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.

 

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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.

Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s new film is called The Grand Budapest Hotel and like all his others, it is a quirky, visual treat that will leave you smiling.

Grand Budapest Hotel Exterior Door

The story orbits a fictional East European/Alpine resort hotel in 1932, told in flashback by a visiting English writer in Iron Curtain-era 1968, long gone are the edifice’s best days.  There are many well-known accomplished actors playing exquisite roles, such as Harvey Keitel playing a lifelong convict, Ed Norton as chief Gestapo and Ralph Fiennes as the lead in role Gustave, the hotel’s charming concierge.

Elevator from Grand Budapest Hotel

The plot is something of a caper, as Gustave inherits a valuable painting from a countess he has befriended over the years (played by Tilda Swinton above), with the surviving family more than a little bitter over their mother’s relationship with the concierge.  Hijinks ensue as Gustave enlists his trusty lobby boy Zero to help snatch the painting and hide it from the family’s assassin played by Willem Dafoe.

The story is fantastic, and along with the music and intoxicating production design, this film delivers a great escape on a rainy Spring day.

Grand Budapest Hotel Scene

The production designer is Adam Stockhausen, who puts together a great pastiche of old-World Europe and Cold War-era cues to create something very unique.  There is a big clash between older building shell and some newer detail shots that clearly came from another real-life interior.  Contrast the shot of the 1932 main desk above with the 1968 conceierge’s desk below.

Concierge Desk from Grand Budapest Hotel

The latter shot reminds me of 1960’s hotels in Italian and German spa towns.  It seems incongruous to have both scenes coming from the same building, but the director naturally uses the modern renovations in the 1968 flashback scenes, heightening the “loss of grandeur” feeling of the hotel in it’s fading years.  The 1932 shots are full of people, traditional dress and accompanied by sweeping music.  The 1968 scenes are empty, somber and reflective.

The main interior scenes were shot at the Görlitzer Warenhaus, an Art Deco (Jugendstil) masterpiece department store in Berlin that somehow survived the war intact.

Görlitzer Warenhaus in Berlin

The visual feast is not just in color and escapist scenery, but by using interesting camera angles and framing conversations in creative, non-natural ways as to embrace the fairy tale feeling of adventure.  Anderson uses this type of square-on shot in his film over and over, to create a unique look to the entire piece.  Here Zero and his chocolatier paramour embrace amidst boxes of chocolates.

Mendl's Chocolates and his two lovers

As I mentioned to a friend of mine recently, there seems to be a lot of interest in pre-WWII European life and stories in English-language film and TV.  I feel a romanticism for this “between” era, with the still visible aristocratic history facing the loss-of-innocence early 20th-century, just before the old Europe gets swept away.  Anderson really puts this feeling in perspective with his film, especially by using the Communist-era styling as a contrast to the glory days before the war.  Iron Curtain architecture, product design and culture is something of a trend right now, as more and more people are starting to embrace it’s quirky, “efficient” style.  More than anything, this film made me want to jump on my bicycle and tour Eastern Europe, before all these old buildings get torn down!

A scene from the film showing an elaborate bath from the “original” hotel building.

Bath Scene from Grand Budapest Hotel

And finally, a scene showing the filmmaker during an interview, in the “modern” lobby from 1968.  Truthfully, I love both of these styles so much.  How I love these rich orange and brown 1960s interiors.

1968 Grand Budapest Hotel Lobby

All of the above photos are from Fox Searchlight as part of their online promotion.  Go see the film and escape to a charming world of 20th-Century fantasy.

For more design tidbits and news on my latest projects, please have a look at my Facebook page at MickRDesign

 

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.

1960’s Amerock Hardware Concepts

In the mid-2000s I worked as Senior Design Manager for the kitchen hardware company Amerock.  During my employ, the venerable manufacturer was in the process of closing their old factory in Rockford, IL and sourcing everything from China and Mexico.  I took some pictures of the enormous stamping and diecasting facilities but people were very edgy at the time, with word of closing still not public, so I get less shots than I would have hoped.  I did, however, manage to abscond with some old marketing and industrial design relics.  I wish I got more.

Here is a small sample of catalog kitchen concepts I found in a dusty old folder.  These are probably from the 1960s, photos of the original ink on paper with watercolor.  The 1960s were the golden age of fashion illustration (nee Mad Men), and illustrators were probably not hard to find like they are today.  This first kitchen has that old-world feel that was so prevalent at the time.

Kitchen Concept Watercolor Circa 1960

Some of the concepts were just pen and ink.  These were probably used as fillers and interludes between the main catalog shots.  I love the little housecoat she is wearing.

Kitchen Concept circa 1960

This next was my favorite illustration – very detailed ideas.  Note how in all of these concepts the hardware is integrated into the design of the cabinets.  This was one of the things which frustrated me about working for the company in my era; we only marketed the hardware as objects that would sit in a bin at a big box store and did not try and lead along fashion with adventurous ideas like below.

Kitchen Concept Watercolor Illustration Circa 1960

Amerock was instrumental in piecing together the rec rooms us older kids remember from the 60s and 70s.  Built-ins were much more common back then, and somebody got to pick from fantasies such as this warm hunting lodge complete with happy child and dog.  I really miss the days of built-in seating nooks and fireplaces!

Hardware Concept Drawing Circa 1960

In this particular file were small thumbnails of internal storage organizers.  Amerock at one time was involved in all aspects of cabinet fittings, a position which they did not maintain in my era.  In my practice today, one of the main things I find with kitchen design is the extreme focus homeowners put on internal cabinet organization.  Then again, I focus on European design and interior organization is a strong feature of manufacturers such as SieMatic of Germany.

Kitchen Interior Storage Concept Illustrations Circa 1960

Another watercolor, this one featuring something of an English manor concept.  I love how the illustrator left some of the beams without tone, and only just sketching in the table and chairs to balance out the heavy wood.  Note that all these illustrations were in grey scale and uncredited; I only have photographic reproductions.  I wonder what color might have been used, if any.

Catalog Kitchen Concept Watercolor Circa 1960

Here is the cover of a catalog dated 1952.  A little friendly help from the shop clerk, just like the big box stores of today.

Amerock Hardware Catalog 1952

As a parting shot, here is a pastiche of furniture detailing, probably used as a suggestion that “Amerock can be used anywhere you need storage” or some message of the sort.  The photo was white on black; I did not reverse it.  Cool effect for a catalog.

Cabinet Hardware Illustration circa 1960

I have more interesting Amerock design archives, including original pencil concept drawings from the 50s and 60s.  I’ll take the time to curate and present some old industrial design models too – real full-scale wood carvings of hardware concepts, which are a great contrast to today’s near-instantaneous rapid prototypes.

Winter Walks; the Flaneur and His Camera

I’ve been taking some long walks and hikes the past few days, over our Thanksgiving holiday here in the States.  It has been fairly cold – just above freezing – but the crisp air and stark light invites the wandering eye upon mountain trails and old village scenes.  There is something special about winter with the relatively quiet forests and long views across leafless vistas.  The same with small old towns; I envision inhabitants sipping cocoa by the fire instead of walking about, leaving the old sidewalks to me and the still afternoon alone.  After looking at scores of images I snapped throughout the weekend, I thought to share a few with my readers.

First, an image from Soldier’s Delight, a state park in Maryland.  The land in central MD was once dominated by these large savannahs, joined by small groupings of distorted, stunted Blackjack oak and Virginia pine.  This 1900-acre preserve is all that is left of the natural landscape.  I find beauty in the power line towers, however ironic their path might be through the preserve.

Soldier's Delight, MD

A felled tree in Susquehanna State Park, along the majestic river of the same name.

Felled Tree

At the end of an afternoon, I wandered into the tiny old river town of Port Deposit, Maryland.

Brick Municipal Building Port Deposit Maryland

There are many seemingly-abandoned houses in this little town.  Wedged between the mighty Susquehanna river and a fair mountain to the north, this town consists of nothing more than the river’s edge, one narrow road and an ancient rail corridor.

Abandoned House in Port Deposit Maryland

A forlorn playground.

Abstract Playground

Another lonely old building, right on the curb of the only road in town.

Old Building Facade in Port Deposit, MD

Last light over the Susquehanna river, standing on the rocky escarpment above Port Deposit.

Sunset on the Susquehanna from Port Deposit, MD

In the design world, many projects are coming to their conclusion and I’ll be able to show some finished photos soon.  Also check my Facebook page for small anecdotes and project updates: www.facebook.com/MickRDesign