New Projects 2014 – Pirch Chicago

Just on the back of SieMatic’s New York grand opening, we made a trip to Chicago for the new kitchen/bath/outdoor fixture retailer Pirch’s opening party.  Since Mick was involved with SieMatic’s display designs in this new groundbreaking store, we were eager to make the trip and get the brand’s full experience.

Pirch Oakbrook Exterior

Formerly called Fixtures Living, Pirch – http://www.thepirch.com/ – is a relatively new store concept based in California.  As shown above, one enters the Oakbrook Center store up an escalator from the upscale outdoor mall.  Upstairs is a very large department store-like interior of about 30,000 square feet.  Pirch’s bright interior concept opens eyes to every visitor who makes the visit.

Entry at Pirch Oakbrook Center Chicago

Pirch, now with 4 locations (Glendale, San Diego and Costa Mesa precede Chicago), are doing things a little differently than other home-product stores.  First thing entering the huge foyer is Bliss Cafe, a with-compliments espresso bar captained by happy baristas ready to make you feel at home.  Happiness is one of the brand’s core values; their tagline is Live Joyfully.

Bliss Cafe at Pirch Chicago

Little messages and mottoes adorn the store, reminding you that life is short; think positively and renovate your home smartly.  It’s an infectious environment and the bright interior keeps your eye moving.  Large bathroom environments are to the right, and our kitchen displays to the left.  Behind the cafe is the Boulevard, which leads to more experiences which I will share below.  First, our kitchen area.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Display at Pirch Chicago

There are 16 (!) kitchen displays.  Each display represents a full appliance package from some of the best brands; Sub Zero/Wolf, Miele and Gaggenau as well as popular brands such as Kitchen Aid and Jenn Air.  Pirch’s store designers gave us the general footprint and a display concept and we set about making each display a SieMatic original.

SieMatic Lotus White at Pirch Chicago

Each display has an integrated styling concept, and all of the accessories are for sale.  Each display concept is fundamentally identical at each location as well, making future changes more simple.

Kitchen Display Area at Pirch Chicago

The most amazing thing is how everything works; the faucets are live, the vent fans turn on, the ovens and microwaves cycle through their menus, the refrigerators are quietly humming along.  The bathroom area is the same too – you turn a faucet anywhere in the store and you can wash your hands.

Miele and SieMatic Display

SieMatic Kitchen Display at Pirch Chicago

SieMatic Display at Pirch Chicago

We have been working closely with Pirch to make each environment as distinctive as we can, with seating areas and real layouts wherever possible.  For consistency however, Pirch keeps the same high ceiling clouds and even lighting throughout the space, as opposed to building more architectural environments for each individual kitchen.  With so many displays, this makes some sense as it is easy to circulate and find something that catches your eye.  As we move ahead with future stores there will be more Total Home-type environments with seating areas and perhaps more enclosed residential-scale settings.

Interior View of Pirch Chicago

Clients and their designers can wander the space with home plans and engage with Pirch or SieMatic kitchen specialists whenever they need help.  Furthermore, guests can reserve a “dream room” for a little more privacy to stretch out, complete with media and enough room to have lunch.  Speaking of lunch, Pirch can feed you a proper meal as well.  Part of the idea behind the working appliances, in-house Bridget’s is a full working restaurant kitchen and guests can get a feel for how ovens and cooktops work while digging in to the local chef’s culinary efforts.

Dream Room at Pirch Chicago

Further back down the Boulevard is the Sanctuary, an enclosed spa-like bath area where guests can privately, on appointment actually disrobe and try out the equipment.  In addition is a fully-functioning outdoor grill and seating environment, as well as laundry room concepts (also equipped by SieMatic).

Outdoor Area at Pirch Chicago

At the back, there are the expected rows of appliances on display too.  Although everything is very upscale and of a high-level of presentation, Pirch guarantees their pricing can match any local appliance distributor.  This fixtures-shopping experience is really like no other.

Appliance Area at Pirch Chicago

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Pirch are the locations.  The first picture above, of the exterior, shows how integrated the store is on the outdoor mall.  The adjacent shop is Lululemon.  The usual upscale retail brands are all around, including decent dining as well.  This is not a big box store sitting in a sea of parked cars; Pirch is integrated into the American luxury mall environment in a very unexpected way.  As I understand, this is exactly their strategy – not only to serve need-based home renovators, but to entice visitors with a want-based showroom experience.  They are bringing luxury kitchens and baths right to the average shopper.

After many hours of talking with guests and enjoying the day, our SieMatic group posed for a picture.  From left; Mick, Rainer Mueller, Hans Henkes and Marcia Speer of SieMatic.

SieMatic Management at Pirch Chicago

It was a long day of helping out with the SieMatic team and making sure our displays looked their best.  I forgot to get pictures of the bath area, but it is very impressive with all the brands you could expect.

I highly recommend visiting Pirch if you are nearby.  There are 2 more stores presently under construction – Dallas and Atlanta.  Many more markets are planned for the future – Pirch is an exciting company on the rise.  I am very proud to be part of the project, and very privileged to work with SieMatic on this wondrous retail adventure.  Best of luck to Pirch in Chicago.

SieMatic on the web: SieMatic

Be sure to also visit Mick’s Facebook page for news and things which catch the designer’s eye: https://www.facebook.com/MickRDesign

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New Projects 2014 – SieMatic New York

Among our recently completed interior design projects, SieMatic New York is the highly-anticipated and most carefully detailed of Mick’s latest projects.  SieMatic’s North American flagship showroom is intended to be the prototype for a new generation of kitchen studios, with carefully and authentically-detailed living environments in place of yesterday’s small kitchen vignettes.  With over a year in the planning and making, the project is a collaboration between Mick Ricereto, Chicago’s Mick DeGiulio and Andre Backemaier, manager of SieMatic’s Architecture and Design department.  This global team worked together to develop SieMatic’s new studio and planning philosophy called Timeless Elegance.

SieMatic New York Entry

New York is one of SieMatic’s most important international studios, with the A&D building location going back 25 years with the brand.  Mick Ricereto has been involved in several renovations over the years, with this newest design a complete departure from previous designs.  The most important change was to open up the windows to the relatively new Bloomberg Building view, and breaking up the previous small displays into two living environments.

The first room is a complete Beaux Arts apartment, with kitchen, bar, seating and dining areas, unified by a subtle coffer ceiling.  The image above shows the entertainment bar upon entry.  Below, the full view of the apartment as the visitor enters the main space.

SieMatic New York Beaux Arts Apartment

The floor is a grey rustic French oak from Paris Ceramics.  The furniture is from B&B Italia, and all the lighting in the showroom is LED, including the candelabra-base bulbs in the chandeliers.  One source of lighting ensures a true and even color-cast throughout the showroom, which is important when so much natural light is available during the day.

SieMatic New York Beaux Arts Dining Room

Mick put great care into the styling and accessorizing, to make for a realistic feel.  The idea is to bring a little individual character, just like a client’s home.  Many individual antiques and salvage pieces were sourced for a personal feel.

SieMatic New York Accessories

SieMatic’s Timeless Elegance brings the highest level of luxury to clean, modern design.  With glossy wood and lacquer, copious metal finishes and deep stained wood furnishings, this rich palette adds a deep dimension to the rigorous and restrained layouts.

SieMatic New York Beaux Arts Kitchen

The Beaux Arts kitchen itself is a tour de force of materials and finishes.  The series is designed by Chicago’s Mick Degiulio, and features his classic ideas such as sliding stone backsplash cabinet panels, polished toekicks and tall polished nickel glass cabinets.  In the detail below, the combination brushed/polished pullout drawers bring an extra dimension to a sturdy cooking area.

SieMatic New York Beaux Arts Cabinet Detail

Below shows a styling vignette from the long Ebony Walnut wall facing the Bloomberg Building.  Old paperbacks, vintage models, fantastic old wood and vintage spools of yarn bring a touch of eclecticism to the space.

SieMatic New York Details

Beyond the large Maxalto table by B&B, the Beaux Arts apartment transitions into the second space, a pure expression in Lotus White S2 cabinets.  The floor finish and ceiling remain the same though the transition knuckle, drawing the visitors into the space.

SieMatic New York Dining Area

The S2 apartment is joined by the staff workspace, behind glass panels and a finish-matching Ebony Walnut reception counter.  Apartment 2 is smaller than the Beaux Arts, but the unifying finishes and visual expansion of the glass walls bring the space together and make it feel like one.

SieMatic New York Apartment 2

The S2 Lotus White kitchen is compact but expresses the architecture of the building by allowing the windows to “breathe” around the cabinets and let the city in as part of the room.  Appliances are the new Miele white collection, to further pull the purity of the small space together.

SieMatic New York S2 Kitchen

The palette is tone-on-tone, with the counter also in white; SieMatic’s 1cm thin quartz called Supreme White.  Thin counters show a tailored look to otherwise pure expanses of white.  The proportions, details and joints are where the magic is when designing pure, modern compositions.  This unity of line and finishes helps bring the space together and allows the architecture and space arrangement to standout and not feel cluttered.  Unexpected bursts of color and shape are introduced in the accessories, such as these vintage spools of yarn.

SieMatic New York Styling

An adjacent Honey Walnut shelving area is expressed as open cubes, allowing deep shadows and also the space for a small TV.  More vintage items are shown, such as old industrial bakery whisks and large electrical insulators.

SieMatic New York Walnut Shelving

The final space joins Apartment 2; the Butler’s Pantry.  Notched into a special little area with another window facing the building hallway, this authentically-scaled treasure box is designed to feel as if it was already there, and we designed the apartment around this architectural gem.  The original Beaux Arts series of cabinets are shown in Magnolia White, augmented by a walnut counter and framed antique mirror back splash and crystal semi-flush ceiling lights.

SieMatic New York Butler's Pantry

The opening party was hosted by Veranda Magazine and seemingly hundreds of guests poured into the space to help celebrate the opening.  SieMatic’s owner Mr. Ulrich Siekmann made the trip across the Atlantic and shared the ribbon cutting with SieMatic USA’s Hans Henkes.

We are very proud to be a part of the project and look forward to bringing SieMatic’s Timeless Elegance to cities all across North America.  Other future premier showrooms are planned for London and Amsterdam – look for Mick’s reports on these locations later in the year.

Another Magazine Cover – Canadian Wood Industry

Another of my renderings was used for a magazine cover.  This time it was the October edition of Canadian Wood Industry, who used my Schindler Lovell Beach House concept in an artistic manner, for an article about working with Interior Designers.

Wood Industry Cover Rendering

My Lovell Beach house concept can be seen here: https://mickricereto.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/a-kitchen-proposal-for-schindlers-lovell-beach-house/

It has been a busy year, with more renderings and great projects on my desk right now.  More updates soon, as projects develop.

New Showroom – Rao Studio in Atlanta, GA

I’m very excited about our recently completed project, Rao Studio in Atlanta, GA.  Rao Studio is the practice of noted kitchen designer Matthew Rao, a highly published designer noted for his work with SieMatic in the southeast.  I have worked with Matthew over many years and was honored and delighted to help design their new studio in Midtown-area Atlanta.  The opening party is scheduled for October 11.

This flyer is a teaser for the new space.  I had done a rendering of the front display and it alternates with a photo of the completed space.  Congratulations Rao Studio, and best of luck.  I look forward to meeting old and new faces alike at the opening party.

GIF Image of Rao StudioRao Studio on the web: http://www.raodesignstudio.com/

Lighting Project – “The Ice Cube” Sconce

I’ve been quiet on the product design side of business lately, at least when it comes to posting news.  But I have some very rewarding projects going, and one that just came to full fruition: the “Ice Cube” sconce, for Norwell Lighting.

I’ve done industrial design work for Norwell over the years – a great company based in New England that serves the architectural lighting community.  See their website here: http://www.norwellinc.com/  The Kathryn series of bath hardware and lighting is one of my highlights.  Last summer we worked on some concepts for new sconces and some outdoor too, and it looks like the “Ice Cube” bath sconce made the cut.  The object was to use a “standard”, popular shade; a square glass ice cube look.  Here are some concept renderings of the idea, working out the projection arm options and the overall feel.

Concept Sketch 1

This was the final concept sketch that I settled on; “flat bar no cups”:

Ice Cube - Icereto - Bath Lighting Concept for Norwell Lighting

There is a note on the single sconce about the projection arm.  I thought later to simplify the design, but the final worked out as sketched in the end.  So – how did the final product work out?  Here are pages from the new Norwell catalog.

Image

Image

The name was a surprise – look at that – they dropped the first letter of my last name, the R, to get the word “Ice” – it’s awesome!  So, what is the proper pronunciation?  If we are feeling very Italian, it should be said “EEch-a-retto”.  It’s obviously close to my name, which would be said “Reech-a-retto”.  I have a feeling most will say “Ice-a-retto”, which is totally fine.  I love this!  Looking forward to more Norwell projects, and hopefully posting some of my other industrial design projects soon.

Recent Renderings

I’ve had an uptick of rendering jobs lately.  I enjoy laying out other designer’s jobs and it is relaxing doing the color work, but doing renderings of my own designs is more satisfying and faster.  When I am working on an outside project, it’s important for me to know all the finishes that are to be depicted, unless they want me to improvise a little.

Hand Drawn Marker Rendering of Kitchen, by Mick Ricereto

The kitchen above, done for a colleague in New England, came with a very detailed set of elevations and instructions for finishes; this makes the job go very smooth.  I like the floor selection – an ashlar pattern of concrete pavers – with the dark-stained oak veneer.

Hand Drawn Marker Rendering of Kitchen, by Mick Ricereto

The above project is another client request, again with good instruction.  In order for these renderings to remain effective and useful in my practice, it is important to keep them fast and remain a little “sketchy” so they do not need to compete with photorealistic renderings.

Hand Drawn Marker Rendering of Kitchen, by Mick Ricereto

It’s not by chance that I have been building a reputation for color marker renderings.  Since college, I have preferred quick sketches of interior space (or product designs) to convey a sense of proportion and spatial relationships of solids and voids.  Over the years I have honed my sense of balance so I don’t need any measuring or assistance other than a straight edge to execute the composition.  One needs to be careful however; it’s easy to “trick” your clients with inaccurate proportions.  The most difficult element I see students struggle with is depth in perspective sketching.  One hint – its always less than you think it should be.  Always better to make the room more truncated in depth than to over exaggerate it with the drawing.

Hand Drawn Marker Rendering of Kitchen, by Mick Ricereto

The above project was still in development.  My colleague wanted a quick drawing to show some design options – color was not important yet as we were working out the design.  I showed tones only to help create the sense of space.  Sketching the design really helps resolve things during development; since you have to draw something for a surface, then you have to decide what it is going to be.  Its all too easy to click on a shade or a hatching bitmap in a computer rendering, without needing to give much thought.  Also, you can just control-Z if it does not come out well.  With hand renderings, you choose patterns and colors very carefully.

Hand Drawn Rendering of a house in Mount Airy, Philadelphia, by Mick Ricereto

When rendering something from the imagination (such as a kitchen design or product that does not exist yet), you have a certain freedom to proportion.  To maintain a proper sense of balance, I sometimes work from life or photographs and practice a little stylization.  This Mt. Airy Philadelphia house was drawn for a colleague that wanted to remember his time spent at the house.  It would have been easy for him to frame a photo of the house, but I’m sure my little drawing will be a sense of pride for him as he shows friends where he stayed when living in Philly, for many years to come.

 

Nakashima Studio Tour

Last weekend I took a trip up to Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA, a wonderful mountain valley about 1 hour north of Philadelphia.  I lived in the area years ago, and my memories of the fall colors and smell of wood fireplaces couldn’t hold me back any longer.  On my list for this visit: a tour of George Nakashima’s studios in the wooded hills above New Hope.

George Nakashima was a Japanese-American architect and furniture maker.  Nakashima is known for his extreme sensitivity to the nature of wood and combining modernist sensibility with handmade craft.  A quick image search will introduce you to Nakashima’s work if you are not familiar.  Since the artist’s passing away in the late 20th century, his son and daughter have continued the legacy of his studio by continuing to produce popular pieces and commissioning new designs.  The studios are open for self-guided tours on Saturday afternoons; information on the studio can be found on their website – http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/

Below are impressions of my visit.

George Nakashima Studio Entrance

This is an entrance to one of the public studio buildings.  Nakashima was trained as an architect, but decided after some time to concentrate on furniture and working with his hands.  He did design all the buildings on the site, which show a wonderful synthesis of Japanese tradition, mid-century modernist sensibility and a complete harmony with nature.  Sited on a south-facing hill, the late autumn sun brought a golden hue into the wooded valley.

George Nakashima Conoid Roof Structure

The “Conoid Studio” is the most modern structure.  The roof is a gently-folded concrete envelope which opens out onto the valley.

George Nakashima Conoid Building

The site contains a lovely assortment of native trees and shrubs with a carefully-selected assortment of feature trees such as dawn redwood and Japanese maple.  The buildings are carefully sited to preserve views of nature, with the more utilitarian buildings closer to the road at the top of the hill.  Of particular note were the clever entrances; off to one side with special attention to the landscape.

Concrete bridge at George Nakashima estate

A view east towards the main building:

Entrance to the main building, George Nakashima estate.

View to the main showroom building from the south:

View of the Studio Building, Nakashima estate.

During my visit Nakashima’s son and daughter discussed commissions with several parties in the showroom and Conoid studio.  I tried out several of the chairs and admired all the wonderful interior details.  The buildings themselves were fascinating, such as this low sill/bench in the studio building’s entrance.

Built-in bench, entrance to George Nakashima studio building.

This cabinet door detail caught my eye:Cabinet face by George Nakashima

The best part of the tour was the ability to enter the chair-making studio – a tiny little building with a worn old bench facing the valley through a giant picture window.

Late autumn sun coming into George Nakashima's chair workshop.

The old woodworking tools created a fantastic sculptural relief in the late autumn sun.

George Nakashima's woodworking tools.

The sweet smell of sawdust and the wonderful quality of light made this workshop room hard to leave.

George Nakashima's tools.

For anybody interested in Nakashima’s work or for those interested in hand-crafted furniture in general, a visit to the estate is a must-see.  It is an enchanting property, and I came away very inspired to return to my studio full of ideas.  Look for more posts about my trip to Lambertville/New Hope, including my trip to a museum of pre-industrial artifacts and the oldest continually-open pizza parlor in the country.