Pirch Soho NY

On Saturday, May 21 Pirch Soho opened at the corner of Lafayette and Broome in New York City.  On Thursday, I attended the VIP opening party with the rest of the SieMatic and Fitch design teams.  As long-time readers know, I have been designing the kitchen areas for the Pirch stores, and Soho is unquestionably our best.  Here are some impressions of the finished store and the grand opening party.

Blog Subway

The buzz starts on your subway ride to Spring Street.  Pirch has advertisements throughout the subway using celebrities in the decorating and gourmet arenas.

Blog Ext Sign

The building itself is a fine old stone/brick manufacturing/office building, lovingly restored.  The store itself covers 32000 square feet and actually comprises space from at least two buildings, as the grade change and brick arches inside reveal.  The exterior brickwork and paint is exceptional.

Blog Exterior

Approaching the store after 6pm, guests experienced a velvet rope line up the block and tuxedo-clad “security”.  Yes, quite the buzz.

Entry View of Pirch Soho New York

Above is the view upon entry; SieMatic is the very first thing you see, even before the standard Pirch complimentary cafe.  SieMatic was very fortunate to get involved with the store layout early in the design process.  We were able to implement SieMatic’s vision of Timeless Elegance and Journey of Discovery by ensuring lots of space around each kitchen environment and letting the architecture inspire our layouts and material choices.

SieMatic S2 Agate Grey Soho New York

This first display features Gaggenau appliances, with a freezer and refrigerator clad with Black Oak veneer and the balance of the cabinets in Agate Grey matte lacquer.  The open layout and floating shelves are minimal and contribute to the spacious feel.

SieMatic SC40 Umbra Kitchen at Pirch Soho

As one walks throughout the space new display environments reveal themselves around wall blocks and glass screen walls.  As they were setting up for the party, some of the larger areas were dominated by catering and DJ equipment so this shows only a portion of what is on offer.

SieMatic Viking Display at Pirch Soho New York

Appliances on display include Sub Zero, Wolf, Viking, Miele, Gaggenau, Monogram … essentially the best available in the market today.

SieMatic 3003RLM Nutmeg display at Pirch Soho

SieMatic’s new 3003 door features a very thin 6.5mm edge detail in matte Nutmeg lacquer.  We mixed a very subtle aged bronze accent color into this display, as seen on the handles.  Up front we show another 3003 in Graphite lacquer, this one featuring Miele appliances and stainless steel accents.

SieMatic and Miele Display at Pirch Soho New York

Realistic seating areas are included where we could fit them, as this completes the domestic feel but also these areas are where the Pirch and SieMatic customer consultations start as guests receive exceptional and personalized service when shopping at Pirch.

SieMatic 3003RLM display in Pirch Soho New York

The Miele display is tucked into the window on the Broome side of the store, shown behind the stair area below.  This little display may not be much in size but when customers explore each area of the store little surprises like this small kitchen area come to life.

Stairs at Pirch Soho New York

Pirch offers kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living furniture and fixtures.  A view to a bath environment on the second floor shows how the store designers (Fitch of Columbus OH) aimed to show complete environments in the design.  Note – all faucets and bath fillers and shower heads are fully functional for a very realistic experience.

Glog Bathroom

The spaces on the second floor are more intimate due to a lower ceiling and window height.  We responded to this feature by making the kitchen areas smaller and more realistic by building them in with walls and the ceilings properly.  This “Innovation Loft” kitchen takes up the corner of the second floor and is part of an apartment suite.  There are many home-organization and entertainment media screens embedded into the design like in the table and on top of the counter top.

SieMatic Loft Area at Pirch Soho New York

The loft is fairly small so a good view of this area was a bit hard to capture properly.  I didn’t venture upstairs during the party to see how this area was received but I’ll pop-up to NY occasionally to see how the store is doing “in action” and report back.

SieMatic Loft Area at Pirch Soho New York

We used as many new SieMatic features as we could, including these open shelves from the “URBAN” collection of furniture, quite appropriate to New York’s apartment-dwelling clientele.

SieMatic SC10 Graphite Cabinetry at Pirch Soho New York

Marcia Speer of SieMatic poses with me for our obligatory party shot.  Marcia and I work very close on these stores, selecting materials and shaping the overall product offering and interfacing with the Pirch team to get the mix of cabinets, counter tops and appliances just right.  In addition we have a team of bright designers, managers and installation experts at SieMatic who help put the whole thing together – too many to note here but they know who they are and if reading this, please recognize that I cannot take any credit for this work without your invaluable help!

Designer Mick Ricereto and Marcia Speer of SieMatic at the Pirch Soho New York Grand Opening

Next up for Pirch and SieMatic is the exciting addition of Austin TX.  We have almost completed this design and it should be open by early 2017.

I know this latest store is the best for SieMatic and Pirch and I’m sure it will be a smashing success.  When you are in NY please stop by and see the store and let us know how we are doing.

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Working in Sketchup

Like many designers (and also hobbyists), I have been recently enamored to Sketchup.  For those unfamiliar, Sketchup is a free* 3D design software associated with Google (but sold off a few years ago to a company called Trimble).  I have been using SU to work on environment design (as opposed to product design), as it is very quick to get ideas across and quickly develop views to communicate your design intent.

Seating Area Sketch

3 Minute “Napkin Sketches” – Essential to the Design Process

Most will maintain that drawing by hand is an essential function to working out your designs.  Many are familiar with the story of a “napkin sketch”, or a squiggly Frank Gehry concept drawing; there will always be a place for quick sketches.  With tools like free 3D design packages however, detailed hand drawings are becoming too difficult to justify.

SieMatic Beaux Arts 2 Kitchen for Client in Bermuda

Hand Rendering – Charming but time to move on?

Did I say *Free?  The basic program is free but a Pro version allows many more features including the full-featured Layout element which is similar to Paper Space in AutoCAD.  I use Pro as I would like to master the Layout feature and eventually move away from ACAD.

Entry 2

Sketchup – A Quick Design and Communication Tool

As mentioned before in previous posts, I’m well aware the time-consuming method of drawing by hand is charming but inefficient in today’s design world.  Although I can draw quite quickly in a loose fashion (napkin sketches and so on), more and more of my clients are used to seeing photo-realistic renderings and as this becomes the norm pencil and marker sketches just simply will not cut it.  It isn’t the speed and the efficiency alone that renders hand drawings obsolete (sorry), but the fact that realism is so easily obtainable and frankly expected in luxury interior presentations.  Worst is when you need to present a few options in the same space; this is where digital designing such as SU can manage things in a few clicks.

Classic Main Alt

Basic SU Presentation.  No Post-SU rendering needed for quick images such as this.

Although my screen shots show basic line work, you can always export your SU model to a rendering package (also inexpensive) to get into photo realism.  It should be noted there are consultancies – many in Eastern Europe or Asia – who do nothing but make renderings of complex buildings and other important 3D projects.  These “Rendering Farms” have super computers toiling away to make your models look like the CGI from Skywalker Ranch.

After working in SU for a year or two, it became quite clear that although I don’t need CGI-level rendering yet, the quality of materials representation and purchasable interior elements make a big difference to the quality of your design.  Looking at my screen shots above, I’m referring to not only the realism of the stone floor but the appliances, the paintings I placed on the wall (small replications of a friend’s work), the chairs – all the things we called Entourage back in the pens-and-marker days.  With hand drawings you draw these elements yourself, or Photoshop things in later.  With 3D design, you can insert scale models of products into your room.  One of Sketchup’s most powerful features is their database of objects you can download and use in your design; the 3D Warehouse.

SU Warehouse Image

A View to Mick’s 3D Warehouse Page

The 3DW is a user-uploaded repository of free models.  If it has been uploaded to the Warehouse, you can use it.  Some “power users” display entire buildings and iconic models they constructed in the manner of a gallery.  I have seen the Empire State Building, Endeavor Space Shuttle, Tie Fighters … there are some incredible models uploaded to the 3DW.  For me and other furniture designers/manufacturers however, the 3DW presents a unique opportunity to get our products in the hands of architects and specifiers.  By having your commercially-available designs in the 3DW, there is a very good chance of having your pieces specified when the design gets executed in real life.  With this in mind, I have recently been converting my product designs to the SU 3DW format and uploading them for other designers and hobbyists to use.  In the first week I had a couple of hundred downloads of some of my lighting designs.  Who is looking at/using my product models?  This I do not know, as there is not a feedback loop or way to track who is using what.

SU Screenshot

Screen Shot of Sketchup Interface – and the Popular Ilex SPAL24 Space Array Fixture

So far the most popular of my products is the above Space Array fixture, at over a hundred downloads by itself.  Not bad for the first week.  I looked at some iconic furniture pieces by well-known manufacturers and their downloads were in the many thousands.  Surely some of these model usages will result in actual sales, right?

How many of you, dear readers, are using Sketchup and the 3D Warehouse?  Do you use actual products you intend to specify for the final project?  Does the availability of a model on the 3DW increase your chance of using it in real life?

With dozens of lighting fixtures currently in production – not to mention the scores of Amerock hardware designs I did between 2004 and 2009 – I could put a huge amount of product on the 3DW.  I’ll continue to focus on the newer and better designs for now, with the hope of getting a wider audience for my more marketable designs.

If you are a Sketchup user please have a visit to my product gallery and try some of my lighting and hardware in your models.  I’d love to know how they work in your designs.

https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/by/MickRicereto

Recent Projects and Renderings

As the holiday season gets into full swing here in the States, we are wrapping up some private projects, studio designs and renderings for other designers.  Everybody likes hand renderings so I will share some of the more interesting rooms we have been working on.

First up is a difficult kitchen space for our good friends in California.  This is a stunning house, but with an odd shape to the kitchen which took some clever design to get organized.  The designers moved some doors and windows around to get a better spatial flow to the room.  We didn’t do much here, other than render the design.  Cabinets are SieMatic Classic, in Sterling Grey gloss lacquer.

California Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

Next up is a more eclectic design in a very traditional house in South Carolina.  The client wanted something darker and more modern in this – again – difficult-shaped kitchen space.  We helped add some character to the room by designing a banquette and treating the existing brick wall with a Silestone wainscoting to tie the kitchen finishes and the architecture together.  I could completely see myself sipping coffee by the window on a nice spring morning.

Umber Gloss Lacquer Eclectic KitchenThis next project was a rendering for a real estate developer in Florida.  This is a small kitchen, but using the same care we use on our big design projects.  Where prospective home buyers would normally expect a basic digital rendering of the space, we like to think this accessorized and inviting view gives a better impression of the builder’s product.

Small Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

This next project are renderings for a villa in Hawaii.  The designers were looking to update the traditional Japanese-style interior to a more minimalist and clean look, while retaining the incredible inside-outside living that is unique to this climate.  First is the great room, with a view to the dining table and sitting area.  The kitchen is behind the camera in this view.

Hawaii Resort Interior RenderingThe floor here is slate, which continues inside and out seamlessly.  The sliding doors are shown here pocketed; there is almost no divider between the outdoors and in.  The next view is the bathroom, which has an open arrangement to allow a great view from the bathtub.

Hawaii Resort Bathroom RenderingThe bedroom has a similar set of sliding doors to the outside.  The piece on the wall is a Donald Judd-style wall sculpture.

Hawaii Resort Bedroom Rendering by Mick RiceretoBack to kitchens, here is our third prize winning entry to the Blanco Dream Kitchen contest from this past October.  The rules required the fitting of a Blanco sink and faucet (which we use extensively in most of our projects), but otherwise the design and style of one’s entry was completely open for creativity.  Our design is a very modern and modest kitchen using grey woods, stainless steel and for the room’s centerpiece, a black Corian custom angled island.  Our Ilex Space Array chandelier in black is above the sink/eating area, and this finish ties in to the blackened oak tall cabinets/room divider to the right.

Modern Kitchen Concept by Mick RiceretoI like how our Blanco project resembles the Hawaii resort above.  The lifestyle is not dissimilar, although our space is in a North American urban area; the desire to bring the outdoors in is an almost universal request when designing living spaces today.

The Blanco contest results can be seen in this issue of Blanco’s online magazine Here

The next project is a rendering for our colleagues in California, a kitchen for an industry executive.  We worked carefully on the proportions of these upper cabinets as the ceiling is a bit low and we didn’t want to misrepresent the design by making it appear taller than it actually is.  Hand rendering of course should be considered an “artist’s impression”, but that doesn’t mean we should not strive for accuracy in the design.

SieMatic Beaux Arts Class Kitchen Rendering by Mick RiceretoThis last project was done earlier in the autumn; a nice big traditional kitchen for our friends again in South Carolina.  This is an expertly-tailored space with some very nice door details.  Again, another kitchen with a lot of openings and a tricky space to design but I think the room comes together with an exquisite use of vertical proportions and a consistent horizontal datum.

SieMatic Classic Beaux Arts Kitchen Rendering by Mick Ricereto

In addition to these residential renderings we have some private kitchens and as usual, kitchen studio projects and other retail spaces on our boards.  2015 has been a busy year here in our new Philadelphia studio.  We look forward to some relaxation time this holiday season and continued growth for 2016.  Thanks for visiting the blog and please also see our Facebook page Here for photos, travel impressions and general goings-on at Mick Ricereto Interior + Product Design.

 

 

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.

 

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.