Vintage Catalog Kitchen Concepts c.1995

I recently passed through a big milestone, having now been in the kitchen and bath arena for more than 20 years.  I went through some old folders and found a large cache of old renderings and interiors projects I forgot I had ever done.  I want to share some of my first catalog photo-shoot concepts with you, from my early days as corporate designer for SieMatic North America.

At the time, SieMatic was looking for projects which specifically addressed American style.  I did a number of concepts and two were selected for photo shoots.  I was still very green in the business and had never worked with pro photographers before.  We selected somebody with experience in NYC, and set about ordering all the material.  Here are the two original concepts, the first being a Tuscan-type idea I called Old World.

Kitchen Rendering

I’m not sure what I was thinking with that palm tree… Newport Beach maybe?  The next concept was Craftsman, which had a decidedly FLLW feel.

Kitchen Rendering

I have always loved breakfast nooks.  Even today I am always trying to explore built-in kitchen seating like this.

After looking at the practicality of building the stage sets, I modified the layouts of the displays.  The Old World display really needed a cooking area, so I turned that arch into a giant old fireplace-type nook.  These next sketches were quicker and were handed directly to the photographer’s team.

Kitchen Concept Rendering

Craftsman lost the nook and gained an adjoining family room.  SieMatic wanted to show the ability to do cabinets outside of the kitchen.

Kitchen Concept Rendering

Dig that face on the TV!  Not sure what type of movie I had in mind for that night’s screening.  What is interesting about these renderings is how I still draw like this, many years later.  I either do pencil setups and carefully render everything (like the first pair) or I lay down some quick ball point pen and marker it up fast.  I still prefer the latter.

And now, the final images.  These were used for a special brochure, of which I designed the actual piece as well.  I had no experience with this type of work and I just winged it.  On the set in NY, there was an entire crew to execute these ideas.  There was a union set designer, and he did pretty nice renderings.  I tried talking to him about his work and the types of opportunities in the business but he shared almost nothing with me.  In fact, everybody was completely secretive about the process and their methodologies.  I found the whole process bizarre, since I represented the client.  I received a print of each image at the end of the project which I think came out too saturated and dark, but this is essentially all I have today.

SieMatic Old World kitchen concept

And the Craftsman:

SieMatic Craftsman kitchen from 1995

I cannot recall the photographer’s name so unfortunately credit is “unknown”.  We did go on to do another set a few years later, called Hudson Valley Collection.  I had very little control over that next project and if I recall, the management was not thrilled about the final product.  We had an art director and things had scaled up much more the second time around.  I learned quite a bit on these projects and went on to head up this work for my projects at Kohler in the early 2000s.  I’ll have to post about those projects as well, if I can find the renderings.

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Carribean Projects

***UPDATE*** – my client got the jobs for both the house and the development.  Congrats Richard!

I’ve been working with a developer’s consultant on some kitchen renderings.  The projects are in the Carribean, with one project being described as “an American kitchen” and one “Balinese”.  First, the “American”.

Tuscan Inspired Kitchen with Louvered Door Cabinets

My clients asked me to stylize the kitchen in an “American” way, which meant, make it “Tuscan”.  The cabinets are SieMatic 2002RF in Magnolia white matte lacquer, but we added some custom louver-door arch-top wall cabinets, with black iron-forged brackets.  An iron-forge candlelight chandelier, plastered walls and rough-hewn floor complete the look.

Next is the Balinese villa.  This was for a resort development.  The villa has two master bedroom suites with a shared family room.  The idea was to make the kitchen look part of the architecture and not stand out or scream “kitchen!”.  We decided to make all the woodwork the same tones and to louver these cabinets as well.

Balinese-style villa with louvered-door kitchen cabinets

I had to do some research on Balinese-style resorts as I am not familiar with this style.  It turns out this is a popular style for luxury getaways.  Not my first choice for a vacation spot, (something more rustic and remote with mountain biking or adventuring, perhaps), but I can imagine hearing and feel the soft humid breeze rustling the palm fronds while I sit at the table sketching the ocean horizon.

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.

More Classic Modern Displays

Since my last post in November (already a month has gone?!), I have been working on more showroom displays in a “Classic Modern” vein.  Here are some renderings; first up is a concept for a store in South America:

Exterior Concept for SieMatic Showroom Studio in South America by Mick Ricereto

Before doing an entire store layout, we decided to render just a concept of the front of the space, to show how warm and inviting we could make the furniture layout from the outside.  When a given space has windows on 2 or 3 sides, it does wonders for publicity but can be a challenge for a kitchen showroom.  Our concept shows how we integrate a “Total Home Design” feel to the entrance; visitors can see a kitchen and a sitting/living space complete with TV, seating, fireplace.  The kitchen and living space are designed in harmony as one, the way home renovations should be considered.  I have been lecturing about this type of renovation and will post on my concept of Total Home Design in the future.

A detail view of the kitchen; notice how the “soft side” of the kitchen is arranged towards the living area (with wood shelves and a wood seating area), and the “hard side” which is water and stain-resistant, faces away from the seating and allows kitchen play and it’s inherent messiness to stay isolated from the soft side.  Finishes are Agate Grey gloss lacquer and Honey Walnut veneer.

The upper cabinets bridge over the way into the rest of the studio.  This bridge connects to the fireplace/entertainment unit and helps tie the design together.

Kitchen display concept for South America; SieMatic Agate Grey Classic Modern

Next up is a concept here in the US.  We have a large showroom which we are considering renovation, but again, want to make the front entrance as inviting as possible.  The same classic modern Agate Grey finish was selected, this time mixed with Graphite lacquer.  This display is more of an “entertainment center” or “wet bar”, with sink, coffee station and refrigerators behind panels.  Again we see a bridge to the seating area.  Across from this setup is the main kitchen, which is a more formally-presented Beaux Arts 2 display.  The idea is to keep the entire space in harmony.

SieMatic Agate Grey Kitchen/Entertainment Center Concept

It has been a busy close-out of the year, with exciting projects all over the globe and some extremely satisfying industrial design projects as well.  I have been considering new 3D software in the new year, if I can make up my mind on what to go with and then commit the necessary time for training.  Looking forward to 2013 being as diverse and exciting as 2012 has been!

Classic Modern Kitchen Displays

We are currently seeing a strong trend to “warm-up” modern luxury kitchens.  Cabinet finishes are trending towards high gloss again, with the addition of gloss metal finishes and a general sparkle effect throughout the entire range of materials.  There are often two strong tones (light and a bold darker tone), which keeps the eye moving.  Dark gloss tones strongly reflect everything around them, which adds spatial dimension.  This new display concept from SieMatic shows how flat cabinet doors can be used to a luxurious, but modern effect:

SieMatic Agate Grey Gloss "Italian Townhouse" Kitchen Concept

Notice the overall grey palette with strong contrast in the marble and gloss black cabinet finish in the middle of the display.  The “top boxes” are the most dominant design element, reaching up to the ceiling.  I love the irregular rhythm of divisions at the top, which were undoubtedly based on some Golden Ratio sizing.  Picking divisions like these are similar to writing a melody; you want to avoid simple monotony, but if you go too far the song will not be catchy or may be jarring.  In the case of these top boxes, it is quirky enough but definitely does not go too far.

For a recent display here in North America, I am working with similar finishes and the need to have a crisp, elegant feel.  Our envelope included a full-height window in the corner, so the use of top boxes made perfect sense.  I recessed the Graphite gloss oven cabinets under the main Agate Grey plane for emphasis.  On the adjacent wall the end is anchored by Graphite panels with vertically-adjustable thin shelves.  Just enough classic elegance is added by using the Beaux Arts mirrored toekick and gloss-nickel tall glass doors.  A sliding stone panel backsplash reveals a walnut shelf for just a touch of third finish (repeated inside of tall glass doors as well).

SieMatic S2 Agate Grey Display by Mick Ricereto

The plan shows the unusual parcel we had to work with.  There is a seating area to the left (out of view) with a wall of panels and shelves, much like the SieMatic example above.

SieMatic S2 Agate Grey Plan by Mick Ricereto

I have been very interested in the trend of irregular open shelves which began two seasons ago in Milan.  However, this latest, more elegant use of closed cabinets and tall elements is really starting to look fresh and exciting.  It is great to have modern and classic blending so closely now, as in the past a client would identify herself as being, say, “country” or “contemporary”.  Those division lines are long gone as we enter a cross-harmony of sturdy historical values and the fashion and freshness of the new.

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/

New Beaux Arts Kitchen Renderings

Another rendering project left my desk today – a wonderful SieMatic Beaux Arts kitchen designed by a close colleague.  The design was complete with plan, elevations and material list and I was asked only to come up with two views that showed the entire space as completely as possible.  The main kitchen has two small “closets” off to each side which lead to a pantry/serving area through pocket doors.  The designers inserted a built-in Miele coffee maker and Miele speed oven into the closets, opposite with shelves.  You can see the small closets in each rendering.  I love how the toekicks and crown moldings project out into the openings and “square-off” each composition.

Main View

SieMatic Beaux Arts Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

Alternate view, showing the window wall.  I like the angle/dynamics of this shot.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

The big eating surface is Silestone Merope.  Note how I show the reflections on the dark, glossy surface.  Reflections are one of the key areas in producing realism with marker renderings.  I have many other tricks to executing quick interior renderings; one day I should write a big tutorial to document it all before my ways become extinct in this age of computer design and illustration.