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.

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.

SieMatic Montreal Opening Party

I attended the SieMatic Montreal opening party last night, enjoying cocktails and fantastic hor d’oeuvres with 150 guests in the sparkling new installation.  I started working with showroom manager Jean-Martin Lapointe on the design last summer, so it was great to see the space come alive, exactly as we intended.

The studio is part of the large kitchen gadget/commercial supplier shop Doyon Cuisine, in the upscale Montreal suburb of Brossard.  To enter the space, one goes through the main kitchen store and up the stairs to SieMatic.  We clad the stair area with a walnut laminate to visually connect the SieMatic areas upstairs.  Here SieMatic USA principal management Marcia Speer and Hans Henkes pose on the red carpet.

Marcia Speer and Hans Henkes of SieMaticWhen reaching the top of the stairs, we needed to show visitors the way to the studio (to the left at top of stairs.  We added a walnut laminate-clad desk and curved wall at the top of the mezzanine and used logos to denote the way to the main showroom.  This area is the perfect buffet and bar area for events.

Main Reception of SieMatic MontrealThe ceiling of the Doyon Cuisine space was a lovely terracotta color, and walls apple green.  Jean-Martin and I selected all new finishes for the building and carefully orchestrated the entrance sequence, as the studio itself passes by the commercial demonstration kitchen before entering the displays.  Upon entry, one walks into a “full living environment”-style display – showing a living space with a large kitchen display.

Studio entry view of SieMatic MontrealLiving Space at SieMatic Montreal

The first kitchen display is an SE4004 Stone Beech Veneer.  This display bridges the living space with Floating Spaces shelving to integrate a flexible storage element which can be more decorative or more functional, depending on planning and configuration.

Full View of Stone Beech display at SieMatic Montreal

SieMatic Montreal Stone Beech Display

SE4004 Display

Note the ceiling “cloud” above to bring the scale down and slightly mask the commercial corrugated/exposed ceiling.  The flooring throughout is a dark medium-plank veneer.  Mick enjoying a drink with guests and SieMatic management/colleagues at the cantilevered Smoked Oak countertop.Mick with Guests

The display around the corner is an S2-L Truffle Grey Gloss Lacquer model with black glass touch-latch cabinets embedded in the wall to the right.  The vertical channel tall cabinets hide a column-style Gaggenau refrigerator.

S2 Display at SieMatic MontrealAt the center of the showroom is a Beaux Arts 2.0 display, in the “Sophia Loren” style.  For more on this style of display search for “Beaux Arts” or “Sophia Loren” here on my blog.

SieMatic Montreal "Sophia Loren" Beaux Arts DisplayThe last display is an SC10 in Titan Pine and Sterling Grey laminate.  This is a Smart Design offering from SieMatic, which is a great look at a popular price-point.  We show Materials system shelves along with a standard L-shape design.

SieMatic Montreal SC10 Display SieMatic Montreal SC10 Display

Note the window opening into the Beaux Arts display.  Whenever I can, planning visual cues into other areas is essential to keeping a sense of circulation and discovery in a showroom layout.  Especially in this case, as this SC10 display is a “dead end” which leads only to offices at the back.  A detail of the backsplash area, showing SieMatic LP1 lighting and award-winning OnWall accessory system:Tile Detail of SieMatic Montreal SC10 Display

Here is a view of the samples library/consultation room, just adjacent to the studio entrance and across from the reception area.

Samples and Consultation Room at SieMatic Montreal

SieMatic Montreal is associated with Doyon Cuisine and Julien, the fantastic stainless fixtures company.  Here, Jean-Martin Lapointe addresses the guests along with Hans Henkes and Julien CEO Gilles St-Pierre.

Manager Jean-Martin Lapointe introduces the new SieMatic Montreal kitchen design studio

A parting shot – old friends Keith and Raymond Binns (SieMatic resellers in Toronto) with SieMatic management.

Raymond Binns, Hans Henkes, Marcia Speer and Keith Binns

I am very happy with the final presentation.  Jean-Martin Lapointe did a fantastic job at executing the design, and this business is surely going to do quite well here in Montreal.  As always, I wish I had more time to spend in the city, but I have pledged to come back in the summer or fall – with my bicycles and sense of weekend adventure – and visit again.

 

 

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.

Matthew Rao Studio – Opening Party

Last week I attended the opening events for the Matthew Rao Studio in Atlanta, a kitchen design studio that I designed earlier in the year.  The space really came together, with great work by everybody involved.  A view of the exterior before the event:

Exterior View of Rao Studio

In the morning Matthew and Haskell Harris from Garden & Gun magazine conducted a discussion on the history of the modern kitchen.  Afterwards we were treated to a lovely, southern-style lunch.  A view of the informal discussion in the SieMatic Beaux Arts display:

Kitchen Discussion with Matthew Rao and Haskell Harris

Some views of the space courtesy Cablik Enterprises (the General Contractor) and Charles Quade Photography:

Front Display - SieMatic S2Samples and Presentation Desk at Rao Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of the Beaux Arts display:

Beaux Arts Display at Rao Studio

The festivities continued in the evening with a cocktail party.  I had a great time catching up with some old friends from the industry.  Here is myself with David Sabo the installer and industry stalwart and old friend Phil Shepherd.

Guests at Rao Studio Opening Party

The entire showroom is wired and plumbed for full functionality.  The following morning I dropped back in for some breakfast cooked with the Gaggenau tappan yaki and steam oven.  Here Jane, Cindy and Matthew prepare a delicious frittata in the Beaux Arts kitchen at the rear of the space.

Breakfast at Rao Studio

Matthew’s space is located in Midtown Atlanta, one block off Peachtree in the center of everything.  In the morning before the events I took a quick run in Piedmont Park, and marveled at the lovely bungalow-style homes just a couple blocks from the new high-rise hotels and office towers.  Before heading back to the airport I took a quick walk over to the new Museum of Design Atlanta and snapped a shot of the High Museum of Art, a rigorous design by Richard Meier.  In all, it was a lovely two days and I wish the best of luck to Matthew and the staff in the new space.

View of the High Museum in Atlanta