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AlessiLux LED Accent Light
“This table lamp design is such a fun, modern spin on the original oil lamp.”
- P. Jackson, Interior Designer
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The Art Story
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I love the challenge presented by small spaces, perhaps nowhere more than in the kitchen. How do you squeeze a functioning galley into a small space and still maintain a certain level of aesthetic in the process?
The standard bearer of the self-contained mini kitchen is Boffi's Mincucine (pictured above). Designed in 1963 with a volume just shy of 11 cubic feet, this mini kitchen covers cooking, refrigeration and storage in a space the size of an office desk, wrapped in a brilliant, minimalist design.
The original Minicucine was updated in 2007 with a gorgeous matte Corian finish.
Students at ENSCI, the famed Parisian industrial design school were clearly influenced by Boffi when they designed their Modern Space Saving Mini Kitchen. Sliding counters and a streamlined design give the concept piece a Star Trek allure.
With storage, prep and cooking all wrapped into a single, mobile unit, these kitchens contain everything but the lighting. Mini-pendant lights are a great way to light these minimalist wonders without overpowering their diminutive size.
Hinkley Hampton Wide Nickel Mini Pendant Light, (left) Polished Nickel Hybrid Mini Pendant (right)
Mini kitchens can seem almost automotive in their presentation. Concept photos show gleaming stand-alone pieces with doors swung open and there's a distinct emphasis as much on performance as on form. Designers Adriano Conti, Corrado Galzio and Alex Innamorati pack a lot of punch into their design, including a vegetable washer, dishwasher, refrigerator, small pantry and oven. At approximately three feet in diameter, this design could be tucked away into a closet when house guests arrive. Or as the photo shows, it makes a decent cocktail table too.
A trend toward higher density living no doubt necessitates small living solutions, yet as logistically accomplished as compacted island kitchen concepts are, more conservative back-to-the-wall designs may be best suited to widespread use. The K1 Kitchen from French company Kitchoo is a minimalist bureau design that integrates easily with a variety of hospitality and home projects.
When space is an issue, modularity often carries the day, offering flexibility that stand-alone mini kitchens do not. Forget about what's on the stove, Snaidero's modular Code kitchen system is worth salivating over. It looks great with ample floor space, but can be scaled down to fit a much smaller footprint.
The Library Kitchen system, designed by Phillipe Starck for Warendorf, wraps the kitchen appliances in bookshelves, merging the cultural and the culinary for tight spaces.
When counter space is tight, it can be critical to utilize air space. Use stemware racks, recessed under cabinet lights and hanging pot racks to help keep cabinets and counters free.
Living small requires living smart. With a variety of excellent plug-and-play and modular systems out there, living small can mean living well too.
Images: Informinteriors, Doublemesh, Freshome, Snaidero, Home Designing
Smooth and sophisticated, the modern dining room has clean lines, cool art and lots of style! This Mid-Century Modern dining room is designed with the "loft" aesthetic, making use of one large room divided into multiple spaces. Modern pendant lighting helps highlight the dining area.
The loft look is popular, but so is color and when it comes to color, this kitchen does not disappoint! The colorful kitchen even doubles as art for this modern all-white dining room.
Mixing and matching modern dining chairs with a classic table is another hot dining trend. These stark white modern dining chairs paired with this heavy wood table, all set against Spanish tile floors makes for one perfect design collision.
There are no rules to modern dining room design, whether its one room or one larger space. Mix materials, use lots of color or just keep it simple and clean... it all looks amazingly stylish and modern!
Images: Tendir, Home Designing, House & Home
My choice for the Best Kitchen at EuroCucina 2012 was the debut of Natural Skin and Mina from Minacciolo. The lines explored a range of finishes and details that were incredibly classic in style, but extremely innovative in function and use of materials. I expected that I just might see more of this style of kitchen at the show, but I did not! And this is why Minacciolo gets my vote for best in show! Oh and by the way, their booth was incredible as well! Imagine about 20' high walls of deliciously red fresh tomatoes in beautiful natural wood crates with black steel frames. A perfect blend with the lines introduced!
"Once upon a time there was a stove... Mina, the new concept of multifunctional composition: the taste of tradition is dressed by new technologies, refined details, and Italian craftsmanship. The purity of black metal and the essence of shape become absolute and timeless, giving rise to the new object of desire for any type of environment: minimalist, traditional, classic."
The red knobs against the matte black surface were a stunning detail!
Red accents are always powerful accessories whether it be red lighting or hardware.
The steel rail wraps the island and is the perfect functional detail in any kitchen!
"A warm, natural skin that covers a totally black structure... Natural Skin gives the possibility to create new surfaces puncuated by minimal plate inserts. A kitchen to live, synthesis and perfect combination of nature and modern technology, to serve also the most demanding chef. Wood and metal merge and become harmonious contrasts."
The hand sawn knotty pine with the slab front doors and modern integrated handles was an incredible look. The knotty pine adds so much character and still remains very modern in aesthetic.
The cabinet interiors are decked to the nines!
Take a close up look at the hand sawn knotty pine. This is all the rage right now in hardwood floors and contemporary lighting, but the use of this material on the cabinet doors is really interesting to me.
Look at those tomato crates!!
Oh and do you see those vent hoods! You can see my photos of the black version of the knotty pine, which was my all time favorite. I thought that I would've seen way more of this at the show, but I didn't. Which is somewhat exciting because I really hope I continue to see more!
Images: Minacciolo, Desainer, Annie May
When the idea struck to cover my favorite cafe designs across the globe, Tokyo's uber-chic bread and coffee hot spot Bread, Espresso & was a shoe-in to lead the story. This design savvy cafe typifies today's resurgence in artisanal bread and coffee and the increasing focus on design that seems to accompany the resurgence.
Located just blocks away from Bread, Espresso & is Omotesando Koffee (pictured below). Housed in a traditional Japanese residence in Tokyo's Omotesando district, it originally opened as a pop-up space to showcase barista Eichii Kunitomo's skill (although the cafe recently announced a two year lease extension). The box-like kiosk design and a charming paper note chandelier nonetheless point to the cafe's temporary nature.
If paper notes and binder clips aren't your thing, the Possini Euro White Flower (pictured above right) offers a more permanent chandelier solution.
In the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mar Vista, Earl's Gourmet Grub leaves no detail unturned, with a gently torqued ceiling design. Drop sky lights provide natural light, while recessed lighting illuminates the plywood fans down the length of the cafe.
Earl's architects, LA/NY based Freeland Buck, applied computational methods usually reserved for skyscraper construction to the restaurant's interior details, as in this alpine inspired design that runs along the wall of the space.
Similar to Earl's Gourmet Grub, a torque motif defines the direction at a Starbucks back in Tokyo, yet again in the Omotesando neighborhood. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, this design arranges timber into a cornucopia shape across the ceiling, resulting in contemporary yet naturally comfortable interior.
A similar organic flow of materials could rightly be used to describe the cafe by designers B3 which debuted at the 2008 London Design Festival. Constructed entirely from carboard boxes, this truly is a pop-up cafe. Folded, it can be transported in a single car. As with Kengo Kuma's Starbucks, directional and track lighting help to expose the textured design without overpowering it.
At Munich's Das Neue Kubitscheck (by Designliga) rectangular motifs dominate as well, offset by charming pastels in this comfortable neighborhood cafe.
The above examples are my favorites. When it comes to good coffee and good design however, they're just the tip of the iceberg. I invite you to discover your own, and by all means, share them with us.
Images: Cafe Snap, Spoon & Tamago, Tokyoblog, Freeland Buck, JapanOnline, designboom, Design Made in Germany
Lighting is a key element in kitchen design, not just for it's functional element, but the aesthetic element as well. The lighting you choose for your kitchen can truly transform your space and take you from Mid-Century Modern to Hollywood Glam with one simple fixture. While the cabinetry style remains very similar take a look how the lighting in these modern kitchens completely changes the style and makes a really bold statement. A Mid-Century modern chandelier mixes so beautifully with charcoal veneer cabinetry, a chromed island, and herringbone floor. It adds playful character to an elegant kitchen.
Jonathon Adler Meurice Collection 30 Light Chandelier
The charcoal veneer cabinetry, marble island, and natural wood island table work perfectly with an industrial modern pendant. The nice clean lines and gorgeous silhouette of the pendant lights compliment the rough edges of the table while the bronze finish contrasts so nicely with the marble top yet blends so nicely with the cabinetry and the flooring. This is the perfect look to warm up any industrial modern loft!
Piquito 11" High Black Mini Pendant
Bronx 7-1/2" Wide Black Pendant
These sleek clean lines are gorgeous on their own, but adding that glamorous chandelier is like putting on the perfect necklace or pair of earrings. It adds an element of sophistication and femininity without taking away from the strong modern details that make this kitchen so beautiful.
Robert Abbey Bling Collection Chandelier
The organic shape of the chandelier really softens up the space. It's a great contrast to the hard elements of the concrete floor and brick wall and really adds movement and depth to an otherwise stark kitchen.
Possini White Cloud 15" Wide Pendant
For the minimalist at heart, one option is no decorative lighting and the other is a light as sleek and clean as its environment. These long tube like pendants stand their ground over this island without creating too much drama. The clean lines mimic the lines of the cabinetry and remain absolutely stunning in their simplicity.
Silver 24" High Chrome Mini Pendant
Images: Pia Ulin, Fine Ting Og Sjokolade, Tamizo, What Wilson Wants, Tamizo
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