become the eventual model. And a soothing Cerulean Blue made it all the more palatable.

14 September 2017

Stone Shower

The rock-filled wire cages called gabion—typically used as retaining walls—have been the darlings of landscape architects and interior designers for several seasons, owing to their eco-friendly image and compelling materiality. I've seen them used as enclosure for outdoor showers, but this freestanding application is a first for me. In these still-steamy, waning days of summer, it's a cool idea. gartdeco.ch

13 September 2017

Bath for Reflection

In New York, this week has come to symbolize much more than the unofficial end of summer. A quietness creeps over the city, especially in the downtown area, as people remember the day the towers fell. This contemplative space brings solid and light together in a way I find calming. johnpawson.com

12 September 2017

Future Past

A confession: Lately, I've been finding escape—and even fulfillment—in episodes of Star Trek. A few days ago marked the anniversary of the original series' debut in 1966. This look at the galley of a later version of the USS Enterprise reveals a clean, spacious, and well-lighted prep area, as well as a predilection for cabbage.

11 September 2017

Kitchen as Art

A more enigmatic kitchen I have yet to see! Task lighting is eschewed in favor of mysterious glows. On the far wall, panels of raw travertine slide to reveal [or conceal] a cooking alcove that's lined in luminous bronze. The thin bronze frame that cages the island barely seems capable of containing the massive block of carved Nero Marquina marble. dietervandervelpen.com

07 September 2017

Odd Couplings

The smooth curve of the faucet and angles of the pedestal basin; the modern elements in the traditional setting. Mixing things up can be liberating. The Maccione II sink sets the tone for this bath. theinteriorgallery.com

06 September 2017

Coming to Grips

A delightful cabinet detail, this. A small, simple finger pull is amplified by a top layer of surfacing material. The effect calls attention to the shape, depth, and strata of the drawer front, all done in a surprising way. nicolajbo.dk

05 September 2017

Endless Summer

Cowabunga, dude—here's an outdoor shower with a decidedly Left Coast style. These are real surfboards, with hot and cold copper supply lines running inside their cores. They can be fitted with hand showers and foot rinsers [beach sand, you know], or kept to a surf-shack standard, with only a cold water spray. strandboards.com

04 September 2017

Best of the West

Los Angeles is much in my mind and my heart these days. So I'm happy to see how one of its architectural highlights, the Harpel house by architect John Lautner, has been brought back to close to its 1956 state. Unencumbered by any hanging cabinets, the kitchen offers a fabulous view of the City of Angels.

01 September 2017

Well, Anything is Possible

To answer the question: Yes. But I'd counter with another query—Why?

I'm off for a long [and last] holiday weekend, dear readers. Best until Tuesday!