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See you in the kitchen

Whoever does the cooking at home will be lonely no more thanks to integrated kitchens



The latest aroma in kitchens is the concept of making them more of a place to socialise, as seen among the design trends at the recent EuroCucina in Milan, part of the Salone International Mobile.

Complementing the new kitchen layouts were digital devices that insist on being more environmentally friendly. Electrolux Major Appliances' regional design director Pernilla Johansson returned to Asia from the exposition with a few observations:



OPEN-PLAN LIVING

Johansson says she's seeing kitchens being increasingly integrated with living spaces, the better to socialist while cooking and dining. The kitchens are transformed depending specifically on how they're used, with the functional components hidden when not required.

SUSTAINABILITY

Recycled and reclaimed wood was a big theme at EuroCucina, she says, in addition to new composite stone materials and more ecological cement surfaces. Many designs also embraced "kitchen gardens" where herbs and vegetables are grown.

CRAFTSMANSHIP

Artisans are showing their talents more, particularly in the detailing of the kitchen. Mitred edges and corners meet in perfect points, while chamfers on the undersides of benches give the illusion of impossibly thin bench tops.

NO HANDLES

That's right - you rarely see a handle jutting out in these new kitchens. Those you do see are flatly angled grips integrated with the base material, such as wood on wood and glass on glass. The most posh kitchens continue to build on the trend of motorised doors and drawers for cabinets and cupboards, including huge sliding doors that can conceal an entire work area.

MATERIAL MIX

The real excitement this year was about the combination of materials and textures. One concept kitchen mingled real stone with composite stone to stunning effect. Matte glass was more common than gloss, and used in combination with wood, stone and stainless steel.

Blond wood was used more than darker hues and increasingly left with a textured, natural finish. Marble was the material that best expressed luxury and its popularity and use is increasing.

ILLUMINATION

The blue "dotted" LED light is out and smooth, cool white light guides are now used everywhere to light up cabinets, drawers and work surfaces and also for decorative purposes around the floor. You'll see them integrated into the overall kitchen design.

NATURAL HUES

Most exhibits at EuroCucina used the same variations of warm white, beige, brown and black, often tone on tone. There was more black this year, however, while white remains a prominent base tone, albeit mixed with other materials, rarely used by itself. The all-white kitchen is out.

Often, darker tones are used inside lighter cabinets, or sometimes the other way around. More importantly, the use of multiple materials, colours and texture experiences is coming through everywhere.




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