Berlin-based architect / designer Werner Aisslinger says: ‘Housing is becoming more hybrid. Private residences are moving more or less towards a studio loft design. Having separate spaces with very distinct functions is no longer viable. Functions overlap. We combine work and personal life. Everything is merging, and it’s affecting both the residential and hospitality scenes. It’s a collage world.’

It follows that one of the most significant questions to confront architects and interior designers today is how to facilitate more compact living environments without compromising luxury and style. The unprecedented increase in urbanisation globally – South Africa’s major centres being a case in point – and the resultant demand for housing, impose key questions. But there are intriguing creative possibilities; kitchen design is one such. Habitat’s focus being at the high end.

Erica Inch of Inside Living says: ‘The kitchen is still setting the design identity of the entire home, consolidating materials and finishes from other spaces. With the continuing trend of open-plan living, the kitchen may reflect a balance between the bold and the timeless, which can make design choices something of a quandary. There is an even mix of contrast and simplicity. In some cases, for example, a contrasting oak finish against matt black doors, and yet another of clean, flat neutrals with colour matched textural worktops. Both making use of the elementals trend seen in 2018.

Dane Maharaj of The Kitchen Studio | Poggenpohl has some corresponding opinions: ‘A number of trends that dominated 2017 / ‘18 will continue in 2019. They include matt finishes, natural wood and veneers, and clean, uncluttered designs making use of clever, concealed storage solutions. And we should start seeing a movement toward calmer, neutral tones, which follows international design and seems to have spread from the fashion world’s chalky tones seen on runways. We’ll also note increased focus on sustainability and biophilia: the affinity that humans have towards the natural world. Glass fronted doors will see a resurgence in a flawless, durable, high-quality gloss or matt finish. And we will also see the industrial design signature continue to grow in popularity in 2019.’

‘The design of kitchens for 2019 is oriented towards a return to those forms that draw on the past revisited in a modern way; it’s an original fusion between retro taste and contemporary spirit. The goal is to create a warm, highly efficient and functional area of timeless style. Our kitchens were born in the wake of this tradition to promote the kitchen as a living interior to display with pride,’ adds Paolo Valente of Officine Gullo.

‘Materials are a key component of a dynamic kitchen space that anchors the interior,’ says Philip Richards of local designer / manufacturer blu_line. The technology, functionality and overall layout are vital, but the materials are essential in bringing through that ever changing experience clients demand. We have focused on touch materials and our new collection features exclusive examples that offer a tactile experience, as well as a visual one. We’re pushing the boundaries and using materials that can be repurposed, such as three-dimensional granites combined with concrete textured marbles. Plus, metals finished with special applications and timbers that offer not only a touch experience but a visual dimension. Certain materials then are being used for cladding, while others are for doors, such as a new solid marble door range.’

Says a spokesperson for Poliform: ‘As kitchens evolve to maximise functionality, aesthetics should not be overlooked. Synthesis of design, functionality and technology is vital.’

‘Our collection offers a wide range of finishes from coloured lacquer to wood, stone and marble. One of the latest introduced is the solid bog oak derived from an oak tree having half-deciduous leaves, belonging to the Fagaceae family. Selected by Poliform in collaboration with Haute Material, the European bog oak is a wood obtained from sub-fossil trunks submerged for thousands of years on the bottom of rivers and marshes; dated from 2000 to 8000 years. The slow fossilization process confers unique and matchless colours’.

Additional trends that Mathilda Venter, Managing Director of Valcucine Cape Town has noted include the ‘return to raw’. Here we see the materiality of objects being emphasised in kitchen design as people are spending less time in nature and want to bring those tactile experiences, as well as materials of natural or organic origins, into their homes. ‘The reintroduction of organic materials and finishes, such as glass, metal, wood and stone – and the very bold use of these materials – will continue,’ says Venter.

The Palette

Most of us appreciate that the colour palette sets the tone for any overall design aesthetic. Even the simplest solutions are enlivened to become vibrant and memorable, when the palette is sympathetically coordinated. It’s a case of eye appeal throughout the spectrum. This becomes especially valid in the kitchen, likely the most used interior in the modern home by all family members.

For the 2019 season, our research indicates that certain trends from 2018 will continue: neutrals for texture and tone, natural timbers and – colour-wise – renderings of petrol-green and sage, charcoal; and upcoming exotic shades with oranges and yellows becoming key selections. Plus, other moodier choices: deep blue, navy and aubergine.

Megan Schumann of International Slab / Caesarstone says: ‘With free time in short supply, being able to live more relaxingly is a luxury. Having a kitchen that can cater for more than just cooking is an extra luxury, i.e. as a social hub that can welcome friends and family and provide special moments. Kitchen surfaces are the most hardworking items in the home – being touched, cleaned and chopped on every day. The two most important factors are durability and longevity, and opting for a non-porous surface such as Caesarstone is vital.

‘Tones and textures are individual solutions. There is something quite flawless in bold décor decisions that have been executed well, however, on the whole, it’s imperative to design thoughtfully. Whether it’s a grand statement or one specific detail, it needs to be well considered, or not at all. Overall, choose a minimalist direction, elevated by careful details and high-quality finishes wherever possible.’

‘In 2019 we’ll see a continuation of sleek innovation and technological advancement in kitchen design. They’re visible in features such as appliance integration with push-to-open mechanisms; and nanotech finishes for cabinetry and countertops that can be regenerated from minor scratches with a warm cloth, are heat and water resistant and fingerprint-proof. And multifunctional design elements that can detach from kitchen cabinetry for use elsewhere – like a mobile serving station – will serve the ever-growing demand for the kitchen to facilitate most activities in the home,’ so says Erin Braithwaite of Portuguese import Fabri.

According to Dorothee Bonse of Eurocasa, there is a return to the use of organic materials and finishes, such as brushed nickel, steel, metal, wood, stone and marble; and very bold use of these materials will also translate to work and countertops. ‘We are currently drawing inspiration from master crafted timbers and frenetic veined marble stone tops, with darker and metallic hues, rather than the lighter, Scandinavian-inspired colours of previous years.’

Stow It

According to Marita Boyers, head interior architect of Valcucine / Casarredo in Sandton: ‘We have refined the way users interact with their kitchens and as a result, storage is designed to fit into the otherwise ‘dead spaces’ – i.e. cleverly behind splash-backs, and within the worktop, built in as secret drawers (like those of Genius Loci). This frees up space for taller units with pantry inserts and hidden pastry cupboards, or coffee stations with receding doors that stow away to free up movement around the kitchen.’

‘Storage in a 2019 kitchen should be functional yet aesthetic. The small appliances ‘garage’ unit can be appealing when open; but when closed, tuck away toaster, kettle, mini blenders and others, allowing a clean, sleek exterior overall. Drawers must allow for the maximisation of space and should incorporate internal sections for cutlery or utensils. And storage accessories like tandem and carousel units can utilise corners cleverly – while the use of cabinetry is more about creating clever spaces and less about filling every wall,’ so says Selma Zaifoglu of Linear Concepts.

Daniel Slavin of local designer / manufacturer Slavin agrees as to bold colour choices, industrial-chic, black as the new white, but sees stainless steel not much in evidence. He summarises: ‘Hygge’, the Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality, with feelings of wellness and contentment, is very much here. He adds: ‘As Hygge takes the design world by storm, we’re seeing a notable injection of personality into kitchen spaces. With so many more suppliers and manufacturers having caught onto this trend there are a variety of appliances, sinks, handles and splash-backs that allow consumers to make bolder decisions. Vibrant coloured fridges and cookers pave the way for neutral shades and tones yet don’t have to be grey to be current.

Tech Factor

Liam Gawne, from appliance manufacturer Miele, feels that colour, customisation and convenience will define the kitchen for 2019: ‘Appliances are first and foremost a practical element, but with the introduction of technology and high design, they are also becoming key features in the contemporary kitchen of note.

‘With 2019’s merging of kitchen and living space, all family life revolves around this most social area of the home, an integral part of the living space that allows the cook to socialise with others while preparing meals. Here, kitchen, dining area and lounge should form a single carefully designed, open-plan space that maximises multipurpose functionality. The appliances must add to the aesthetics of the area, as well as being functional.’

On Tap

As food prep areas, and therefore centres of necessary hygiene like bathrooms, kitchens require reliable water sources. The brass taps of yesteryear have been superseded by pieces of pure design that include the collections of renowned architect / industrial designers globally – such as Philippe Starck.

Ronelle Badenhorst of Kohler reflects on the notable trends for 2019: ‘The contemporary kitchen demands taps that are both hardworking and good-looking. This is especially relevant today with kitchens being fully integrated into the living / dining space and therefore highly visible. And, with water a continued rare resource in SA, having it available exactly where needed with minimal wastage is an increasing responsibility.

‘Cutting-edge materials and several innovative fabrications are involved in annual R&D. One such is Safeseal, which seals waterways to eliminate metal contamination of water and scalding from hot water; and is used for both bathroom and kitchen taps. And Detent technology is an intermediate stop built into tap levers for an up to 50 percent water saving for taps in both intermediate and full-flow modes.’

GROHE’s kitchen range Minta takes another step with the latest innovation. It has EasyTouch technology and instantly reacts to the slightest touch, enabling it to be turned on and off without leaving a mark, merely tap with wrist or forearm for perfect control. This practical, hygienic technology is seamlessly integrated, and

Minta is available as a curved C-shaped swivel-spout with spray or a striking L-shaped swivel-spout, both with pull-out mousseur.

Ideally, taps should look as beautiful decades on as they did on the day they were installed. Long-lasting surface quality is key here and state-of-the-art technology can deliver exceptional quality finishes. The physical vapour deposition (PVD) process ensures that the surface composition is three times harder, delivering a glistening finish. As well as being harder, the surface is also ten times more scratch resistant.

Rakhee Hurdial of Franke SA posts her kitchen wish list for 2019: Add colour and convenience to the kitchens with indoor herb gardens and artful hanging pendant lights. Choose a palette of dark, bold tones with mixed metals and matt black appliances rather than traditional chrome, plus matt quartz solid surface countertops in natural colours. And use appliance garages – a space to store bulky appliances that you would prefer to have hidden away – so that you clear valuable work areas’.

For the full article see Habitat #270 March / April 2019


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