What inspires a great design? Where does that kernel of an idea springs from? This is a question that many designers find difficult to answer. To the layman, it can seem utterly inscrutable – a thing that is part mystery, part magic. But, the truth is, most designers draw inspiration from the things they observe all around them. Ordinary items that reveal shapes and textures in which they find beauty, that are pleasing to the eye and inform their personal aesthetic. The real magic lies in the way these two seemingly disparate items are connected. And, when it works, we call it innovation – something greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Monogram’s luxury designer collection by designer Richard Anuszkiewicz, recently unveiled at the KBIS 2022 design show in Orlando, has achieved just that…and more. This elegant, new wave of customized kitchen appliances, ventilation hoods, and panels embodies the terms innovative and on-trend, and is something that we at Verve Design are truly excited about. The accents and hardware designs for both their brass and titanium collections were jewelry and time pieces inspired, flaunting detailed metal inlays, etchings, and custom stitched leather and brass handles. These are features commonly found in luxury wrist watch designs, but have now been merged into a new kitchen design concept that seems at once both modern and traditional.
We also find mixed-metal stories in the use of these appliance and fixture designs, with matted black and brass combinations being at the forefront of the trend. Café addresses this very trend in a recent article that denotes the end of “matchy-matchy” metals in the kitchen, from appliances to hardware to lighting fixtures. They suggest that mixing metals raises the temperature of a room and can add a sense of warmth to the kitchen. This is a marked departure from the stark, cold kitchen designs of the previous decade.
The motivation behind this trend may very well circle back, as many now do, to changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. People have grown used to cooking at home and eating out a lot less. The kitchen has, in many ways, returned to its former role as the heart of the home, and is less of a pristine showroom that is only occasionally used. “Greater functionality” and “organic modern” were the catch phrases of 2021 kitchen designs. And “Newstalgia” (a blend of retro furnishing with luxe finishes and top-of-the-line tech) is fast becoming the new buzz word of 2022. According to a 2021 Houzz survey, kitchen renovation projects were at a an all-time high – 56% of American homeowners remodeled their kitchens last year – with expenditures up by 15% from the previous one. Moreover, pro-style ranges were 2021’s biggest trend in kitchen appliances (reviewed.com), which makes sense when you consider how much more time we now spend in the kitchen, preparing meals, than we did pre Covid.
Other kitchen appliance brands are equally pushing forward with this new trend, and not just the mainstream companies. Niche brands such as Forza and Thor (whose tag line is “Cook like a god”) have jumped on this innovative band wagon. Live’s current line-up of ranges includes the Nostalgie series (image above), featuring dark matted colors with stunning gold and brass hardware that boldly protrudes from the appliance, drawing the eyes like ornate pieces of jewelry.
Custom range hoods are another kitchen appliance at the forefront of this new design concept. Arriving in bigger and bolder designs, the intention is to make them stand out in the kitchen as a focal point to the room, like works of art, and to no longer hide or diminish them as merely functional pieces of kitchen equipment. They too are being constructed with these same vibrant accent metals. However, we’re also seeing a wide use of other materials in their design, such as tile, shagreen, cement, and plaster. And in a broad array of shapes and colors.
All in all, product innovation is the life force of good design. And nowhere is this truism more apparent than in home kitchen. Interior designers rely on their vendors and product developers to deliver inspirational pieces. Pieces, based in part on the needs and wants of the consumer, that help fuel their imagination and inspire an artistic vision that ideally marches in step with the times. Of course, trends come and go. But it’s important to keep in mind that innovation does not subsist in a vacuum. It draws its inspiration from the world around us: our past, our present, and our ideas of what the future can be. Here at Verve Design we celebrate these talented innovators. And we look forward to exploring together the myriad ways in which their vision can inspire our own.