This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a typical Cape Dutch style house with a traditional thatch roof in the village of Franschhoek with a quirky, residential design. The vast white walls in this sunny Cape Town home takes full advantage of the abundance of sunlight to create and accentuate the feeling of space, letting the light flood throughout the property. With the bright, white freshness of this stunning holiday home, ACID+ integrated the client’s love of street art to inject the property with personality. Using authentic South African artworks and hand painted murals by South African artists to punctuate this white-washed home with vibrant splashes of colour.
Sector: Residential Design
Project: Franschhoek Cape Winelands
Project Location: Cape Town, Africa
What was the client’s brief?
To create a comfortable, creative interior and make good use of the fabulous outside space and views. The house was purchased on a whim by the clients when they visited Cape Town and the Western Cape for the first time and saw it advertised on their way to the airport to fly home. They fell in love with the area.
The house is a typical Dutch Cape style house with a thatch roof in the village of Franschhoek – beside the fabulous DeLaire Graff wine estate and extraordinary Babylonstoren wine farm in the Cape Winelands. The house also comprises of a separate guest suite with its own entrance, garden, terrace and even its own kitchen for guests to use, so they are able to enjoy privacy and meet up with other friends for sundowners [South Africans are avid Sundowners. Meeting up to drink the fabulous local wines and craft gins in the evenings while the sun sets]. The house is named ‘Rehoboth’, meaning a place to flourish. It was therefore important to balance social spaces whilst also offering privacy throughout the interior design scheme.
What inspired the interior design of the project?
It’s really all about the views and the garden. The garden was designed by the previous owner and the renowned, late landscape architect Anne Sutton when the house was built 12 years ago. Fragrant Lemon blossom, lavender, Iceberg roses, Murraya exotica, rosemary and snowdrift Thyme make for a perfumed Mediterranean garden.
The weather lends itself to almost year-round alfresco living, and that’s exactly what appealed to the clients; a Mediterranean climate in beautiful surroundings with excellent food and wine. The garden wraps around all sides of the house with various sitting, lounging, sunbathing and dining options to be used at different times of the day. The owners inherited the full-time gardener whom has cared for the garden since its creation. The house and gardens get sun all day from early morning to sunset and the separate entrances to the bedrooms means there is no post pool dripping through the house.
The client is a lover of street art, so we wanted to integrate this into the design of the home – bringing this concept throughout the interior, as well as on the exterior. The mural in the front garden was executed by a local street artist Wayne Becks. The mural in a guest bedroom is by Ana Kuni, a Ukranian model and artist living in Cape Town. Both artists works captured the owners eye instantly.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
The time of year the interior fit out was being done was over the Christmas holidays which was – unknowing to us – the only time of the year when everything closes down. It’s like Europe in summer when factory orders close. Everything closes down in October to February. It was their summer holiday! The time when everyone goes home to visit their families. This meant we had to ship furniture into Cape Town from Hong Kong which was fraught with difficulties and not something we would wish to repeat. This caused an ongoing saga for about 5 months!
What was your team’s highlight of the project?
When the furniture finally arrived it was in perfect order. Not a single scratch and everything fitted in perfectly. All the art used to punctuate the property with pops of colour was purchased in South Africa and is by South African artist, filling the home with unique and colourful art which they loved. Again – everything came together in the end and worked together perfectly!
Questions answered by Anji Connell, Design Director at ACID+ Anji Connell Interior Design
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a contemporary and environmentally-friendly design for a sustainable family home in Mexico City, click here to see more.
We hope you feel inspired by this week’s residential design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a contemporary and sustainable design for a family home in Mexico City. The project employed the concept of re-architecture; a concept that defines the re-use of buildings, through a contemporary and often environmentally-friendly design, to rescue architectural objects that otherwise would be obsolete. The ALD2 House project consisted of stripping an existing house, respecting a large part of the exterior due to rules of the complex where it is located, and from that skeleton rethinking the use of the materials and finishes in the design of the new version of this house.
The client, a lover of cars, art and literature, wanted a contemporary style but cosy, that would showcase his taste and those of his three children. A house where he and his children can enjoy themselves and grow. The project was planned with a variety of “monotone” materials and colours with a masculine emphasis in the use of colour and exploiting the use of iconic pieces of furniture like Barcelona chairs or Eames lounge chair.
Company: SpAce Arquitectura
Project: ALD2 House
Project Location: Mexico City, Mexico
It was important to the client that the house would strike a balance between modern architecture and a cosy home. With 3 small children, the owner wanted to achieve ‘transparency’ throughout the design so they would be able to see the kids all the times. The client also wanted a sustainable house, with emphasis on water and energy consumption. The design of the house therefore needed to be carbon neutral, with solar panels and work off the grid. It’s one of the first off the grid houses in the country that follow LEED standards. Part of the brief was also to factor in enough car garage space for the owner to store the classic cars they collect.
The inspiration came from the intersection of two volumes; one made of glass and the other one made of wood. Cuernavaca, the city where the house is located, benefits from amazing weather so we wanted to give the house the ability to be opened up, blending the interior and the exterior. As the owner has a love for cars and art, these two elements needed to be integrated into the interior design scheme. All design aspects, from the main elements to the smallest detail use the golden ratio as a guide, almost like there is an invisible grid connecting everything that is important in the house. In the same lines we decided to incorporate a mixture of finishes and materials. With all of this considered, the overarching concept of the house was to implement self-sufficient and sustainable initiatives. All architectural inspirations therefore had to merge with its concept of sustainability, from figuring out the correct angle to position the solar panels to designing a system to concentrate the rain water to be treated and used within the property.
The toughest hurdles we faced stemmed from the balancing of two differing ideals; designing very modern house without creating an environment which feels too cold as well as achieving transparency, whilst also maintaining a level privacy – all of which needed to be realised with a relatively tight budget. To design and build an off the grid house in a country where sustainability is not integrated as a standard on residential projects was also a real challenge. To combat this, a group of interdisciplinary experts were part of the team, to analyse the land, the sustainable solutions and the design. Fortunately, a positive aspect of this challenge became the client’s understanding in giving us enough time to the design which enabled us to spend time conceptualising and researching to ensure the right design and sustainable solutions could be achieved.
There are a few. One of them has to be achieving the successful integration of sustainable solutions which is a factor that much of the time, people don’t even see or notice. Another highlight to this, is that the house doesn’t necessarily scream that is ‘green’ meaning we were able to incorporate these solutions subtly and seamlessly.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
We think that the project has exceed the client’s expectations in creating a cosy environment with a clear contemporary feeling; the house could act as a good example of how design can accomplish aesthetics and sustainable design with a relatively tight budget and in a country with an emerging sustainable design culture. Hopefully this project will be a source of inspiration for other designers wanting to achieve a similar outcome.
Questions answered by Juan Carlos Baumgartner, Founder and CEO at SpAce Arquitectura
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring the BBQ-themed restaurant design for a new dining destination in Dubai, click here to see more.
SpAce Arquitectura | SBID International Design Awards
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a contemporary London kitchen design in sleek, bold tones to blend into the distinct style of the surrounding architecture within a recently extended building. Halcyon Interiors designed the kitchen with symmetry and clean lines as this was the client’s desire, yet the architecture of the finished building would be asymmetrical and on differing levels. Along with Architect, Jason Coleman at Robert Dye Architects, Halcyon developed a dramatic, monolithic design in a graphite hue, with wood elements to add warmth. Precision planning of the lines of the furniture and appliances create the desired symmetry of this space. A striking effect, fitting with the bold architectural style of this newly extended home.
Sector: KBB Design
Company: Halcyon Interiors
Project: Warwick Road
Project Location: Pinner, United Kingdom
Our London-based client briefed us to design a kitchen with symmetry and clean lines to work with the asymmetric architecture of the new building layout, and balance tonally with its surroundings.
The monolithic look of the kitchen was inspired by the striking architecture of the building, which was instrumental in deciding on the layout and design of the overall kitchen. Working closely with the Architect, Jason Coleman at Robert Dye Architects to develop the design, we achieved the dramatic look we were aiming for by choosing a dark graphite for the wall units and continuing the colour and lines of the design up and over the ceiling and into the skylight, which further emphasised the architectural elements. Over hanging the doors to completely hide the plinth and create a small shadow gap between the doors and the poured concrete floor added further to the striking effect.
The main hurdle was getting everything lined up. As any designer will know, working with materials such as plaster and brick means there is no such thing as a dead straight wall or perfect angle. It was key to have everything perfectly in line, without this the monolithic look would have been interrupted. We worked extremely closely with the builders and architects working on this project, and were able to ensure the entire project was supremely exact, maintaining the project’s perfectly aligned look.
Seeing the final result! As wonderful as CAD images are nowadays it never completely captures the end result in all its glory. Especially once the external details had been completed. It’s not just about seeing our work complete, it was seeing the hard work of the whole team bringing together the completed look. This was such a great project to work on.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
We truly believed this was a great project to show our skills as a team. It took a lot of organisational skills, design knowledge and a fantastic fitter to take it from an inspirational design on paper to an inspirational kitchen in real life.
Questions answered by Louise Reynolds, Lead Designer at Halcyon Interiors
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a luxurious residential refurbishment with an elegant design scheme imbued with character, click here to see more.
We hope you feel inspired by this week’s KBB kitchen design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire
Halcyon Interiors | SBID International Design Awards
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a luxurious residential extension and refurbishment in Sevenoaks for a young, growing family. SGS Design worked closely with the Client, Architect, Contractor, M&E designers and a Project Manager for approximately 18 months to turn an ugly duckling of a house into a swan with an elegant design scheme, focusing on clean-lines and touches of character; imbued with the client’s love of art. Raw and honest materials were utilised throughout to compliment the property’s beautiful surroundings.
Sector: Residential Design
Company: SGS Design
Project: Dell House
Project Location: Kent, United Kingdom
The Client had purchased a house which they really didn’t love. It was a bargain for the location and plot but the existing property was a bit of an ugly duckling, we were asked to work with the Architect (Open Architecture, Sevenoaks) to create curb appeal and find the inner-swan. The Client wanted a home which worked for their two children and newly purchased puppy but also a space which converted well for parties and their large extended families. The Client wanted to balance clean-lines with character and address some of the layout issues, so our starting point was to work on the interior layouts to benefit from the established garden and address the ‘two-wing’ structure.
One of the Client’s is an artist and takes much of her inspiration for her work from organic natural form. We worked to create a scheme to reflect her love of raw, honest materials whilst ensuring a level of polish and luxury.
There were a couple; firstly the windows. We inherited badly proportioned, dark-stained timber windows with lead-glazing. We proposed Architectural Bronze Casements in dark bronze with a horizontal glazing bar. It was a large chunk of the architectural budget but the bronze patina and fine-lines of the frames instantly transformed the building and the Client fell-in love with the property for the first time. Secondly, the ‘L’ layout of the building meant the flooring had to turn and travel in different directions from the centre point of the house. On the ground floor we used large format parquet panels which could be diamond-laid and worked whichever direction you walked in. At first floor level we used the same timber in wide-planks and made a feature of the floor turning direction with the boards pieced into each other on the corridor direction change. On both floors this floor treatment helped tie the two wings of the house together and improved the interior flow.
The Clients’ had an extended stay on site in the converted garage and art studio while the project was in process, they lived every moment of the build. There was such excitement when they moved in and having been in very close-quarters for the build period, the youngest daughter was so excited she locked herself in her bedroom and refused to come out she was so happy.
Questions answered by Sophie Stevens, Founder and Interior Designer of SGS Design
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring an inspiring and thoughtfully designed children’s educational centre and a picture book library, click here to see more.
SGS Design | SBID International Design Awards
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a modern-day luxury home that manages to combine both old-school opulence and contemporary cosiness under the same roof. Superior air ventilation incorporated into the interior of this property allows it to feel larger and more spacious. A stark contrast to the dark and cramped image of a pre-war house. The house is equipped with three bedrooms, which are hosted on the upper levels. Sticking to the modern European theme, the first bedroom features a soft, neutral palette, enhanced with soft blue furnishing & a semi open wardrobe. The second bedroom comes with a softer, baby blue accent, a sleek, custom-made wardrobe / dressing table as a nifty space saving highlight, as well as a hotel-like bathroom with arabescato marble feature wall. Warm, earthy tones blanketed the final bedroom with a restful atmosphere, a clear glass door wardrobe and an en-suite bathroom.
Project: The Irrawady House
Project Location: Penang, Malaysia
For this project, our objective is very clear, we wanted to make the 15 foot wide pre-war terrace house open plan, to break away from the traditional pre-war house layout. Therefore we divided the space into 2 zones; the common area for the ground level and then personal and private spaces for the first floor. With this chosen layout we were able to maximise the usage and fulfil all the needs and requirements of the clients.
On the ground floor, as we enter from the main entrance, we are greeted with the pantry and bar counter clad in beautiful Italian marble, complete with a pair of Reza Feiz’s Bride’s Veil bar stool; the space serves as a pantry / bar to offer space for storage and entertainment as one of the client’s needs and requirements for the design.
The living space is housed further in the middle of the house; to be some distance away off the main road. The dining is located beside the living space right under the skylight; where ample day light is cast into the interior; perfect for energy saving through-out the day. As for the kitchen, all necessary facilities of a fully equipped kitchen are held within the smallest possible footprint at the end of the open layout. A hidden door leads towards the back yard which consist of the laundry and powder room. The room also features a sculpture-like spiral staircase fabricated in mild steel and finished with special rust.
On the first floor, with the chosen layout, we are able to maximise the bedroom sizes, equip with bathroom for each room which typical pre-war houses do not have. Generous panes of glass are utilised to turn ordinarily opaque walls transparent, providing generous views in some surprising places. In one of the bedrooms, the bath is rendered in the manner of a boutique showcase, with generous stretch of windows putting the freestanding tub on display in the air-well with a fully imported Italian arabescato marble feature wall as the backdrop. For the guest bedroom, we wanted created a sense of privacy, it is located 10 feet away from the other bedroom and can only be access via the spiral staircase located at the far end of the house. The monochromatic basis of this bedroom is enhanced for eye pleasing variety with the introduction of greater range of wood tones in fabrics and architectural finishes.
The elongated living room is connected with the kitchen, dining area and open bar area as the decor features a modern twist to classical European designs. Fitted with a daring open staircase, this bold design is further enhanced with the selection of large circular pendants & imported Italian marble counter. Gold finishes are thrown in to the interior design to elevate the overall look with a hint of glitz. Meanwhile, the living room, dining area and kitchen enjoy the warm glow derived from the skylight feature, giving the space a natural comfort, bathed in natural light.
Dealing with structural issues which related to the creation of the column-less, open plan interior within a typical pre-war terrace house; to resolve this, we came up with an “i” beam steel support to withstand the weight of the cast concrete flooring on the first floor. Also, the spiral staircase was not installed without difficulty as it had to be pre-fabricated at the workshop and then reinstalled at site.
For me this is definitely the results of the open plan layout! Also other elements of the interior design like the cantilever bath tub, the use of skylights throughout, the spiral staircase finished in rust paint, and a gorgeous moooi smoke chair!
We wanted to see where would stand on an international level and thought the SBID Awards would be the best platform for this!
Questions answered by Chuah Say Yang, Creative Director and Chong Su Min, Design Director of NEVERMORE
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a unique and inspiring home that pushes boundaries with a sophisticated balance of layers, click here to see more.
We hope you feel inspired! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire
NEVERMORE | SBID International Design Awards 2018
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a bespoke contemporary three-bedroom home, which replaced a double garage on an 80 square-metre site. The idiosyncratic style serves to enhance the context of the street-scene with a bold architectural statement, contrasting with the context of traditional Victorian houses. Filling the footprint of the site and set over three floors, the project was delivered on a limited budget but exceeding the client’s brief. The three-bedroom home, bathed in natural light, uses a minimal palette of materials to unify the design language internally and externally. The materials used include dark brickwork, externally and internally, dark burnt larch cladding and birch-faced plywood throughout the interior for bespoke kitchen, bathroom and stair joinery elements. The result is a bright, bold comfortable design, confidently articulating a contemporary language of architecture used to transform the site into a unique new family home.
Company: Crawford Partnership
Project: Darling House
Project Location: London, United Kingdom
To design a new build contemporary three-bedroom family home on a small constrained urban infill site, formerly a double lockup garage purchased at auction, with high-quality bespoke architecture and interior design that would feel spacious and bright and would incorporate sustainable construction technologies and renewable energy installations, and all a limited budget.
Our design inspiration comes from many sources, however, having an engaged client with enlightened ambitions was our main inspiration on the project. This resulted in many productive discussions about their aspirations and style preferences for the new home, which sought to challenge conventional ideas to address the many constraints of the existing Victorian surroundings and create a home suitable for 21st century lifestyle. The practice’s design approach is unapologetically contemporary; providing bold and ambitious design solutions particularly when working in a sensitive Conservation Area context.
Achieving planning consent for a contemporary design within a Conservation Area is a major hurdle, as is working constantly to ensure that all neighbours whose homes adjoin the boundaries of urban infill sites do not experience any loss of their existing amenity during the construction works, however, the main hurdle for a designer to overcome is often providing a Rolls Royce for the price of a Mini, especially when working with a shoestring budget.
For us, it is paramount to completely understand the cost implications of every decision in order to not only achieve but to elevate the client’s aspirations for their project without compromising their budget. Continued collaboration and communication throughout the initial design stages between the designers and the client, and thereafter with the contractor and sub-contractors during the detailed design stages and works on site has made it possible to attain the quality of finish and fitting out we desired, whilst adhering to the client’s budget.
Maximising the feel of space and light within this very compact three-storey home has been the rewarding highlight for us, and was achieved by careful studies of the internal volumes and limited scope for placing windows, and then by simplifying the main backdrop of finishes, both externally and internally, which are uniform and monolithic and provided at minimal cost, allowing us to then spend more of the construction budget on interior features that elevate and focus the attention on the ambiance of spaces, such as the slender, curved glulam timber roof beam structure, the sculptured open riser staircase, the bespoke kitchen and bathrooms designed by us, the geometric and monochromatic lighting fittings, and especially the variety of glazing elements incorporated that contribute to the surprising levels of natural light and sunlight that filters within all levels of the interior, providing kinetic patterns of light and shade throughout the day on the canvas of walls, floors and ceilings.
As a ‘boutique’ architecture and interior design practice, we relish the challenge of working on these extremely constrained projects, and we are constantly pushing to achieve more with less, applying the knowledge and expertise gained from smaller projects into larger commissions. The SBID Awards are recognised globally as a benchmark for the highest quality in interior design and architecture, and having been shortlisted as finalists in the Awards in four of the last five years, we are very proud of this accolade which continues to inspire our efforts on every new project.
Questions answered by Alan Crawford, Founder and Managing Director of Crawford Partnership
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a modern and fashionable family home which serves as a place to escape from the city bustle, click here to see more.
Crawford Partnership | SBID International Design Awards 2018
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a waterfront home with manor-esque proportions and contemporary lines which guides one through classically-framed openings and clear sight lines. Representing a 2.5-year, from-the-ground-up project, this luxury-driven family residence accumulated its intuitive layers over time. A comprehensive scope of work included planning, architectural detailing, custom features, and millwork concepts. Together with all the finer points in interior design and decor, it marked a holistic approach where architecture and art would connect. Upon entering the home, there is an immediate sense of quiet luxury that may best be defined through the subtleties in beautiful materials, classical order and a clean-lined sensibility.
Company: Regina Sturrock Design
Project: Contemporary Manor
Project Location: Mississauga, Canada
As a builder, the Client offered us a clear vision towards realising their dream home. Some key objectives in the project brief included; an unencumbered and light-filled home that embraces its remarkable lake setting; a well-defined, classical home with a relatable and clean-lined modernity; a home that performs for large family gatherings and that entertains in high style; and solutions for integration to conceal function and reveal form.
What inspired the design of the project?
The interior design narrative was guided by the architecture and its setting; two grounding components around which all other elements made intuitive connections. The home expresses robust manor-esque proportions and clean contemporary lines. It’s positioned on a priceless parcel of land that enjoys exceptionally beautiful views of the lake; a scene that is mesmerising from outside to inside. At any given time of the day, the surrounding waters bring life, mood, and a palpable energy informing the interior spaces on a primal level.
From this perspective, linking with the roots was a fundamental directive in our design.
Classical order in symmetry, and clear sight lines through well-defined panelled openings allowed us to bring all into alignment and to pay homage to the character of the building and its surroundings. The first-impressions great hall, a cocooned inner hall, and the commanding two-storey great room represent an enfilade of harmonic spaces that each play with the sparkling waters of the lake beyond. Together, they provide a successive scene of reflection and undeniable beauty.
Large classic volumes were given a crisp, gallery-white wrap turning architectural detail into sculpture. This pristine envelope enabled a dynamic colour palette inspired by the day’s shifting lake views that would reveal soft watery hues and intense jewel-toned versions.
Majestic two-storey spaces with window walls that embrace infinite lake views are exceptional features, but they can challenge the connection of human scale and with that risk overall well-being. Our approach was to bring focus and tangibility through symmetry, proportion, and a harmonic layering of monochromatic and tactile materials. Each component performed as a visual liaison to the next and together they presented a relatable space where one could feel comfortable and ‘at home’. Defining elements include the striking two-tiered pendant with cascading crystal spheres, a clean-lined vertical fireplace surrounded by classic Statuario marble, and tailored wool drapery panels that elegantly frame the window wall from floor to ceiling. There a no interruptions here; just a rich and holistic environment where the interior details play an integrated role with the architecture and its surroundings.
The project was a 2 ½ year venture, with many milestones and highlights along the way. It was exciting to see the special details jump off the page and form into reality. These were stream-lined and classic touches such as one-off ceiling designs in plasterwork, the feature staircase that required unique engineering to achieve its fluid geometry and many exceptional furniture pieces that were tailor-made for the home. One after the other, they would merge into the unified big vision for the home; a scheme the team conceptualised and nurtured every step of the way. The behind-the-scenes work in the procurement process can be challenging at times but this is all part of what make us tick; to passionately achieve a fine-tuned and beautiful design that we can all be proud of and that the client can enjoy for many years to come.
A personal highlight was the art that gradually filled in to grace the walls and to sit as sculpture within the clean spaces. Although these were among the final layers, they each took on the character of the home in a completely intuitive way. The home truly came to life at this point and it filled my heart with joy to know that we had created a ‘whole’ environment that is both beautiful and meaningful to our clients.
The SBID is a highly respected organisation representing and supporting the interior design industry and its professional standards on a global level. I value that the annual SBID Awards is driven by their desire to recognise talent and creativity and that entries are fairly assessed by leaders in the industry on both technical and aesthetic merit. An SBID Award has come to be known as one of the highest accolades showcasing design excellence from over 42 countries. Our projects have been recognised as finalists at both the 2014 and 2015 ceremonies. Each time, it has been an honour to be part but being a winner at this year’s SBID Awards 2018 is an absolute dream come true and a highlight in my career!
Questions answered by Regina Sturrock, Principal Designer at Regina Sturrock Design
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring the feminine yet contemporary take on a fairytale-themed wedding boutique in China, click here to see more.
Regina Sturrock Design | SBID International Design Awards 2018
An interesting and important discussion is being launched here by kitchen design expert and SBID member Darren Morgan. This blog appeared in Modenus, one of SBID’s media partner for which Darren contributes regularly. Please feel free to leave a comment below. For more information about Darren, his work as a kitchen designer, writer and speaker, please contact him through his website.
‘I, like many, understand the power of hope and the bitterness of disappointment. The everyday exchanges that make up our lives are potentially loaded with both these emotions. But no matter how proactive we are in trying to protect our hope from disappointment, inevitably sometimes our valiant efforts are unsuccessful!
The funny thing about hope is that you only experience it when looking forward while disappointment always occurs in the present or past. It therefore seems appropriate as we look back at 2011 to consider the impact of both disappointment and hope upon the kitchen industry.
It is true that one of the main disappointments of 2011 has been the inability to shake off the global debt crisis which has not only hung around like a bad smell but has decided to act like an evil hobgoblin and dig its claws deeper into an industry that is reeling from an uncertain Euro zone. This uncertainty has stifled opportunities; well any that involves spending money, and even if corporate cash has been spent, those responsible for signing the cheque may well decide to change their mind as uncertain financial fear spreads like a disease. There have been one or two high profile companies who have decided to rethink their investment lately with Indesit deciding to abandon visionary plans for Scholtès UK and Lechner deciding to consolidate their efforts as opposed to spreading them wider.
But sometimes the darkness of disappointment can encourage us to look for the light of hope in places and ways we never imagined. Adaptation in the face of adversity is a basic human evolutionary principle that can be applied to our lives and our work. Although these shock disappointments cause further uncertainty and fear they also create gaps and market opportunities for other brands.
Because of wider economic pressures and disappointments the kitchen industry is now undergoing a pubescent change. Gone are the good old days where companies could have it how they liked, acting like spoiled kids who didn’t need to adapt or change. The kitchen industry is currently undergoing a period of introverted reflection and beginning to appreciate core values which will make it stronger in the future. And this new found maturity is certainly offering hope.
With less money around in the economy the kitchen industry is now driven by a clear need to deliver stylish value. And this determination brings with it better products, better service and better design. We are currently in the process of redefining the evolutionary path of kitchen design and therefore the industry as we know it.
Technology is driving the change with manufacturers using it to increase efficiency and market share. The products delivered by the flamboyant research and development budgets of the past are now being reconsidered, adapted and transformed in order to make them better and more cost effective. This is particularly evident in the production of laminate materials where choices and design options have bounded forward giving designers a cost effective alternative material to work with. The change in market conditions may also see a long term re-investment in Western industry as Eastern manufacturing regions like China may not seem as economically appealing to large scale producers.
For years kitchen designers have been seen as a consequential by-product of kitchen sales but now design is finally being accepted as a fundamental part of the process. 2011 has seen a surge in the number of associations and groups focused on the promotion of kitchen design as an important and influential discipline. Although it is disappointing that these groups appear to have different approaches and objectives, their very existence does provide hope for the future, encouraging new talent to get involved and changing the public perception of the lowly kitchen designer.
Because of the new importance given to kitchen design as a facilitator of sales software companies are investing heavily in order to make their products better. A major hope for the future is that 3D technology will begin to redefine the interface between retailer and consumer allowing designers creativity to flourish and consumers understanding to grow. The advancements in 3D technology will not involve standing in a showroom wearing funny glasses either as the technology already exists to experience 3D without them. Clients will experience kitchen design in an augmented virtual reality where they can use online resources and Apps to create photorealistic visions of their future space.
Imagine using your iPad as a window into the future, allowing you to stand in a pre-fitted architectural space and appreciate the post installed results. Simply by moving and rotating the iPad you will be able to see what your new kitchen will look like before it is even made. These advancements may well impact the current retail model with showrooms becoming smaller and in some cases, virtual spaces! The reality of remote showroom accessibility and newly “qualified” kitchen designers acting as design and product translators may well be just around the corner! Who said change wasn’t exciting!
Every cloud has a silver lining and every problem has a solution so don’t let the industry failings and disappointments of the past 12 months dampen your hopes for wp-content/2012. If you are inventive, passionate and persistent your hopes for wp-content/2012 could deliver your best year yet!’
As the clock slowly ticks by and your once steaming coffee begins to get cold you can hardly disguise your anticipation, because this morning you are having your new kitchen fitted. Then slowly in the distance you see a lorry turn the corner. Inside this delivery truck is months of thought, planning and anticipation; a quiet voice in the back of your head asks; “I hope it looks okay” but you find reassurance in knowing that the designer you worked with was a professional, inspiring you and offering quiet reassuring confidence in equal measure. So how is it that in the past so many kitchen and bathroom designers have been under appreciated and overlooked by clients, other design professionals and even the very industry in which they work? But is this historical undervaluation of good design now turning the corner?
In many ways it is unbelievable that the designer of any product could be simply seen as a consequence of the actual product their employer is trying to sell. An underappreciated by-product of the bigger picture; kitchen and bathroom sales! In many ways the KBB industry has systematically turned things on their head, bypassing the source of inspiration and focusing solely on selling as quickly and as cheaply as possible, and because of this the kitchen and bathroom industry is riddled with holes. It is ironic that many companies choose to fill these holes with salespeople, in the guise of designers and wearing a name badge.
In a capitalist economy it is only right that manufacturers and retailers search for more efficient ways of delivering cost effective style solutions to the public, allowing the conveyer belt of product to keep trundling forwards.
But at what cost?
You cannot underestimate the power of product anticipation as each client, from whichever price bracket will undergo a personal journey leading up to having a new kitchen or bathroom installed. Clients may have made personal and economic sacrifices in order to afford their new installation which brings with it an overt expression of who they are and what they aspire to be. It is unfortunate therefore that in some instances, both in the multiples and the privately owned retailer, that the basic human connection between client and designer is overlooked, and because of this, things start to go wrong.
Kitchen and bathroom design is about communication, empathy and experience and it is combining these tools with an understanding of function, design and architecture that one can truly be confident of delivering a good, client specific design.
It is important for the industry to understand that design is the source of everything, every kitchen, every worktop, every sink and that without the connection between consumer and designer the industry would have nothing to sell, because there would be no-one to sell to!
The kitchen and bathroom designer works on many levels. Some designers have the knowledge and experience to combine multiple, constantly changing components to create functionally astute and aesthetically pleasing products which will not break the bank. Creating a complex product like a kitchen on a budget is a skill that needs to be appreciated more. Other designers will be presented with the unique opportunity to be flamboyant, to reshape our expectations and deliver fantastic functional art installations that will have magazine editors clambering for a pen in order to get the unique, first hand insight into the vision of the designer. In a situation like this there is a desire to tap into the individual’s inspiration and suddenly the lowly kitchen or bathroom designer is allowed to step from the shadows onto the bigger and greatly more appreciated design stage.
And so cometh a change! The pace of change has been slow and could be likened to water dripping on a stone, but just like the water, kitchen and bathroom designers are beginning to make a hole just big enough to let in some light.
Some large multiple retailers are now advertising the fact that they employ good designers exploiting the personal connection and the reassurances that a good designer can offer. However it could be argued that some of the bigger names in the industry did not value the designer at all, instead they promoted a campaign of destructive discounting which damaged the industry and ultimately consigned their own names to the history books. But just as in any blockbuster movie depicting apocalyptic scenes of self destruction the KBB industry has been offered an opportunity for re-birth, a new avenue to explore, a faint light at the end of the tunnel. A small band of mavericks have broken away from the traditional retail model choosing to offer kitchen design on a “design only” basis. These “design only” companies are offering a new way of buying a kitchen and presenting a new opportunity to manufacturers to source clients from places they had never dreamt of. Design is flexible and not geographically restricted therefore the possibilities offered from these “design only” companies must be explored by manufacturers, retailers and even other design disciplines.
Remember, design is the source of every product, and the kitchen and bathroom designer is fast becoming the gate keeper between client and manufacturer. Independent designers can offer flexibility and clarity to the buying process, acting as industry translators and as an easy source of new clientele for manufacturers. Independent designers also offer the industry a comprehensive range of design solutions on a pay and go basis allowing struggling businesses to stay open and more celebrated enterprises to flourish.
Independent designers should not be feared, they should be celebrated! Kitchen and bathroom design is changing!
Find out more about our flexible membership structure.
SBID will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected] We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.
We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.
By subscribing, you agree to be added to SBID’s mailing list. As an industry’s standard bearer organisation, we strive to bring you the most up to date news and access to exclusive industry content through our various newsletters.