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.

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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.

 

IMM 2015 – Part Two

In my last post, I was reviewing my visit to IMM 2015 in Cologne, Germany.  We left off looking at living room environments with an eye on interesting black & white patterns and 1970’s influences.  Let’s continue with some Italian makers:

1970's Tropical Salon at IMM 2015

Last week I talked about the ’70s feel and an overall softness to new furnishings around the show.  This was a strong theme with the Italian design leaders, like this comfy environment above.  This room looks like it could have been plucked from a disco-era Milano apartment.  The lush tropical plants definitely have an impact and again, this was a reoccurring theme of the week.  Interestingly, a recent article in the New York Times about reducing clutter and the simplification of our domestic environments noted that Italian interiors tend to be the most busy, typically filled with family heirlooms and objects of decorative curiosity.  Here we are above, owning it.

This dining room is a little more restrained but still lush and inviting.

Lush dining space at IMM 2015

Very bold use of lavender and green tones here; I could not confidently use these colors together.

Gallotti & Radice at IMM 2015

This next brand is Gallotti + Radice.  I loved the feel here; again a retro feel but more subdued and curated.  It’s like my hip Italian grandmother decided to clean up a little before we come over before Sunday brunch.  The grey-blue wall color was so deep I felt like taking a swim.  Mixing of metals and soft furnishings along with expert accessory work kept the eye moving slowly and enjoyably.

Gallotti + Radice at IMM 2015

The grey oak laminate floor is my latest underfoot crush; this look is popping up everywhere but rightfully so – neutral enough to go with everything but a solid base tone that holds it all together.  These shelves are heavily accessorized but the realism of this room is enveloping and I indeed lingered for quite awhile, relaxing in all the seats I could.  Looking back, the lighting was also well done which really helps hold an exhibit together.

Soft colors at IMM 2015

Note the darkness on this velvety-soft little sofa.  The lighting highlights the edges, art and shelves.  Nice touch.  Of particular note at Gallotti + Radice was the artwork and the carefully curated reading materials about.  Altogether, a welcoming place to be.

Moving to a more minimalist vein, we walked over to Poliform.

Poliform Bedroom

I could never be tired of this Poliform bedroom.  The dark walls and floor, the careful use of color and the way the sheets are ruffled is all so perfectly composed.

Relaxing in the Italian Modern Chair

Here my friend Kelly Carpenter looks adorable in a comfortable chair/ottoman combo.  I was pretty jet lagged here so it’s good she is sitting and not me – I might not have got up.

Shelves at Poliform, IMM 2015

Plain floors and textured walls.  The use of simple carpets on dark floors is very popular and as mentioned above, works well in every room.

Poliform Shelving

Tall shelves were everywhere at IMM.  Combined with other elements – low pieces and also with lots of open wall space – keeps the eye entertained and helps demarcate space into human-size chunks.  A company called Capod’opera had a nice display with some remarkable shelf ideas:

Capod'opera at IMM 2015

That tall cluster to the left contained some astounding millwork detail.  A combination of open and closed boxes in a range of blue-grey, composed in the still-fresh random arrangements I have been seeing the past few seasons.  Here is a detail:

High Shelf Element by Capod'opera

We’ll see more interesting shelves in kitchens with the next post.

Although my notes fail to remind me of the makers, I was impressed with the color, accessories and furniture detailing in these vignettes:

IMM 2015

Nice vignettes at IMM 2015

Another nice shelf design, this one by 1920R, who specializes in solid-hewn timber furniture.

1920R Shelving at IMM 2015

I’ll move into the most exciting part of the show – the kitchens – in the next installment.  Before closing today, a peek at the Koelner Doem – the Cathedral.  I have been to Cologne many times and of course I walk over to this masterpiece.  I had done a paper/study on this building in Art History III and visiting it the first time was massively impressive.  Repeated visits do not disappoint.

Interior of Cologne Cathedral

So, with kitchens next I’ll also show some pictures of our side trip to SieMatic’s new flagship showroom in Amsterdam, an masterstroke of environment design integrated into a wonderful old 2 story building near the Museumplein.

IMM – Germany – Part One

I ventured over to Europe for the IMM this year – International Mobile Messe – in Cologne Germany.  As part of a group of SieMatic dealers from North America, we also went to Amsterdam to see the company’s newest flagship showroom.  I’ll share some pictures of that wonderful installation in a future post; for now, here are some images from IMM.

1970's Feel at IMM Cologne 2015

Starting with some living spaces, among the trends I saw were 1970’s influences and softer, feminine colorways.  Although many companies are still working in a minimalist vein, there were lots of eclectic ensembles mixing style, colors, textures, gathered and otherwise complex upholstery treatments and interesting accessories.

Porada Dining Chair

This dining set had a very 1970’s vibe to it, with curved cushions, glass top table and organically-curved woodwork.

The use of bronze-colored metal was very prevalent.  This collection of cocktail tables used faceted surfaces and rich materials in a lovely manner:

IMM 2015

Also in use were gold and brass tones, a trend we have been talking about for the better part of a decade.  Every year more and more brass is seen and it still feels very fresh and underused.

Living room at IMM 2015

Greys are presently the “it” tone in European design.  Although there were many masculine presentations throughout the halls, as mentioned above a feminine touch is frequently felt through accessories, color accents and great fabrics.  Notice the tufting below.

Grey Furniture at IMM 2015

I loved these accessories at Interluebke:

Console at IMM 2015

The ceiling treatment at Cor, a German company, were very inventive.  Each living ensemble had an individual deep ceiling with creative arrays of lighting.

Cor Ceiling at IMM 2015

Another trend was the use of black and white pattern, such as dots, hounds tooth and the like.  Readers who have been at the design game for a few decades may recognize this palette from the late ’70s and into the 1980s.  This pair of chairs below reminds me of the old TGV train interiors, which had black and white striped chairs with a red carpet and window curtains.

1970's Influences at IMM 2015

A black and white laminate treatment:

Black and White Patterns at IMM 2015

This closet environment at Poliform shows a great ziggurat carpet in black and white, as well as other fabulous details in casework and accessory placement.

Ziggurat Carpet

Great wallpaper mixed in with a lovely plush fabric at B&B Italia.

B&B at IMM 2015

The Michel series at B&B – a system I like to specify – against some nice black and white ticking:

Michel from B&B Italia

And for something a bit different, this bohemian tropical luxury look had many admirers.  I forgot to write down the company in my notebook, but this was not a completely isolated look, as many other makers indulged in such comfy-casual presentations.

Deep Island-Style Luxury at IMM 2015

This is a good place to break, so I can pick up on more individual and eclectic furnishings and accessories in the next installment.  And of course, also coming up with be kitchens as well, including all of SieMatic’s new collections.