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.

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Vintage Catalog Kitchen Concepts c.1995

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

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

Kitchen Rendering

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

Kitchen Rendering

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

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

Kitchen Concept Rendering

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

Kitchen Concept Rendering

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

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

SieMatic Old World kitchen concept

And the Craftsman:

SieMatic Craftsman kitchen from 1995

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

Spring in New York: ICFF 2013

The month of May in New York; that means time for design week and the ICFF Show – the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.  I have been many times over the past years but skipped a few recent ones, so it was time to go back.  My focus this year was to work with a New York client in midtown, then spend the rest of the weekend looking at lighting and furniture for various projects.

The first day in NY it was sunny and beautiful.  I was indoors most of the day in meetings but walking around a corner on the way to my hotel – yes, an old, familiar sight:

View of Empire StateThe sun was catching the Empire State Building in such a way to make it sparkle, something I never noticed before.  It always seemed so heavy, so concrete.  Nice to see something familiar in a different way.

Incidentally, I was not the only “tourist” taking this picture at this point.  So that made me feel good about stopping, pulling out my little Canon S100 and setting up the shot.

The ICFF show is based at the Javits Center, west of midtown.  It is seemingly out of the way but a short walk from the A C and E (blue) subway and Penn Station actually makes it really convenient.  I was setup at a nice little hotel with a client of mine and all set to explore the show and all the “outside events”, showroom openings, parties and happenings.

Once at the show it was hard to miss any lighting innovations – great stuff was seen in every aisle.  What is nice about the show is how local and small international makers/brands attend the show, so you discover unusual and one-off pieces as well as major brands.  Here are some highlights of lighting:

Iacoli and McAllister Lighting Pelle Lighting Mooii Lighting Lighting ICFF2013

From top left, Rough and Smooth pendants by Tom Dixon, Iacoli & McAllister pendants to the top right, and some very nice clear globe chandeliers by Pelle to the right.  Different arrays of glass and paper shades in carefully-draped arrangements were a strong trend throughout the show.

Below to the right is Mooii, which always looks good.  There were larger brands present, with companies such as Tango showing some very nice new concepts including some outdoor.

A company called Graypants had some paper/cardboard/something pendants which were nicely crafted.

Graypants LightingThere were also some concepts with shades made from rapid prototyping, such as lacy SLS shades in “natural” white.  Open-ness and interesting screen materials were dominant.

There was a “maker faire” feel to the show as well, with an area set up for rapid prototyping and other sorts of fabrication including a seminar area to learn about maker technology.  There were at least two 3D printer companies on display and there was also a company called US Trumpf who rolled out enormous laser-cutting machines and some fabrication jigs, making Tom Dixon “death star” lighting pendants right there on the show floor.  It was pretty cool to see the process, as it was ultra-clean and quiet without the heavy presses, greasy flooring and general mess of a typical factory floor.  Here is a pic of the “death star”:

Tom Dixon Death Star PendantI really like this fixture.  Dodecahedron?  I didn’t count sides.  Anyway, it is make by laser-cutting aluminum sheet, including all the holes.  I don’t know how much waste you get from making the holes, as the material is burning off during the cutting process.  Anyway, other than some muted humming coming from the giant stand-alone laser cutting machine, the only noise on the makeshift factory floor was the sound of simulated mirror-folding/film advance of peoples iPhones as they took pictures of the manufacturing process.

Tom Dixon Fabrication Area

And a closeup of the assembly table shows the men riveting the Death Star together.

Trumpf and Tom Dixon Assembly Area

There was a small stand set up with some fine hanging fixtures called Shakuff.  The owner was not around but I looked closely at the artisan glass shades – very nice work.

Shakuff Lighting

I’m not sure how the red box shades were made.  This next piece was comprised of hanging sheets of wavy glass, in a box shape (in plan) which made them seem like towers of wavy glass.  A very cool effect.

Pendants by Shakuff

Next up I passed Roll and Hill.  I love what this company is putting out, and this particular hanging pendant kept catching my eye all weekend (I saw it around town and on various show reports over the weekend) – it is called Bluff City by designer Jonah Takagi.  Splendid.

Bluff by Jonah Takagi

Next is a company called R B W which I figured out later stands for Rich Brilliant Winning.  I’m thinking with that name they are anglophiles.  Anyway, I just took some detail pics of their products, as they were particularly well-crafted.  Here is a shot of their Branch Triple Chandelier from their website:

R B W Chandelier

Here are some details of their floor lamps and such:

IMG_1518 IMG_1519

A continuing trend is to use wire to make open-looking shades.  Some fixtures in this vein by makers Phese and Blu Dot, respectably.

Phese LightingIMG_1517

A company called Gabriel and Scott had some nice folded-metal fixtures.  I didn’t get much detail about them or this piece but it was decidedly on-trend:

Gabriel and Scott Lighting

Also shown was this hanging chain chandelier called Kelly.

Gabriel and Scott Lighting

Something unrelated to lighting; this is Amuneal’s exhibit, which won the Best of Show award.  It was truly stunning.  The exterior was made with rather thick gauge metal and formed an undulated surface.  The interior had a “cabinet of curiosity” theme, with vitrines and display cases all (seemingly) designed for this show.

Amuneal ICFF2013

Amuneal ICFF2013

There was a very high level of craftsmanship and composition on view at Amuneal.

Amuneal Exhibit ICFF2013

The shelves and vitrines were tagged with prices for each configuration.  I found them to be quite reasonable for what is custom-made artisan furniture made of real brass and wood in their Philadelphia shop.

Interior of Amuneal Exhibit, ICFF2013

I would very much like a shelf like this in my house.  Something to think about…

There was one other display which knocked me over with delight, and that was the similarly-styled (black and brass) exhibit of Apparatus Studio.  On offer was a wonderful collection of lighting which just floored me with its beauty and obvious quality.  My pictures do not do this product justice.

View of Apparatus Studios ICFF2013

Here is a detail of the Cloud chandelier.

Cloud by Apparatus

Some more products from their website.

Apparatus Studios Lighting Fixtures

Apparatus Cloud Picture

Also from their site, a really good illustration of Cloud.  It should also be noted that they have a gorgeous website too – check them out at http://www.apparatusstudio.com

I should also mention that I bought another Tyvek Mighty Wallet by the maker of Dynomighty himself, who always sets up a table in the Design Boom section of the show.  When I go to pay for things, every shop owner always compliments me on my wallet so I had to get another, again.

Dynomighty Tyvek Wallet

Later that night I wandered around Soho and checked out the parties and openings.  I looked at the new kitchen showrooms and looked around for some lighting as well.  I missed the opening reception but I made it a point to try and check out the E.R. Butler shop in Nolita, which was featuring some amazing lighting by designer Bec Brittain.  Here are some pics of the window displays.

Lighting by Bec Brittain

Made of brass, wood, LED strip lamps, marble… these were exquisite.

Lighting by Bec Brittain

I didn’t know E.R. Butler commissioned this type of work.  If not familiar with this company, seek them out online, they produce an incredible collection of architectural hardware, such as reproduction and original door knobs and other assorted pulls and knobs.  I really wanted to see this small storefront as this shop is invitation only.  Well, maybe next year.  From Bec Brittain’s website, one more incredible design.

Vise by Bec Brittain

The last thing I did before leaving the city was take a walk through the amazing Grand Central Terminal, which is 100 years old this year.  I thought there would be special exhibits and maybe a gallery of construction photos or some other display… but alas there was nothing.  Well the building itself is of course wonderful, so I close with this interior shot.  I wish this great building well as it enters its second century.

Interior of Grand Central Terminal

I’ll be up in NYC more this summer as my interiors project begins construction.  More on that later, as we enter the demolition phase soon.

Charleston and Middleton Plantation

SieMatic held its annual sales meeting in Charleston SC this past weekend.  Readers may recall my Kitchen & Bath Business Magazine award-winning showroom design for SieMatic Charleston (read about it here and here).  There was a great crowd attending with SieMatic dealers from all over the USA and Canada.  After presentations from noted kitchen designer Mick DeGiulio and interiors photographer Evan Joseph of Architectural Digest fame, we took in some nice weather at the plantation.

Middleton Oak near Charleston, SC

This is the Middleton Oak, a Quercus virginiana (Live oak) looking over the Ashley River.  This is the largest single-stem Live oak in the southern US states and although it has declined a bit in recent years, it is still impressive.  Live oaks tend to have copious amounts of Spanish moss draping their limbs and the Middleton oaks deliver:

Live Oaks with Spanish Moss

After a couple of days of dodgy weather, it was about 60 degrees during our tour – perfect for strolling the grounds before our afternoon meeting wrap-up.  The sun brought out a small alligator to the shores of a pond and a lovely peacock browsing some grass right near a pathway.  This peacock went his (her?) way and was not bothered by our presence in the slightest.  We wanted it to spread it’s tail and make a big show but he (she?) seemed content with us snapping away with our cameras.

Peacock at Middleton Plantation

The spring house bathed in early March morning sun.

Spring Pond at Middleton

 

On the second floor of the spring house is a tiny chapel.  The stark white interior was a wonderfully restful little space.

Middleton Chapel Detail

Part of our group at the highest point of the plantation, looking out over the Ashley River.

Middleton Plantation

My friends Beverly and Keith Binns (of premier kitchen and bath studio Binns in Toronto, Ontario), posing in front of the main plantation house.  Note the Flemish design of the house; Henry Middleton toured Europe with his new bride and came back with fresh inspiration for his new home.

Beverly and Keith Binns at Middleton Plantation

Another massive Live oak, this one a “twin”, as opposed to a single-stem specimen.

Live Oak at Middleton

Notice the sandy soil.  We wondered if this was so bare due to the shade of the tree, or something in the soil.  With the moss and leaves covering the ground and changing the ph, maybe natural ground cover just can’t get a good start in this soil.

During another break in the conference, I took a quick walk down King Street in the center of town and went through the campus of Charleston College looking for more nice old trees and buildings.  Some scenes from the campus grounds:

Charleston College Building

A lovely old gatehouse at the bottom of the old quad:

Gatehouse at Charleston College

It was very quiet, so I think it was spring break.  Here is an unusual white-painted wood structure with great classical detail on the edge of campus.

White Charleston Building

I love the subtle contrast between bright white trim and the dove-colored siding.  This last shot is the head house at the ancient market square.  I ventured down the road a bit just to re-visit this building.  The coloring is very interesting to me, being used to red brick and white trim Federal buildings of Philadelphia and Baltimore, and the Beaux Arts marble and limestone of Washington and New York.

Market Building Facade

It is always great to attend these events and see dear old friends and catch new design inspiration.  I will most certainly be back to Charleston, since I have business here once a year or so.  Good thing, as I was reminded of another plantation called Drayton Hall, which is not far from the city.  I’ll have to make time to get back for that one, and a more comprehensive tour of the Charleston Singles and other unique structures of the enchanting old city.

Another Magazine Cover – Canadian Wood Industry

Another of my renderings was used for a magazine cover.  This time it was the October edition of Canadian Wood Industry, who used my Schindler Lovell Beach House concept in an artistic manner, for an article about working with Interior Designers.

Wood Industry Cover Rendering

My Lovell Beach house concept can be seen here: https://mickricereto.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/a-kitchen-proposal-for-schindlers-lovell-beach-house/

It has been a busy year, with more renderings and great projects on my desk right now.  More updates soon, as projects develop.

More Classic Modern Displays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SieMatic Agate Grey Kitchen/Entertainment Center Concept

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

Classic Modern Kitchen Displays

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

SieMatic Agate Grey Gloss "Italian Townhouse" Kitchen Concept

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

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

SieMatic S2 Agate Grey Display by Mick Ricereto

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

SieMatic S2 Agate Grey Plan by Mick Ricereto

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