The Mysterious Porsche Kitchen Contest of 2019

For two years I worked at Poggenpohl here in the US as a kitchen designer, from 2018 until the end of 2019. I liked the product but did not stay long for various reasons. When an international kitchen design contest was announced for all employees and partners I jumped at the chance. I’ve finished top 3 in these types of contests before (Blanco – 3rd and 2nd), with an additional honorable mention (Electrolux). A free trip to Milan was the grand prize. That caught my attention; I was in.

First, a little background on the project.

The idea was to create a fresh concept for the company’s old Porsche Design kitchen. For years ignored for being hugely expensive, there were also details with the furniture that made it hard to integrate with appliances, especially here in the States. The kitchen footprint required was quite small – 3800 x 3500mm – reason as the winner would have their concept installed at Milano in April 2020. Ah yes, that free trip to Milano was beginning to sound like a proverbial victory lap.

On to my concept – A Porsche Kitchen for Marko.

Introducing Marko, my fictional client.

I created a fictional client who lives in Zurich, who enjoys expensive global brands and leads a wonderful urbane lifestyle. Marko is building a new house in the mountains above the Zurichsee. I’ve developed lifestyle concepts and mood boards before, notably at Kohler and Amerock while leading my design departments. I may have overshot this part of the contest (there were many more pages) but frankly, Marko’s lifestyle and goals were completely integral into my design intent and I thought it was necessary to illustrate everything in my thinking.

My idea was to create an open room and have the kitchen furniture fill the 3.8 x 3.5m footprint; I figured this would disqualify me but since they did not say where walls should be, if any, I wanted to make the kitchen fit into a large and exciting living space.

I put quite a bit of time into my Sketchup model, reverse engineering the Porsche cabinet products as close as I could. I only modeled the living room of the house but included the important outside views into the imagery as needed.

The main rendering, with an actual Swiss forest Photoshopped outside the windows.

The presentation was rendered “manually” by using Styles in SU and then exporting into Photoshop and embellishing. I’ve warmed up to rendering software a little bit over the past few years but I still enjoy making my own look.

The kitchen envelope.

The kitchen itself fits within the required space while open on 3 sides. I have the oven and refrigerators accessible laterally along the walls – assuming a structural element is in the middle to fill the interstitial space – as I didn’t want to disrupt the free-flowing design. I spent weeks considering other ideas but ultimately went with my heart on this layout, then designing the whole house around it.

The Porsche system uses “blades” between cabinets as per the designer’s discretion. I employed a few of these as vertical accents but did not overdo it. Notice the shelf connects to the blades on the main elevation – and the left upper cabinet leaves a gap. This was one of my first ideas to try as the shelf is lighted glass within a frame and would add a nice feature to allow some eye movement around the design.

The island concept.

The island mirrors the offset feature of the upper cabinets and brings the whole design together. Due to the cabinet system’s reliance on stainless finished sides and lack of proper side panels, one cannot easily do a double-deep kitchen island. To get around that I interlocked shelves and different depth base cabinets to key it all together as a block.

So how did I do?

The contest closed in July of 2019. After several months of hearing nothing about this contest I assumed I didn’t place. The company itself was in disarray and communication in general was fairly limited. But, surprisingly one day in late October I rolled up to my house and saw this box on my doorstep.

Zubehoer means “parts” in German. I had no idea what this was until I opened it.

At first I thought, how could a client’s parts be misdirected to my personal residence? It wasn’t until I opened the letter did I realize it was from the contest.

My prize: a wonderful Porsche Design writing instrument.

This lovely Porsche writing pen was accompanied by a letter from the director informing me I had won the Best Overall Concept. Wow – months of silence and then a box on my doorstep telling me I won? I wish I had at least an email in advance; this box could have easily been stolen off my doorstep and I would have never known! It turns out the First Prize was the concept to be installed in Milano, not Best Overall Concept. I ended up seeing a very small brochure a friend found when visiting the factory, which showed the 1-3 placing concepts. No mention of Marko in that little gatefold. But again, the contest had left my mind and I was lucky an insider happened upon the leaflet. I liked the first prize concept a lot and it fit into a predetermined-looking space which makes me think that European designer had a little more information than I did.

So, no trip to Milano but I got a nice pen. Oh and lest we forget – Milano 2020 was cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic. So, in the end, this fantastic little pen!

Truth is I was in the process of extricating myself from Poggenpohl when I got this box and I quickly forgot the whole thing. In the meanwhile I reconnected with my first “love” in SieMatic and since then the Poggenpohl company completely imploded, going bankrupt and is now apparently in the process of closing most of their stores in the US.

Maybe I’ll finally take the Porsche out of the case and work on some SieMatic concepts with my new clients this week. I’ve got a great story to tell if they ask me about the pen!

Autumn 2017; Recent Kitchen Projects

News from some recent projects; digital renderings in the non-photo realistic style – NPR – our latest visualization obsession.  First up – a display kitchen for a proposed showroom project:

Pure Modern Kitchen by Mick Ricereto

Working with lighting in Sketchup is tricky; most people export their model to a rendering package and work on materials and shadows.  We’ve been playing with staying in Sketchup, using Styles and doing this quickly and more loose.  As frequent readers know, I like our renderings to show some “hand” and be more conceptual.

Next is a kitchen project for an exciting modern lake-front house:

White Modern Kitchen by Mick Ricereto

This design was originally shown with a darker accent color but the client wanted to see it in all white as well.  We left the white glass backsplash for now but perhaps this could use a textured gloss tile instead for a little more pop.  The cubes are white oak boxes which will be back lighted with small LED strips.

Finally, here is another studio project, this one for SieMatic, using one of their signature styling photos (London’s “Gherkin” building):

Studio design concept by designer Mick Ricereto.

We were tempted to show the exterior street scene through the large glass windows but again, time can get out of hand when working on digital renderings.  Also, no need to be distracting here; the client knows what is outside of their windows.  This view shows an important table area that design staff uses with visiting clients – through the windows passerby can see some creative work in action, creating some buzz.  Whenever possible we try and make the entire space a working design as opposed to a static showplace devoid of life.  This is the third renovation for this particular client and we are always happy to work with our old friends in the business.

Future projects include some new lighting collections about to hit market, and also more kitchen projects – always kitchens!

Pirch Soho NY

On Saturday, May 21 Pirch Soho opened at the corner of Lafayette and Broome in New York City.  On Thursday, I attended the VIP opening party with the rest of the SieMatic and Fitch design teams.  As long-time readers know, I have been designing the kitchen areas for the Pirch stores, and Soho is unquestionably our best.  Here are some impressions of the finished store and the grand opening party.

Blog Subway

The buzz starts on your subway ride to Spring Street.  Pirch has advertisements throughout the subway using celebrities in the decorating and gourmet arenas.

Blog Ext Sign

The building itself is a fine old stone/brick manufacturing/office building, lovingly restored.  The store itself covers 32000 square feet and actually comprises space from at least two buildings, as the grade change and brick arches inside reveal.  The exterior brickwork and paint is exceptional.

Blog Exterior

Approaching the store after 6pm, guests experienced a velvet rope line up the block and tuxedo-clad “security”.  Yes, quite the buzz.

Entry View of Pirch Soho New York

Above is the view upon entry; SieMatic is the very first thing you see, even before the standard Pirch complimentary cafe.  SieMatic was very fortunate to get involved with the store layout early in the design process.  We were able to implement SieMatic’s vision of Timeless Elegance and Journey of Discovery by ensuring lots of space around each kitchen environment and letting the architecture inspire our layouts and material choices.

SieMatic S2 Agate Grey Soho New York

This first display features Gaggenau appliances, with a freezer and refrigerator clad with Black Oak veneer and the balance of the cabinets in Agate Grey matte lacquer.  The open layout and floating shelves are minimal and contribute to the spacious feel.

SieMatic SC40 Umbra Kitchen at Pirch Soho

As one walks throughout the space new display environments reveal themselves around wall blocks and glass screen walls.  As they were setting up for the party, some of the larger areas were dominated by catering and DJ equipment so this shows only a portion of what is on offer.

SieMatic Viking Display at Pirch Soho New York

Appliances on display include Sub Zero, Wolf, Viking, Miele, Gaggenau, Monogram … essentially the best available in the market today.

SieMatic 3003RLM Nutmeg display at Pirch Soho

SieMatic’s new 3003 door features a very thin 6.5mm edge detail in matte Nutmeg lacquer.  We mixed a very subtle aged bronze accent color into this display, as seen on the handles.  Up front we show another 3003 in Graphite lacquer, this one featuring Miele appliances and stainless steel accents.

SieMatic and Miele Display at Pirch Soho New York

Realistic seating areas are included where we could fit them, as this completes the domestic feel but also these areas are where the Pirch and SieMatic customer consultations start as guests receive exceptional and personalized service when shopping at Pirch.

SieMatic 3003RLM display in Pirch Soho New York

The Miele display is tucked into the window on the Broome side of the store, shown behind the stair area below.  This little display may not be much in size but when customers explore each area of the store little surprises like this small kitchen area come to life.

Stairs at Pirch Soho New York

Pirch offers kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living furniture and fixtures.  A view to a bath environment on the second floor shows how the store designers (Fitch of Columbus OH) aimed to show complete environments in the design.  Note – all faucets and bath fillers and shower heads are fully functional for a very realistic experience.

Glog Bathroom

The spaces on the second floor are more intimate due to a lower ceiling and window height.  We responded to this feature by making the kitchen areas smaller and more realistic by building them in with walls and the ceilings properly.  This “Innovation Loft” kitchen takes up the corner of the second floor and is part of an apartment suite.  There are many home-organization and entertainment media screens embedded into the design like in the table and on top of the counter top.

SieMatic Loft Area at Pirch Soho New York

The loft is fairly small so a good view of this area was a bit hard to capture properly.  I didn’t venture upstairs during the party to see how this area was received but I’ll pop-up to NY occasionally to see how the store is doing “in action” and report back.

SieMatic Loft Area at Pirch Soho New York

We used as many new SieMatic features as we could, including these open shelves from the “URBAN” collection of furniture, quite appropriate to New York’s apartment-dwelling clientele.

SieMatic SC10 Graphite Cabinetry at Pirch Soho New York

Marcia Speer of SieMatic poses with me for our obligatory party shot.  Marcia and I work very close on these stores, selecting materials and shaping the overall product offering and interfacing with the Pirch team to get the mix of cabinets, counter tops and appliances just right.  In addition we have a team of bright designers, managers and installation experts at SieMatic who help put the whole thing together – too many to note here but they know who they are and if reading this, please recognize that I cannot take any credit for this work without your invaluable help!

Designer Mick Ricereto and Marcia Speer of SieMatic at the Pirch Soho New York Grand Opening

Next up for Pirch and SieMatic is the exciting addition of Austin TX.  We have almost completed this design and it should be open by early 2017.

I know this latest store is the best for SieMatic and Pirch and I’m sure it will be a smashing success.  When you are in NY please stop by and see the store and let us know how we are doing.

Recent Projects and Renderings

As the holiday season gets into full swing here in the States, we are wrapping up some private projects, studio designs and renderings for other designers.  Everybody likes hand renderings so I will share some of the more interesting rooms we have been working on.

First up is a difficult kitchen space for our good friends in California.  This is a stunning house, but with an odd shape to the kitchen which took some clever design to get organized.  The designers moved some doors and windows around to get a better spatial flow to the room.  We didn’t do much here, other than render the design.  Cabinets are SieMatic Classic, in Sterling Grey gloss lacquer.

California Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

Next up is a more eclectic design in a very traditional house in South Carolina.  The client wanted something darker and more modern in this – again – difficult-shaped kitchen space.  We helped add some character to the room by designing a banquette and treating the existing brick wall with a Silestone wainscoting to tie the kitchen finishes and the architecture together.  I could completely see myself sipping coffee by the window on a nice spring morning.

Umber Gloss Lacquer Eclectic KitchenThis next project was a rendering for a real estate developer in Florida.  This is a small kitchen, but using the same care we use on our big design projects.  Where prospective home buyers would normally expect a basic digital rendering of the space, we like to think this accessorized and inviting view gives a better impression of the builder’s product.

Small Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

This next project are renderings for a villa in Hawaii.  The designers were looking to update the traditional Japanese-style interior to a more minimalist and clean look, while retaining the incredible inside-outside living that is unique to this climate.  First is the great room, with a view to the dining table and sitting area.  The kitchen is behind the camera in this view.

Hawaii Resort Interior RenderingThe floor here is slate, which continues inside and out seamlessly.  The sliding doors are shown here pocketed; there is almost no divider between the outdoors and in.  The next view is the bathroom, which has an open arrangement to allow a great view from the bathtub.

Hawaii Resort Bathroom RenderingThe bedroom has a similar set of sliding doors to the outside.  The piece on the wall is a Donald Judd-style wall sculpture.

Hawaii Resort Bedroom Rendering by Mick RiceretoBack to kitchens, here is our third prize winning entry to the Blanco Dream Kitchen contest from this past October.  The rules required the fitting of a Blanco sink and faucet (which we use extensively in most of our projects), but otherwise the design and style of one’s entry was completely open for creativity.  Our design is a very modern and modest kitchen using grey woods, stainless steel and for the room’s centerpiece, a black Corian custom angled island.  Our Ilex Space Array chandelier in black is above the sink/eating area, and this finish ties in to the blackened oak tall cabinets/room divider to the right.

Modern Kitchen Concept by Mick RiceretoI like how our Blanco project resembles the Hawaii resort above.  The lifestyle is not dissimilar, although our space is in a North American urban area; the desire to bring the outdoors in is an almost universal request when designing living spaces today.

The Blanco contest results can be seen in this issue of Blanco’s online magazine Here

The next project is a rendering for our colleagues in California, a kitchen for an industry executive.  We worked carefully on the proportions of these upper cabinets as the ceiling is a bit low and we didn’t want to misrepresent the design by making it appear taller than it actually is.  Hand rendering of course should be considered an “artist’s impression”, but that doesn’t mean we should not strive for accuracy in the design.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Class Kitchen Rendering by Mick RiceretoThis last project was done earlier in the autumn; a nice big traditional kitchen for our friends again in South Carolina.  This is an expertly-tailored space with some very nice door details.  Again, another kitchen with a lot of openings and a tricky space to design but I think the room comes together with an exquisite use of vertical proportions and a consistent horizontal datum.

SieMatic Classic Beaux Arts Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

In addition to these residential renderings we have some private kitchens and as usual, kitchen studio projects and other retail spaces on our boards.  2015 has been a busy year here in our new Philadelphia studio.  We look forward to some relaxation time this holiday season and continued growth for 2016.  Thanks for visiting the blog and please also see our Facebook page Here for photos, travel impressions and general goings-on at Mick Ricereto Interior + Product Design.

 

 

Recent Kitchen Renderings

We’ve recently done renderings for other designer’s kitchen projects.  Although my first inclination is to work in a more modern context, when helping out colleagues I’m often involved with “classic” designs.  These two SieMatic Beaux Arts kitchens are typical examples of a single-view rendering needed to supplement a high-end kitchen renovation proposal.  The client may otherwise only have a plan and elevation to fully understand the design intent; renderings help the project come alive.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Rendering by Mick Ricereto

This first example shows how the designers integrated the cabinets into the architecture of the room.  Careful planning of horizontal joints and header heights pull it all together.  Spaces like this – kitchen as hub of the house with many ways in and out – can be particularly challenging to work with but they did a great job in tying it all together.

This next project came with a low ceiling and existing skylight structure, for which the designers put considerable attention into the upper cabinets to get the right proportions.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Class Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

I needed to carefully draw my base layout to accurately portray the widths and heights of the design elements.  Since I draw everything by hand and do everything by eye/feel (no measurements whatsoever), sometimes there are false starts where you get the angle a bit wrong and need to start over.  Again I think this design solves the room’s challenges well and the interesting soffit bits keep your eye moving and make this a special room.

I’m often asked why I continue to do hand drawings when I could model in Sketchup or others and have unlimited views.  Well, I do actually, but hand drawings are fun and you “wright” a design instead of just click it to life.  The designer’s organic connection to the paper and the scraping medium which makes the marks (the pencils and pens) provide a feedback which is just different to working on a computer.

Another recent project was designed for a competition.  I’ll share the rendering here as it is a bit more my preferred flavor of style.  This is my design, from a completely white sheet of paper.  Lots of care went into finishes, such as stainless steel base cabinets, black matte oak on the tall cabinets/room divider at right, the deeply-combed grey oak floor and the angled black Corian island.  The idea was to place an interesting island in an otherwise basic square room to show how just a few new ideas could create a dynamic design.

Modern Kitchen Concept by Mick Ricereto

The island has a polished stainless steel leg on only one side.  I tested this in scale and with the massive base at the left end, it is remarkably stable.  Notice the shadow lines above the shelf at left and black oak wall divider cabinets at right; I do not like taking cabinets to the ceiling and much prefer to use a shadow gap.  A gap at the top expands the room visually and is easier to install.

We have been busy with some industrial design projects and helping out with the Design Philadelphia festival here in town.  I’ll post more hand renderings from time-to-time so thanks for viewing and see also our Facebook page for other recent projects.

Visiting SieMatic Amsterdam

In previous posts I covered my voyage to Germany with SieMatic’s North American design partners for our visit to IMM – the furniture show in Cologne.  After the show we jumped on an ICE high speed train at 300 km/h to see SieMatic’s new flagship showroom in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark neighborhood.

SieMatic Amsterdam Exterior

This new studio is unique in many ways, one of which is full integration into this wonderful old townhouse steps away from the Vondelpark, a lovely urban green space just a couple blocks away from the recently renovated Rijksmuseum.

As we discussed above, SieMatic has revolutionized their approach to displaying product towards one of full, realistic environments.  The full building envelope is part of the experience, much the same as any top-level luxury product.  The townhouse selected for the studio itself is magnificent and no doubt provided the designers from Schepers Architects (along with SieMatic’s in-house department) tons of inspiration for the layout.

Entry At SieMatic Amsterdam

Upon entry you can see how the space is divided, as you choose to go up or down to the visible, inviting living spaces.  The effect is like a peek into actual apartments, as the individual spaces are decorated so well it looks as if the residents had stepped out minutes prior.

White SieMatic S2 Kitchen at SieMatic Amsterdam

This is the first display upon going down the first landing.  This is the S2 series in Lotus White gloss, accented with only stainless steel and Titan Oak veneer.  The herb garden is congruent with the trend we saw in Cologne.  The backsplash compartments seen below are used many times in the this studio.  These small details impressed me over and over; the individual displays show a masterful hand for detail.

Herb Garden Island

The apartments blend into each other with transition spaces, such as below.  Large walls have clever lighting and copper panels with a patina effect, combined with photo murals.  These scenes compliment the style of the room and bring the whole ensemble together.  These transition spaces are shared between several kitchen alcoves, but the effect is one of overall harmony as together they feel like an expansive, single environment.

Transition Area

The furnishings and decor are expertly chosen and curated.  Remembering we are in Amsterdam – a city of small apartments and narrow townhouses – the designers and studio staff have honed in on what works for their local market and the types of buildings they will be asked to work with.

Small Amsterdam Kitchen Display at SieMatic

Above is an S3 kitchen, using a combination of materials in a smart manner.  I like how the architects kept the window frames black in all the rooms – a nice unifying feature – and played off it with dark accents wherever possible.

Kitchen at SieMatic Amsterdam

Amsterdam has small houses, and yes the studio addresses this with small display environments.  I found these small rooms to be very inspiring.  The use of shelves, decor, creative backsplash storage elements and use of color and materials is again masterful.  The above display sports this fantastic storage wall behind the cooktop and sink:

Creative Kitchen Backsplash StorageOn another floor is this transition space with a wall of gloss Graphite panels mirrored by a copper/photo wall.  Instead of merely moving you through to the next space, I found these transitions to be very inviting and like a palette cleanser as you moved to the next apartment.

Another Transition Space at SieMatic Amsterdam

In the upstairs spaces the original building details are more visible, and the entire top floor feels like one grand apartment.  The kitchen furnishings are still quite modern here, but the overall feel is still Classic as the room environment is the rightfully steers the room’s style.

Classic SieMatic Kitchen Environment

The other spaces are just as nice or even more so, with integrated work spaces for consultation with clients or in our case, for a luncheon meeting for 20 people.  As I mentioned in my IMM posts above, I had come down with a fast case of flu and unfortunately didn’t stay in the showroom for to document everything.  I’m sure my colleagues were glad I didn’t spend too much time in general population.

Overall, this studio presents a very convincing luxury environment, and one undoubtably effective at making Amsterdammers feel at home.  Although this presentation is quite different than say New York’s flagship showroom, it is still undeniably SieMatic.  And in my office, as we work on future SieMatic projects, this will be our challenge; as we renovate spaces around the world, we shall increasingly draw on local conditions and inspiration for new studios without diluting the unique luxuries of SieMatic’s global brand.

IMM 2015 – The Kitchens

In this third installment of my trip to IMM in Cologne, it’s time to show the news in kitchens.  My trip’s main purpose was to travel with SieMatic and work with their customers on future showroom planning.  Naturally, our first stop when arriving at the massive fairgrounds was to visit the SieMatic stand.

SieMatic Stand IMM 2015

SieMatic has a new category system to describe their offerings: Urban, Pure and Classic.  As we do in the best showrooms and studios throughout the world, the stand created convincing environments to illustrate each style.  The overall feel is unified by a single floor and ceiling treatment, and all the product finishes compliment each other in the relative proximity.

This first view is from the outside “long side’ of the stand, which was a freestanding rectangle positioned right at the front of hall 4.  This new Urban kitchen is in a fresh lacquer color called Umbra, mixed with Matte Black Oak.

SieMatic at IMM 2015

The feeling is very free and open.  Note the exposed drawers at right below, which coordinates with the shelves above them.  The island is anchored by a herb garden planter, which as you will see throughout this post was a very big trend this year.  (I’m proud to say I predated this trend 2 years ago with my Schindler Lovell Beach House concept kitchen – seen here).SieMatic at IMM 2015

I love the feel of this display, how casual and yet quite put together it is.  On the far left you can see the new SieMatic 29 sideboard; this new idea goes back to SieMatic’s origins to 1929 but in an updated, sleeker skin.

SieMatic 29 Urban Sideboard

This detail shows another 29 Sideboard in Titan White.  Note the flooring, the table and the glass wall in the above photo.  The main thrust of SieMatic’s new designs are to present a fetching and convincing luxury environment.  The stand’s feel was reminiscent of the newest design studios that we are executing around the world.SE3003R by SieMatic

This display, just in front of the previous on the long side, shows a little more of the stand’s architecture.  This is SieMatic’s new SE3003R, a very thin framed-type door which is very crisp in execution.  Seen here at the end of the last day (not crowded), you can get a sense of the minimalist lines and detail.  Note the chandeliers in each display, as SieMatic’s designers are very keen to use and align with the very best and creative furniture and accessory partners to get the right look.

SieMatic Classic Kitchen

 

Above is Classic, an evolution of the Beaux Arts series.  SieMatic could sit back on this successful line and be no worse for wear, but instead continually push the idea of what Classic is for today’s living.  The mix of materials and detail of surfacing is masterful.  This is a most modern “classic”, with only the presence of framed doors linking it to any sense of tradition.  The realm of possibility using the Classic style seems almost limitless as the combination of framed, flat and metal cabinet surfaces gives the designer many options to personalize with unexpected detail.

SieMatic 3003R

Above is a detail of the new SE3003R framed door.  This is a very thin frame of only 6.5mm.  Offered in lacquer colors and also this interesting Gold-Bronze, the integrated handle can be color coordinated or the door can be used with no handles at all (push latch).  This breakfront detail is a new trend; we used to pull cabinets forward a few years ago, to demarcate special areas and create visual interest.  I really like using this treatment but it can go overboard quickly in less judicious hands.

I mentioned environment and styling; here are two views of how SieMatic is using graphics to create emotion and tie into existing architecture and urban surroundings to illustrate the appropriate mood for Pure:

Cozy Seating at SieMatic

Using London’s Gherkin building nicely:

Styling at SieMatic IMM 2015

The styling is extremely important for presentation of interior products.  The visit to a studio or show stand should embrace you in a story of emotions unique to your particular brand.  A guest should feel like she is entering a series of inspiring apartments during an open house, with the sense you could move in yourself, or, that just by walking in you know what the people who live there are like.  SieMatic has created these convincing environments and I’m very happy to be continually involved with this exciting brand.

Let’s see some other kitchen brands; this is Ernestomeda.  Very nice details including creative use of stone for vertical surfaces.  The backsplash area of this island has compartments that can be used for cooking tools and of course, an herb garden.

Ernestomeda at IMM 2015

I don’t have all the details in my notebook on each photo, so some of these I’m showing just because I liked the detail or layout.  This double perpendicular island is bridged with an eating surface – very cool:

Double Bridge Island IMM 2015

Note the LED lights at the finger grip, and the simulated (or possibly real) stone surface of the cabinet faces – big trends this year.

The placement of accent shelves in contrasting colors has been a strong movement for the past few years.  I liked this corner shelf arrangement.

Open Shelf Detail

This kitchen was essentially one big multi-function island.  Note the storage bins and ever-present herbs, great open shelf tower and integrated seating surface.

Creative Kitchen Shelves

I loved this tall blue shelf, which is reminiscent of the shelf cluster I showed from the furniture post last week.  The use of push-pull cabinets is very effective here, even in a small laminate L-shaped display.

Blue Open Kitchen Shelf

I mentioned Poliform in a previous post about IMM; here is their sister kitchen brand Varrena.  Similarly detailed architecture, which is to say, exquisite.

Varenna at IMM 2015

Like most of the Italian luxury brands Varenna really understands how to create environment.  You forget you are walking through a temporary show stand as you wander around and explore all the little details in this fabulous space.

Varenna at IMM 2015

The floor was the same as used in the Poliform side, which unified the entire space.  In fact, there was barely any perceived separation between the furniture, closets and kitchen presentation.  It really felt like walking through a series of apartments.

Detail of Varenna kitchen

I was particularly enamored with the above display’s use of open space and how this island did not engage with the wall.  When using flat surfaces it is often the joints or points of haptic connection where all the magic is revealed.

Varenna at IMM 2015

These end-panel treatments are from the Poliform closet display:

End Detail by Poliform

And a similar detail on the kitchen side:

Varenna Kitchen Detail

I’ve never personally used such dark colors in the kitchen, but this is definitely a trend in the industry.  We have moved on a bit from the “nightclub” look from a few seasons ago, but this is still very much a sexy urban apartment setting.

Varenna Kitchen IMM 2015

This detail of the upper shelf shows how much care was put into the styling.  Accessorizing a kitchen display is one of the fun parts of our business.

Creative Open Kitchen Shelf

Moving on, here is another use of stone surfacing, this time everything is covered in the same marble look:

Stone Kitchen Detail at IMM 2015

More stone laminate, this one a little unconvincing:

Stone Look Laminate

This is from Leicht, a very popular brand in Germany.  The stone look here is also laminate, this time in a simulated concrete look.

Leicht Kitchen at IMM 2015

The brand Eggersman had some nice details.  The walls were OSB – oriented strand board – painted black.  In contrast to this humble material, here were mirror-polished stainless cabinet surfaces:

Mirror Stainless Cabinets

In the reflection you can see a very strange stone finish, used again in a monolithic manner as a kitchen island.

As an aside, you can also see my red vinyl belt, which is made from old VW Beetle seat vinyl.  I love this belt – it was made by a guitar strap craftsman in California.  Anybody who has been in a 1950’s or 60’s Beetle knows this surface, and with it comes a unique smell.  However, it is not the vinyl that has the odor, it is the horse hair stuffing they used.  I know that smell with trigger a huge rush of memories the next time I sit inside an old Bug, which any reader of Proust would also predict.

 

Speaking of smells, the aroma of fresh bread brought us to the appliance side where Gaggenau was demonstrating their fabulous ovens.  The stand’s architecture used raw plywood in a creative way for the roof/cornice structure.

Gaggenau at IMM 2015

A detail of the interior:

Gaggenau at IMM 2015

Another brand used raw plywood, Schueller.  This stand was very large, and was a little village of buildings showing their collections of appliances.  Very creative.

Raw wood stand at IMM 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, after the show our group took a train to Amsterdam to see the new SieMatic flagship showroom installation.  On the way over to the train station I started to get that achy feeling that a cold or flu was on the way.  Later that night I was in full-blown chills and didn’t sleep a wink.  Although my time in A’dam was mostly confined to the hotel room, I still managed to visit the showroom and get some impressions – I’ll cover this in my next post.

 

New SieMatic Showroom – Konst – Bethesda MD

Our latest showroom design for SieMatic is now open in Bethesda, MD.  Konst – meaning “art” in Swedish, is owner Jonas Carnemark’s third studio renovation/location in a decade.  Locking down a busy corner of Wisconsin Ave. near the Bethesda Metro station, this latest move – just a block away from the old building – is a gigantic leap in street and sidewalk exposure.

Konst SieMatic Showroom ExteriorOur previous showroom space was constructed over two renovation phases, which left an incongruous layout from end-to-end.  This new space is more linear, showing a straight progression of SieMatic design as one enters and meanders counter-clockwise around the space.

This view from opening night in early October shows the great storefront exposure on the front of the building.

As motorists and pedestrians come down Wisconsin Ave towards Washington DC, this large SieMatic logo beckons proudly on the modernist façade from blocks away.

The first display consists of a simple white laminate island positioned before a large, continuous-grain natural walnut cabinet wall.  Behind the paneling are fridges and freezers, hidden storage areas and audio-visual equipment.

Konst SieMatic Display 1

The building features a large chamfered corner on Wisconsin Ave, so we chose to angle the front display parallel to this edge.  Keeping the floor longitudinal but aligning the LED ceiling strips adds dynamics to the youthful room feel.

SieMatic Shelf DetailWhile most of the storage is closed and otherwise hidden, we added a Floating Spaces shelf to the end for accent.

A large display monitor shows loops of SieMatic and Konst design features while Miele’s latest white glass appliances make a bright accent on the left side for balance.

Visitors walk around the right side of the display for their first look of display 2 and the rest of the space.

SieMatic Display at Konst SieMatic

The second display presents a large suite of space with S2 in Oak and SLG “similacque” glossy laminate, adjacent to the Beaux Arts 2.0 display at the rear.  A SieMatic table and benches is just out of view behind the Algue screen by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra at left.

The Beaux Arts takes up the anchor space at rear with a large seating area, media center/fireplace and entrance to samples areas and service space.

SieMatic Beaux Arts display at Konst

The display follows SieMatic’s usual Beaux Arts philosophy of using metal, gloss lacquer and wood and asymmetrical balance to create this unique feel.  With these photos taken only a few minutes before the opening party, I’ll need to return for more pictures of details and the seating areas.

We are particularly proud of this latest studio, and wish the staff at Konst the best luck at this new location.  Based on the level of interest passersby expressed during my site visits – as well as the tremendous response on opening night – I’m sure this location will prove more successful than their old spaces.

Visit Konst online and browse the excellent work they have been doing for the past few years and do make sure to drop in when in the Washington DC/Bethesda area.

 

SieMatic NY Wins Showroom of the Year Award

The New York SieMatic showroom has won the KBB Magazine 2014 Showroom of the Year award.  Kitchen and Bath Business magazine, sponsor of America’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, is the industry’s leading professional publication.  We also won this award for the Charleston showroom back in 2009 and I’m proud to be a part of another award-winning project with SieMatic.

KBB Award Winning ShowroomA full analysis of the design can be read in my previous post of the showroom opening.  SieMatic is leading the shift to experience-based environments in today’s kitchen showroom design, and wanted to make a big statement with the studio in NY’s A&D building.  In comparison with the old layout (a series of small kitchen compartments, each representing a singular look), the new idea is two large apartment environments showing examples of the best in NY living.  With new studios under planning and opening soon – Amsterdam, London, Melbourne – SieMatic is moving towards this model around the world.

SieMatic New York KBB Magazine

I’m pleased the photographers chose to hone in on some of the styling elements – I worked hard to source and place those objects!

SieMatic NY Showroom of the Year 2014

I helped write the copy for the award’s application, taking care to explain why we think this design is an important departure from normal kitchen studio design.  Happily, the editors clearly have an understanding of what we have tried to do with the design and presentation.

SieMatic New York - Showroom of the Year 2014

Already we have new ideas for the next series of studios, with SieMatic about to unveil some new product and layout design in January at IMM, Germany’s big furniture show in January.  There has rarely been a more exciting time in kitchen design; If you don’t mind a little grey, cold weather please join us in Cologne next year.  As always, I am proud to work with such a fabulous team of people and well-respected brand as SieMatic.

Recent Renderings – Summer 2014

It’s been a busy summer here in the studio as we have residential kitchen projects, two small kitchen studios and some ongoing industrial design projects to finalize.  Here are some images from our residential kitchens:

Kitchen Project by Mick RiceretoThis first project is for a large home with the kitchen space centered within a sprawling floor plan.  There are numerous entrances and reveals to other spaces from all sides, which presents a challenge to circulation and maintaining a harmonious feel.  The space is quite large however, big enough for two very large islands.  Behind all those tall cabinet doors is an array of refrigeration.

The next project is has similar finishes and back-to-back, they almost feel like they could be the same project from a different angle.  Brown horizontal wood grain has been a popular finish now for about 10 years, with no sign of abatement.  The strong tones work well with the earthy palette many homeowners request.

Kitchen Rendering by Mick RiceretoBoth of these projects have fairly “traditional” building envelopes, meaning, they have all the trappings of today’s North American building trends like covered porches, traditional-style siding, raised panel doors, big moldings and the like.  It is good to see functional, modern kitchens being requested in these types of environments, even if there does seem to be a slight clash to the architecture.

This next project is a small kitchen studio.  The space is a converted car garage, with an extra high ceiling allowing for a loft space at the rear.  We have planned a large “living environment” similar to the types of spaces we have been designing for large showrooms such as SieMatic New York.  In this case the main space is shared between two kitchens, to highlight different solutions to the same living example.

Small Kitchen Studio by Mick RiceretoThe rear kitchen is functional, and positioned under the loft like it would typically occur in a converted apartment.  We kept the cabinet sizes similar and very similar, for an elemental look to counteract the busy, large industrial-type space around it.

Apartment Kitchen by Mick RiceretoThe front kitchen display is completely integrated into the environment and designed to be less “kitcheny” in appearance.  Across from the island is to be a built-in seating element with a long table suitable for parties and for client consultation.  The overall feel is to inspire the visitor and convey a feel of real architecture.  I think we will achieve all this with our design solutions.

Loft Kitchen by Mick RiceretoOn the Industrial Design side, we have been working on a few lighting collections over the past 12-18 months.  We have some models just finishing up and we are now in the process of picking colors.  Recently debuted at Wanted DesignNY in May, the Lacage pendant fixture for Ilex Lighting is entering production very soon.  We have launch photos in chrome and brushed nickel, but there will be some interesting color options for more pop.

Lacage by Ilex LightingHere is a sneak preview of another fixture we are working on, which is an array of thin aluminum blades painted in various powdercoat options.  The array is held together by a center cage which allows many options of blades to be used.  In future models we will be looking at various different materials and finishes.  For now, just a simple paint finish:

Lighting Concept by Mick RiceretoWell, summer is almost over and I feel like it hasn’t started because of all the work we have been getting though the studio.  The reality is though, time flies when busy and having fun alike.  I do look forward to getting our lighting finished and getting the latest news from Europe for next year’s kitchen trends like we do every September.