K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Kitchen Design

Apr 21 2017

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Delta Faucet Event Unveils New Products

KBB was recently invited to attend a press event at Delta Faucet Co.’s new Manoogian Center, a $15,000-million addition to the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis that celebrates its founder, Alex Manoogian.

We were given a look behind the scenes to see where the inspiration for the company’s designs originates, how they test packaging to ensure the products are getting to their customers safe and sound, how they incorporate new technology into their collections and how they test products for various certifications.

“We think faucets are of the utmost importance,” said Brian Noble, senior director, Brizo and marketing services. “After all, people interact with them multiple times a day.”

The Model Shop in the Innovation/Research Lab on the lower level

In terms of inspiration, Judd Lord, senior director of industrial design, and his team do a lot of traveling to national and international events to study various trends, including furniture and even automotive.

“We want to get out there and activate our senses,” he explained, adding that the creation of entire collections from start to finish takes anywhere from 18 months to two years.

My personal favorite was the RSVP Collection – a very literal, elegant take on the female figure.

Regarding new technology, it is helpful to keep looking forward to determine future needs.

“I started working on our H2O Kinetic technology in 2001 because I knew water regulations and the green movement were coming,” said Paul Patton, senior R&D/regulatory manager. “It’s important to pay attention to regulations coming down the road.”

What’s New for Delta and Brizo

Whereas research points to aesthetics being first on consumers’ lists of requirements, function/performance is following along closely. Brizo takes both seriously with its fashion-forward approach, as well as tech elements that include an electronic proportioning valve offered in some of its collections.

The Litze Bathroom Collection was introduced at KBIS 2016, and now the brand offers the Litze Kitchen Collection (above), which will be available later this year. It is available with three different spout options, two choices of handles and five finishes. When asked during KBIS 2017, attendees were most enamored with the black and gold split-finish option.

Brizo is also introducing the Vettis Bath Collection (above), which was inspired by the Vettisfossen waterfall in Norway, and both brands have created new display systems to elevate their products in the showroom setting (Delta below left, Brizo below right).

Apr 17 2017

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A Family Legacy

It is rare to find a family-run business that has survived more than a century of change – including two World Wars, the introduction of gas fuel and the rate of innovation seen today. One range-maker has done just that, and I was honored to explore the culture, land and the people who created and sustained the company.

We were first immersed in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Midwestern Italy. The region is known for its Parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham – the making of which can be considered an art form. I first saw the making of Parmesan cheese from beginning to end. I stole up into a centuries-old attic to see barrels of balsamic vinegar, which are aged for more than 20 years. The craftsmanship and care the people put into their products is obvious, and the history is perhaps what makes these companies so genuine.

One of the most prominent manufacturers in the region is Bertazzoni, which started in the late 19th century in a small Italian town called Guastalla, outside of Parma. Francesco Bertazzoni, who made precision-weighing machines for the cheese industry, wondered if the wood-burning stoves being used for heating railcars could be used for an indoor range. By 1907, he and his son Antonio had begun making their own stoves by hand and sending them all over Italy.

19th Century: These precision-measuring instruments were made by Francesco Bertazzoni for local trades, from Parmesan cheesemakers to pharmacists.

Their story progressed over the last century to gas fueling and modern looks, including a collection specifically for the American market. Today Bertazzoni is known as a luxury brand that combines different technologies together – gas, electricity, induction, microwave and steam – with the heart of Italian cooking in mind.
1930s: Stove performance improved with hot gases from the fire forced around the sides of the stove to maximize heating efficiency.

We were invited to experience this first hand by cooking with a local chef in the Bertazzoni kitchen. I love to cook, but Italians cook much differently – and often much better – than we do. I saw how a convection oven could caramelize brown sugar just right on sliced Roma tomatoes and how a proofing option could help a focaccia bread rise perfectly. I really don’t think there is anything better than focaccia bread straight from the oven, drizzled with local olive oil.

 Inside the Bertazzoni kitchen, we learned to make dishes like these lasagna rolls.

After several hours of cooking and chatting, everyone – including the fifth and sixth generations of the Bertazzoni family – sat down together and shared wine, fresh mozzarella cheese and a cake celebrating 135 years of business. We stayed long past sunset, when the chef finally declared that he needed to go home to feed his dog. It’s very Italian to arrive as strangers and leave as family, and that’s what good food, a great kitchen and a lovely place can cook up.

Exploring Parma was magical – it’s like a storybook of quiet streets and charming cafes.

Mar 26 2017

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Designing a Future Kitchen

The future of the smart home might start with the kitchen. With elements like Wi-Fi-connected appliances, intelligent food devices and new cooking methods, the kitchen has a lot of potential in the tech world. But even with all of the technology, a new kitchen still has to take into account finishes and materials that will stay on trend for years to come.

One design firm in San Francisco took these ideas into account in a recent kitchen project. KBB magazine spoke with the designer, I-Ching Ueng, senior designer and studio manager of Poggenpohl San Francisco, to find out more.

KBB: What were the client’s requirements?
Ueng: The client was interested in materials that could stand up to daily use, were warm and inviting and also timeless. Some finishes can be too trendy; in five years you can get tired of certain finishes. We tried to select finishes that would not become an issue in five years.

KBB: What were you challenged by and what were your solutions?
Ueng: For me, it was challenging to come up with a design for a kitchen that was large and in the center of house. It was hard to fill that volume and also not take away from the fine architectural details of the site. We want to step out but not distract from the detail.

KBB: Describe your design for the island.
Ueng: The waterfall counter ties in with the minimalism and modern look of the home – while the easy-to-maintain wood finish underneath grounds it and adds storage and functionality.

KBB: Are there any high-tech features in this kitchen?
Ueng: Beyond the handle-less cabinets that are touch to open, a series of Gaggenau appliances is featured throughout – from a wine storage unit to a coffee center. These high-end appliances offer cutting-edge technology. It’s a true chef’s kitchen.

KBB: What was your favorite part of this project?
Ueng: This was a dream kitchen that was done for future owners unknown. It was fun to work with the client to design a kitchen of the future where potential owners could come back to us and customize further for their personal needs.

Mar 10 2017

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Times Are Changing in the Kitchen and Bath Industry

It’s striking to me how much has changed in the kitchen and bath industry over the past 10 years.

There have been many changes in communication, product sourcing, smart technology and consumer awareness, and they can all be traced back to the release of the first iPhone in 2007. Smartphones have changed the ways we communicate, shop and learn, and they have changed the way we live in our kitchens. Mal Corboy, a well-known Auckland, New Zealand, kitchen designer says all of this evolution has changed the design process. (http://i.stuff.co.nz/lifestyle/home-property/83715964/howmuch-has-the-modern-kitchen-changedin-the-past-10-years)

Most residential design/build project communications used to be done in person, by phone and by email. Dream Kitchen Builders still uses those tools, but now we also use messaging and social media apps, and we use these business tools to communicate via mobile devices.

The amount of kitchen and bath information that’s available to consumers is enormous and growing larger every day. This has made us all educated buyers and given consumers more control of each aspect of a design/build project.

We’re now experimenting with smart appliances and wireless devices in the kitchen and bathroom that use artificial intelligence to help us get things done. I cook, so I give voice commands to Siri to set a timer to adjust my music and more while I’m cooking. I’m hands free, so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing. Smart technology hasn’t gone mainstream yet, but appliance and device makers are designing and producing amazing new kitchen and bath products, and early adopters are trying them out and talking about them to their friends.

Last but not least, every kitchen and bath product seems to have almost limitless options and price points and many include free shipping. Clients are now buying kitchen and bath products online and sourcing them internationally. Kitchens and bathrooms have always evolved, but the changes we are now seeing are so revolutionary that they are disrupting the way kitchen and bath business is done – changing the relationship between professionals and consumers and changing the way we live.

 Scott Koehler is the owner of Dream Kitchen Builders, a design-build firm in North Carolina.