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.

New Projects 2014 – SieMatic Charleston

It’s been 5 years since we completed the original installation for SieMatic Charleston.  That showroom won us the Kitchen & Bath Business magazine Showroom of the Year award for 2009 (Link to KB&B Article).  However five years is a long time in the luxury furniture industry, and innovators should be prepared to change out a display every 1-2 years to maintain authority over trends in materials and design.  SieMatic NYC and Charleston are good illustrations of this thinking.

The Charleston design team was fortunate to have sold off some old displays just as new product was coming out of Germany, so we were able to do the latest here.  This first display, in the front window, is very modern in layout with a long rectangular island in Agate grey lacquer and natural walnut.

SieMatic Agate Grey Display

The geometry is as simple as possible, with as little clutter we could devise.  The hood is a ceiling mounted unit and cooktop a flush-mounted induction, to keep the furniture sleek and less “kitcheny”.  The long countertops are in a ceramic material which replicates basalt, but to a length of over 300cm.  There is really no reason to consider natural stone in place of this incredibly strong, impervious and eco-friendly material.  From arm’s distance you cannot tell this is a manufactured material.  This countertop is a SieMatic exclusive, and comes in several colors and finishes.

Note how the pullout cabinets have no hardware, and the faces go to the floor.  The cabinets open with electronic “touch latches”, a hugely popular trend with European kitchen design today.

This display replaced another long island layout, but retained the fireplace area towards the front window.  We softened the look by removing the TV and taking the bookmatched/sequenced walnut panels up to 9 feet.  The glossy panels on the backsplash are SieMatic Graphite lacquer.

The original Beaux Arts display remains in the sister window slot.  With this look very appropriate to the South and with the recessed white panel design being timeless as ever, there is no need to change this display any time soon.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Display

We installed a new “Sophia Loren” Beaux Arts Lotus White Gloss kitchen 2 years ago, and it remains as is.  It is interesting to see how the Beaux Arts feel has changed over the past few years, with just these two displays in one location showing the depth of range one “doorstyle” can go.  It is very much about overall feel and appointments, and not the design of the cabinet door.

Beaux Arts 2.0 Sophia Loren

We also changed a smaller display in the back, which represents an “apartment kitchen”.  Although we are starting to move away from doing smaller displays like this, it is good to show SieMatic can meet smaller budgets and still deliver world-class function and style.  This display is in laminate and the price of such a design is more accessible than many would surmise.  Such is a benefit of modular German cabinetry, having all the interior quality and function but choose laminate for the finish and be practical and budget-minded at once.

SieMatic SC10 laminate Floating Spaces display

The shelving system is called Floating Spaces, and is completely adjustable in height.  Although we carefully composed the standard widths and shelf placement, it is designed to be flexible.  The seating is a small banquette, as large as space would allow.  This is composed simply of laminate panel material.  I love banquettes and in fact, if I had one at home I would be sitting in it typing this right now.

The last display also contains some Floating Spaces, integrated into a series called S2.  This is SieMatic’s “channel” series, of handle-less cabinets.  SieMatic invented the handle-free design of kitchen cabinets in 1960, and this look is exceptionally popular today.

SieMatic Sterling grey gloss laminate display

The finishes are Titan oak (a limed quartersawn veneer) and Sterling grey “similacque” laminate.  This gloss laminate is so flat and distortion-free, it looks just like lacquer.  I understand it is coated with a clear gloss so in fact it is really a paint finish on top of laminate, and the clarity is just simply remarkable.  Combined with the “Zero” edge of the door, there really isn’t anything else that compares.

We are very happy with this display but I should remark how I miss the design we replaced, if only because of the Photoshop work I had to do documenting it.  The old display in Terra Brown gloss lacquer, from my main website at mickdesign.com :

Old SieMatic display at Charleston

At the time of installation, I had only a 35mm wide lens and this display was very wide, requiring me to do a panoramic stitch-type edit.  This was before easy stitch-type apps were available, where you just follow directions on the screen … so I had to take several manual pans and edit them later.  It was grueling.  So, in support of manual craftsmanship, this old display photo shall take one last victory lap around the internet in honor of midnight photo edit-efforts around the world.

As always, working with SieMatic is a great honor and I’m looking forward to the next round of showrooms this year and beyond.  Have a look at my Facebook page for more news and links to exciting design projects.

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

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.