KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for February, 2012

Feb 21 2012

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Streamlined and funky: two more Milano previews

Here are two more products set to show at the Milan Furniture Fair.

The first comes from Graff and was created by Italian design team Angeletti Ruzza, which, according to its website, has done quite a bit of work in the bath sphere. For Graff, Daniele Ruzza and Silvana Angeletti have come up with Sento, a extremely streamlined, über-contemporary collection of 15 faucet designs and a variety of accessories. All are offered in plated chrome, as well as textured black or white.

Graff_sento_tre fori laterale


For Eurocucina, Alpes will be introducing new storage solutions as part of its Liberi in Cucina freestanding kitchen collection. In addition to steel, which has traditionally been the company’s material of choice, new finishes will also be on display, including natural oak (below) and plastic laminates with colorful designs by—who else?—Karim Rashid (bottom).

In case you’re wondering, the cupboard measures 128 cm x 165 cm and the storage column measures 68 cm x 165 cm. For more information, check out Liberi in Cucina’s dedicated website.



—Alice Liao

Feb 16 2012

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The big squeeze

A colleague of mine recently sent me this picture he snapped on a neighborhood street in suburban Chicago. It speaks volumes about the building practices of the past few decades, and I for one am hoping that this particular scenario is becoming a thing of the past.


It’s been more than 10 years since we all “got religion” reading Sarah Susanka’s book The Not So Big House and started seriously addressing the consequences of large, excessive building practices. With that, the over-extension of mortgage money created a virtual house of cards for not only the building industry but the nation’s economy as a whole. We are now at a crossroads in this country and hopefully seeing not only the “light of day” financially, but a virtual “light of day” that has taught us conservation and thoughtful sustainable building practices may actually get our economy back on its feet.

I think this picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m sparing you my usual diatribe about sustainability, and let you just view this sad little house that was once (and still is) a well designed family home. It’s my wish that homes like this will continue to be a symbol of the American dream.

Patricia Gaylor

Feb 15 2012

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From Italy: Previews of Salone & Eurocucina

You start by reading a press release about a new bath collection Antonio Lupi will be showing at this year’s Milan Furniture Fair and the next thing you know, you’re watching a video on the manufacture of a beautiful Officine Gullo pro-style range from Florence, Italy. Go figure.

First up, Exelen is a new bath line designed by Gabriele and Oscar Buratti for Antonio Lupi that encompasses sinks, tubs, shower, storage solutions and accessories. The press release, which veered a little into the conceptual, provided little additional information, except that the pieces are designed to be modular for easy adaptability to a variety of bath setting. I guess you’ll just have to visit the collection in the flesh in Milan.

antoniolupi - EXELEN - anteprima Salone 2012_immagine_20120214161111
So what else will be showing at the Milan Furniture Fair, or more specifically, Eurocucina? Italian furniture maker Lando will be featuring Ethos, a kitchen system designed by Enzo Berti that makes it that much easier to keep kitchens open (after all, that is where we’re headed). The collection comprises freestanding cabinets and a multifunctional island, available in walnut or larch wood, that can be outfitted with a cooktop and a sink. Unfortunately, the image looks like a rendering, so again, you’ll just have to see the actual product in Milan…

LANDO ad EUROCUCINA con il nuovo sistema ETHOS e il tavolo CARTESIO_immagine_20120207150015
For those who prefer a more classic look to their kitchens, Florence, Italy-based Restart will also be on site with its kitchen offerings, which include “cooking blocks” that can be equipped with a variety of cooking options to allow at-home chefs to sauté, steam, fry, barbecue and bake. Ovens come with electronic programming and rotisserie.

Restart Cucine, Anteprima Eurocucina, Salone del Mobile 2012_immagine_20120210115414
Restart Cucine, Anteprima Eurocucina, Salone del Mobile 2012_immagine_20120210115058

Also from the Restart group is Officine Gullo, whose P70 is a serious cooking “machine” for, well, serious cooks. Made of heavy-gauge steel, it features a cooktop equipped with 7.5 kW burners (a little more than 25,000 Btu) that can be customized with a wide array of cooking options, as with Restart’s cooking blocks. It also includes scratch-resistant brushed stainless-steel surfaces and trays, slow-close drawers with a locking mechanism and a choice of oven options: a Maxi-oven that accommodates eight trays, as well as a convection oven and a natural gas oven. Sinks are also available.

Officine Gullo, Anteprima Eurocucina, Salone del Mobile 2012_immagine_20120210120452
As to the video, I actually watched the entire thing as I was eating breakfast. The company did a pretty effective job of creating drama around the making of an Officine Gullo range and hood (or it could just be the nerd in me). You can see the video here.

As a side note, the Restart products reminded me of La Cornue, which is expanding into kitchen cabinetry (look for a mention in our March issue).

Feb 13 2012

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Nature’s (and man’s) bounty

Last Wednesday was a busy day, finding me first just outside the nation’s capitol in Georgetown, where I attended a press event for a new Charles Luck Stone showroom, and then—a missed return train later—in the basement of the Desiron Gallery in SoHo watching celebrity pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini preparing Valentine’s Day desserts on an Electrolux induction cooktop. It was a whirlwind of a day, but immensely rewarding.

The visit to Charles Luck Stone yielded a mix of interesting historic factoids, an eyeful of gorgeous exotic stone and talk about trends—think “cautious optimism” and all the ambivalence that the phrase entails. Modestly sized but well situated and designed to draw in passersby in Cady’s Alley (Georgetown’s design district), the showroom is the first of several planned metro design studios, which will include Baltimore, MD; Charlotte, NC; and eventually, New York City. Interestingly, it is housed in a historic building dating back to the 1800s that at one point served as a brewery. In fact, during its renovation, workers uncovered two beer bottles, which now sit on a shelf in the showroom.

Because of the historic nature of the building, little could be done to its exterior, which explains why its facade is adorned with two horse heads. (That’s company president Anderson McNeill in the photo.)

Horse head

Outside the building, an obelisk references a similar piece—albeit larger—at the company’s flagship center in Richmond, VA. At night, it lights up, which must be a sight to behold.


Inside, a far wall showcases a selection of the company’s stones, which are pretty spectacular when seen next to each other. There’s so much variation, so many colors and patterns, one can feel a little breathless when thinking about the originator of it all—Mother Nature. Trying to absorb all the little details and imagine what natural event caused them (and when), I was reminded of my family road trips to national parks out west, where this country’s history is so dramatically written in the landscape.


georgetown interior

The tables are topped with Virginia Mist granite. It was chosen for its resemblance to soapstone, the stone of preference for labs, which partly inspired the design of the studio.

Back in New York, I finished the day at the Electrolux and Frigidaire “I (Heart) Induction” event, which featured not only Iuzzini (below), but also chef Anne Burrell, host of Food Network’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and other shows. As attendees dined on their delectable dishes, both explained and demonstrated the benefits of induction technology: fast boiling, energy efficiency, safety.

Johnny Iuzzini
Electrolux’ induction offerings are not new, nor is Frigidaire’s Professional 30-in. freestanding induction range (shown). However, that the latter is affordably priced—$2,099; cooktops begin at $1,449—makes the advantages of the technology more accessible to more consumers. All that’s left is education, which the event and a giveaway are designed to do. Check out the latter here.

Need a refresher on induction? Check out this article on its ups and downs and this piece on cookware.