When it comes to kitchen design, Europe is the hub. And the biggest event in the European kitchen design calender is EuroCucina FTK: Technology for the Kitchen, a trade show where the brightest minds in the industry show their latest innovations.
Simone Stephens, senior industrial designer at Fisher & Paykel, attended this year for the first time in a decade. "Rather than trends there was an evolution or continuation of ideas as EuroCucina this year," she says. "There was a focus on precision and craftsmanship and a refinement of proportions and materiality."
Here's what's coming our way:
QUALITY COMPACT KITCHENS
Stephens was impressed by the quality of the compact kitchens on display. "There were stunning examples of high quality small kitchens," she says. "When you think about it there are multi-million dollar apartments in New York where there's no shortage of money but there's a shortage of space.
She cites Japanese kitchen manufacturer Sanwa as a good example, who showed a collection of modular units titled 'The Impact of Compact.'
Produced in collaboration with top European kitchen designers, the innovative designs included a full kitchen tucked into a cupboard no bigger than a wardrobe and another that folded out from underneath a desk.
Stephens noticed that kitchens are being designed to flow with the rest of the house, or to look "as if they are part of the furniture."
"There's a continuity of materials in cabinetry, it's discreet and integrated," she says. "It's a space built for entertaining. Some people do still want the standout showcase kitchen, but others want it to flow harmoniously with the rest of the house."
And it works in reverse too, with Stephens saying there's a move toward taking traditional kitchen elements like cool drawers or wine fridges into living areas and outdoor spaces. "People are making decisions on how they want to live rather than living by a prescribed formula."
Stark white kitchens are well and truly over, replaced with those in dark and grainy timber, copper, brass, marble and stone. Poliform showed their new solid bog oak finish, obtained from sub-fossilised trunks submerged for thousands of years in riverbeds and marshes for thousands of years.
Chris Arnold, sales manager at Kitchen Mania, noted that texture was everywhere. "From cabinet fronts, bench tops to wall panelling the Europeans love their texture."
The concept of integration is not new, but at EuroCucina it was everywhere. Handless cabinetry or that with negative detail handles blend seamlessly with appliances and shelving units, creating a fully integrated look and feel.
"We're at the point now that even screens are integrated," says Stephens. "They're installed into cabinetry rather than sitting on something."
Samsung's "flat design" approach saw its appliances shown with clean lines, hidden displays and surfaces that sit flush to the cabinetry.
Arnold says one of his personal favourite trends from the show was the black metal framed open shelving. "It was everywhere and is easy to manufacture," he says. "It's versatile and is a great way to display herbs, cook books and other personal items that soften the kitchen."
Stephens says much of it was like living room shelving, incorporating display cases that were luxurious in an understated way.
Suspended shelving was also popular, utilising space above kitchen islands and work areas and giving an industrialvibe.
TECHNOLOGY WITH PURPOSE
The appliance range that Fisher & Paykel showed is all designed to support customer benefit. "It's really purposeful," says Stephens. "The technology is clever, but it's subtle." It included an integrated column refrigerator with four different climates, adjustable depending on the produce inside.
Samsung also showed it's Dual Cook Flex double oven with a flexible door that allows access to the upper compartment without losing heat in the lower. Two different temperatures and cooking times can be set, meaning two different dishes to be cooked at the same time with no odour crossover.
Source: Stuff By: KATIE NEWTON