25 April 2017

Seeing Double

Such a simple and smart idea: offsetting the sinks from the mirrors yields a near full-length looking glass, a feature extremely handy in the bath. The Origin collection of fixtures and furniture, with its rounded lines, lends itself well to this design. inbani.com

24 April 2017

Trans-Dimensional Kitchen

This installation, created for Salone, is a delightful escape from reality [a fact alone making it an ideal post for a gloomy Monday]. Superimposed on the space, blue boundaries define invisible walls, letting one experience an open kitchen while imaging an enclosed room. marcante-testa.it

21 April 2017

Why We Have Earth Day

I've collected hundreds of vintage ads featuring kitchen and bath accoutrements in order to provide a steady stream of fodder for our Flashback Friday posts. Reviewing them for this Earth Day edition, I am astonished to report that none of them—spanning more than a century—focus on any type of energy-saving attributes. Instead, the emphasis is on convenience, speed, or capacity. So today I present one of the most egregious examples of conspicuous energy consumption I have on file. Made in 1934, this three-door monster is testimony to how far we've come in our awareness of efficiency.

20 April 2017

Planes Talk

There's another photo of this bathroom that shows its context: in it, a leaded glass transom over the door definitively pegs it as a contemporary remodel of a much-older home. While that view was telling, I think this shot really reveals the proficiency of the designer. Optically and physically composing mirrors and walls and a too-fab flat sink into a literal reflection on the space is a tour de force work of vision and precision. liebkeprojects.com.au 

19 April 2017

Bowled Over

The pudgy Bulbo sink is eminently lovable. Sitting on a trio of squat legs, the concrete basin straddles the line between folk art and fine sculpture. I think it would work best with a palette of natural finishes; this plaster counter has both the tactility and heft that the sink needs. urbietorbi.gr

18 April 2017

Coming Clean

The dark abyss under the kitchen sink has gotten a bit brighter, and the sometimes odoriferous drain is sporting a citrus scent, thanks to the Fresh Kitchen food disposer with its automatic fragrance function. Let fashion or fragrance guide your decision on which color-coordinated unit to install; it's offered in lemon/yellow, orange/orange, and lime/green. A matching sink baffle is available, too. insinkerator.com

17 April 2017

Mixed-Media Kitchen

The late Dirk Cousaert found endless inspiration and meaning in overt materiality and basic forms. Rough wood and raw steel are found throughout his work. Unorthodox—but perfectly functional—appliance installations make his kitchens not for the mainstream. I shall miss his explorations of design. dirkcousaert.be

14 April 2017

Egg-cellent Design

The similarity between these brightly hued sinks from the 1970s and a clutch of colorful Easter eggs can't be overlooked—especially this weekend. Best wishes for a joyful holiday, dear readers.

13 April 2017

You Don't Spray!

Here, with the Magic Swan, we essentially have the humble vegetable sprayer elevated to the position of primary kitchen faucet. While silicone-spouted designs are no longer unusual, this model takes it to the extreme: stripped of even the barest armature, just an adjustable stand holds the hose in place. It's a winner of the 2017 German Design award. primyonline.com

12 April 2017

Bubbled Bath

From the Fantasy Bath Files: An effervescent design, the Newton tub is a witty comment—as I see it, at least—of Sir Isaac's Laws of Motion; specifically, a body in repose. The tub is also offered in a lacquered black version. maisonvalentina.net

11 April 2017

Everything You Need

On the rare morning where there is time to spare for la toilette, having the option to sit [rather than stand] is a genuine luxury. The appropriately-named Narciso vanity facilitates this in a very compact footprint. Designers Andrea Parisio and Giuseppe Pezzano have put both sink and storage within an arm's reach without creating any feeling of confinement, thanks to the unit's modular make up. ceramicacielo.com

10 April 2017

A Glassy Kitchen Design

I've always wondered about the glass shields that often enclose range hoods in European kitchens...my best guess is something having to do with fire codes, but please weigh in should you know the real story, dear readers.

In any case, that glass box relates quite well to the glass-fronted cabinet that fits flush with the wall. The other glazing-based elements in this kitchen—the two windows—pretty much assured there could be no wall cabinets in the room. I think this is a very successful example of doing much with little. spatialcode.dk

07 April 2017

Cool Thinking

The world was in tumult in the year this ad appeared, 1929. The stock market had crashed, and restive political forces were being felt around the globe. Yet for some reason Frigidaire felt the populace wanted to acquire the same refrigerators used by 'presidents and kings.' Was it a distractive ploy, or an appeal to the aspirational hopes of a generation? I can't answer that question, but I do recognize a similar situation today....

06 April 2017

Wine-ding Down

Sure, those seven-bottle wine fridges are cute. But there are times—like a day [ahem] when a deadline, a prodigious traffic jam, and monsoon-scale rains coincide—when a more accommodating arrangement is called for. Voila: these custom towers hold a cellar's worth of vino, and spin 360º so that each bottle is within easy reach. revelcellars.com

05 April 2017

Clearing the Air

For years, downdraft ventilation was sidelined as a less-than-effective technology with limited applications. The common complaint: to efficiently evacuate cooking vapors, the vents had to pull so much air that they would extinguish gas burners. Now, re-engineered downdrafts have wafted back to the scene, frequently integrated [as seen above, often quite stylishly] into flame-free induction cooktops. jennair.com

04 April 2017

Unreal Appeal

This design gives new meaning to 'dream bath.' With its ethereal column of light, clouded-marble wall cladding, and a mirror whose irregular geometry seems pulled from a Salvador Dalí painting, there's definitely an illusory quality to the room. Perhaps the most surreal aspect of the space is the basin-less sink, where water disappears down linear drains set around the perimeter of the flat-topped fixture. leveronedesign.com

03 April 2017

An Unexpected Focal Point

The way this window is detailed—pushed outward into a corner and framed by deep, thick, and thin slices of wall—makes it appear to be part and apart of the kitchen. The effect [to me] is that it anticipates or implies another space beyond this room. katehume.com

31 March 2017

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

If there was ever a time for a bath-room/sanitarium combo, this it it. [Although apparently, 1898—the date of this ad—was a pretty rough year, as well.]

A short six months ago, I'd contest that sitting directly over an open flame would 'soothe the nerves', but now, as we careen through an arbitrary period of 100 fraught days, I can definitely see the virtue of such self-punishment. Under the current circumstances, I'd even give the 'not ours' model a try, too.

30 March 2017

Keeping One's Cool

As spring takes its sweet time in arriving, this powder room reminds me of just how great an impact nature can have on design. Even a mere threesome of flowers [multiplied to six by the mirror] gives life to an otherwise icy space that's clad in elaborately carved solid surfacing. dessinsllc.com

29 March 2017

Eye Candy

Congratulations—we've reached the mid-point of the week! To celebrate, how about a porcelain tile that's somewhat edgy, but not over-the-edge? The Shades collection, designed by architect by Marco Piva, will debut at Salone next week. In advance, I applaud how it plays with color to create effects of depth and volume. casalgrandepadana.com

28 March 2017

In the Grooves

I'm fascinated how the digital overlays the natural in this doorstyle, part of the Bellagio kitchen by Bartoli Design. A consistent texture is broken into a pattern of uneven horizontal lengths. Put another way: It's like transforming a familiar song with a scat-tempoed rhythm. laurameroni.com

27 March 2017

An Essential Kitchen

Hasn't even the most devoted acolyte of the 'lived-in look' on occasion yearned for a kitchen that is beyond simple? While the Ceragino model isn't practical for a large family, its all-in-one design brings visual tranquility to a small household. sanwacompany.co.jp

24 March 2017

Living Not-Quite Large

I'm all for a frugal lifestyle, but this 1960ish ad makes a statement that's cause for concern. The claim that the fridge's capacity of 3.1 cubic feet would adequately store a week's worth of food 'for a small family' has me a bit skeptical. Hanging a larger appliance on the wall [!] wouldn't be practical, so perhaps Draconian portion control is the key to this mystery....

23 March 2017

Conflicted Climate

It's spring—isn't it? I'm so confused. The crocus were beginning to pop up before last week's blizzard buried them, and today's temps are below freezing. A retreat to this herbal sauna might help. Emitting a garden-fresh fragrance in a toasty enclosure, it bridges the unseemly seasonal gap we're experiencing. carmentasri.com

22 March 2017

Subtle + Strong

The integral backsplash of the JP sink is topped by a small shelf that conceals the water outlet as well as providing a modest storage area. The design, by Monica Freitas Geronimi, is available in basalt and solid surfacing material, in addition to the Carrara marble model shown here. mg12.it

21 March 2017

Art Appreciated

Look long enough at the Miro 2 hanging fixture—and it still remains an enigma, at least to me. In a time when answers to the most obtuse questions can be found in the blink of an eye, I'm happy to contemplate the deliberate composition of the light, its unequal glass globes pierced by a brass frame. atelierdetroupe.com

20 March 2017

Maybe Next Week

Well, this isn't exactly the kind of kitchen I was hoping to feature this first week of spring. Something a bit brighter and lighter, and with at least a hint of color, would ordinarily be in order. But as we're still under a foot of snow, this muted space is more appropriate. Natural wood cabinets contrast with the concrete and plaster surfaces like bare tree branches poking out from their icy coating.

17 March 2017

Wearing of the Green

Ah, 1964—an awkward year. Trying to escape the drabness of the 1950s, yet too far away from the peak of the psychedelic 60s to be very interesting in terms of color. This 'Kohler Green' is practically grey; it's hard to fathom that this mildew-influenced hue would be something a homeowner would welcome on a daily basis, let alone live with for 'a lifetime.'

16 March 2017

It's Not Just for Popcorn Anymore

As we are extremely invested in the world of kitchen appliances here at KBCULTURE, I'm sharing this video as a sort of public service. As you may have noticed, there has been a recent interest in the capabilities of the microwave oven. Watch and learn....

15 March 2017

Old is New

There's an archaeological aspect to this design that makes the piece feel both new and familiar to me. Brass rods tie the trio of basalt columns together in a way that's distinctly architectural; it's easy to imagine the pedestal is a fragment of a stone structure from ages past [or present]. The width of the openings between the pillars can be adjusted, allowing the construction to fit into spaces of various sizes. stoneforest.com

14 March 2017

A Sliver of a Sink

The phonetically fun ISH trade show, now underway in Frankfurt, is the biggest stage for international plumbing products. Making its debut this week is this minimalist beauty. Fabricated from a single sheet of stainless steel, the Lavandino sink hangs from a frame concealed in the wall—an installation that facilitates its floating appearance and thin profile. The fixture was designed by Francesca Braga Rosa and Ivano Vianello. antoniolupi.it

13 March 2017

A Blue Clue

On Mondays, I usually post a kitchen design. My apologies for the detail photograph [rather than an view of an entire room], but I do find this island, colors, and materials a compelling nucleus for a very nice space. The angular, ebonized trestle 'table' connects with the soothing blue cabinet in a way that lets each component retain its own identity, while establishing the overall tone of the kitchen. rs-schreinerei.ch

10 March 2017

Fowl Playful

I'm sure this ad was designed to [figuratively] stick in one's craw. The suggestion that the cook, and not just the unventilated kitchen, would reek of food odors is memorably made through a rather surreal image.

Strange dreams tonight....

09 March 2017

Left of Center Design

And here we have a case of life, lemons, and lemonade. Or maybe it's existing conditions, budget, and creativity. I give this willfully off-kilter ventilation design points not only for impressive metal fabrication, but also for its straightforward approach to solving a problem. tamaratoday.com

08 March 2017

But You Still Need an Allen Wrench

This standard-issue Ikea cabinet has been jazzed up with a snappy, laser-engraved front and midcentury-modish legs. They are part of a large menu of customizing elements that can transform the Faktum and Metod collections from bland to bodacious. superfront.com

07 March 2017

Swept Away

There are some delightful material-based paradoxes in this bath: the animated pattern and vivid color of the walls recall the sky or the surf, yet they are cold, immobile stone. The blue granite slabs that clad the powder room are wholly natural, yet I see painterly compositions in them; think Hokusai. sandstudios.com

06 March 2017

What's in Store

As acceptance of the integrated kitchen continues to creep forward [although an interesting wrinkle is being posed by micro-apartments], designers continue to refine storage strategies. Traditional boxy wall cabinets are too overt, floating shelves are too idiosyncratic. The open frame offered by this new collection by Diesel/Scavolini may be the answer. scavolini.us

03 March 2017

Going Forward

The whiteness is overwhelming, isn't it? Apparently that—as opposed to finessed mass and line—was the tell-tale sign of modernity at the dawn of the 70s. If I were surrounded by an encroaching mob of appliances, I'd get the heck outta Dodge—but our homeowner couple has only eyes for each other. Another disconnect: the use of the Jazz Age font. The 1930s type is bizarrely neo-retro when cast in the context of 'modern' 1970.

02 March 2017

Naked Kitchen Appliance!

Now that I've got your attention...it's always been fascinating to me to see the guts of an appliance. Stripped of its stainless steel skirting and brass base-wrap, it's possible to appreciate not only the working elements of the t1 model, but also its structural engineering—which is rather impressive. Almost ten feet long, the piece tips the scales at slightly more than 1,200 pounds. The bronze-topped mega-island made its debut at this year's LivingKitchen show. lohberger-t1.com

01 March 2017

Fixture Fixation

I need more art.

'Lake Michigan Bathroom' is an exuberantly detailed ceramic work created by Ann Agee. The artwork, with its elaborate pictorial treatment, gives a nod to chinoiserie—but a scrutinizing look reveals very contemporary subject matter, as this close-up of the sink illustrates. [The full installation features a toilet, bidet, urinal, and basin.] Interestingly, Agee was an artist-in-residence at Kohler for two years. annageestudio.com

28 February 2017

Go With the Flow

While the kitchen and bath fields are brimming with creativity of all types, sometimes a shot of fine art is in order. Providing a bit of intellectual escapism—for me—is this powerful installation by Kate MccGwire. In 'Evacuate,' a mass of feathers spews from the cookstove out into the scullery, resisting reality and raising questions about life itself. katemccgwire.com

27 February 2017

Design for Grey Days

A compelling yet unhelpful light source, somber colors, and a general sense of foreboding mark this kitchen. Over the weekend, I saw Evening at the Talk House, a dark, dystopian play by Wally Shawn that has me brooding. Hence this design. dimorestudio.eu

24 February 2017

Does This Come in Harvest Orange?

'For you, for life': Not my idea of a good thing these days, insofar as a certain president is concerned.

23 February 2017

Surface Effective

How different this bath would be if a smooth-faced tile had been used instead of the bubbly, bumpy Frame! The texture puts the wall on an equal design footing with the swoopy faucet, and the metal accent strips help balance the materials palette. [From the Who Knew? department: Today is #NationalTileDay. Let's raise a mortar-filled trowel and toast our trusted installers.] fapceramiche.com

22 February 2017

A Higher Plane

The dishwasher is a popular target for reinvention. Over the years, it's appeared as a drawer, integrated into the sink, and as an object of pity: a portable, roll-away appliance deemed unfit for discerning eyes. This incarnation—strictly a concept at this point—is designed by students Mohsen Jafari Malek and Behzad Taheri. Meant to ease the ergonomic difficulty of bending down to load the machine, its racks rise up, allowing above-counter access.

21 February 2017

Deep Thoughts—or Not

Arik Levy's design for the Bowl sink has got me thinking. With its shallow, flat basin, it looks more like it should be floating on water than containing it. It's always good when design shakes up one's perspective on form and function. inbani.com

20 February 2017

Design Without Borders

So: Many, many people are saying that something very terrible, really disgraceful—and sad!—happened #lastnightinSweden. Happily, this extemporaneous kitchen design was not the alleged transgression, as Ikea fully and extremely vetted the hacking project. At the heart of the system is a versatile metal bracket that enables a flexible framing system to accommodate an ad hoc mix of storage units and appliances. ikea-hacka.com

17 February 2017

Heartfelt Design, The End

Today, we might not give a thought to giving flowers to our appliances [even for Valentine's Day], but obviously a more genteel spirit was at work in 1957. The humble, hardworking refrigerator—which the manufacturer boasted featured a 'lavish' use of aluminum—was deemed worthy of a long-stemmed rose.

16 February 2017

Heartfelt Design, Day 4

This handcrafted tile goes straight to the heart of the matter. Part of the 'Much Love Me' collection by Ruan Hoffman, it has a charming, quasi-historical appearance—but its message is timeless. cletile.com

15 February 2017

Heartfelt Design, Day 3

'A faucet for Valentine's Day?' Dear reader, if this is the disbelieving thought that's running through your mind, I understand your scorn. But allow me to point out that the Ibiza tap can quite literally slip into something more suited to the mood [or your kitchen decor]. It comes with a 'wardrobe' of three silicone sleeves that can be changed whenever you want a different color at the sink. ruvati.com

14 February 2017

Heartfelt Design, Day 2

Twining, sensual lines and a torrid red make the Form stool quite the hot seat, indeed. Should your kitchen call for something a little cooler, it's offered in other colors, too. compar-srl.it