About a decade or two ago, few would contemplate tearing down walls and opening up their kitchen for all to see. To many people back then, the kitchen is a cluttered and greasy part of the house that should never see the light of the day.
These days, it's not uncommon to find many new homes on the market fitted with an open kitchen (usually with another area segregated as a 'wet' kitchen). It's well accepted that a kitchen can also be the centerpiece of a home design. It helps that world-renowned designers like Philippe Starck and Piero Lissoni are bringing their Midas Touch to kitchen design, turning the cabinetry into highly desirable pieces to be shown off. Manufacturers have also stepped up with brilliant ideas to ensure that the 'exposed' kitchen, while serving its basic function, can qualify as eye candy.
A while back, Boffi presented On/ Off, a modular, mono-block kitchen with fixed-size single units. The unique worktop - and all the cooking ware that go on it - can be concealed by folding doors when not in use, and revealed for use by opening up the doors electronically. The design can be completed using taller modular units, suspended from the floor and can be used to house international standard electrical appliances.
In a similar vein, the Tower Kitchen from German manufacturer Warendorf and designed by French design star Philippe Starck takes up a minimal footprint - each of the two standalone units takes up no more than one square meter of floor space in the kitchen. The towers, which can be rotated 340°, are separated into a hot tower that houses a conventional oven and a steam oven, and a cold tower that holds the fridge-freezer. However, supplementary electrical appliances like a dishwasher or microwave, can also be integrated into the towers.
The Library Kitchen, also designed by Starck, reinforces the relation between culture and food in domestic life. Whether stocked with cooking utensils or stacked with books, the system will simply look good in any living spaces.
With its minimalist lines and strong structural elements that give it a distinctive, formal look, Varenna's Alea has become one of the most popular models in its range. The muted tones and recessed aluminium handle profile only help to make it easier to integrate this kitchen system into a contemporary home, out in the open.