Every two years, over one hundred international exhibitors come together in Milan for EuroCucina – the International Kitchen Furniture Exhibition – to feature their design concepts for modern and functional kitchens. 2014 showcased new kitchen elements in lighting trends, layering of materials and the blending of different textures.
In essence, this year, kitchens have been stripped back to an organic, natural focus, using woodgrains and raw finishes. These themes were carried throughout the kitchen; in cabinetry and benchtops, merging form and function with modern design.
Lighting is all about style and practicality. Whether it’s purely functional, used as a design feature, or to create ambience; the focus on lighting was everywhere.
Low-hanging, sculptural pendant lights in silver and copper added a metallic accent to compliment the strong use of woodgrains in kitchen cabinetry.
Lighting within drawers and cabinets illuminated dark spaces to create a more efficient work space. Used to highlight display shelves or backlight glass cabinets; lighting is adding more depth and character to the kitchen.
Innovative storage and cabinetry
Open shelving is popular this year; used for display purposes within the kitchen, or as a practical room divider to create separate living zones.
Storage solutions have taken another leap forward, with external nooks in cabinetry creating customised storage spaces, drawers within drawers and internal organisation systems to streamline the kitchen. Pull-out pantries are an ergonomic option, providing ready access to all shelves; with integrated storage systems for greater organisation.
Drawer and door handles are seemingly invisible this year, with design features including recessed handles and shark nose finishes. Some kitchen designs removed handles altogether and used a push-to-open function; a particularly useful feature when you don’t have a free hand. Soft-closing doors and drawers lend sophistication to the kitchen as they glide effortlessly and soundlessly closed, even when children are in the house.
Many designers experimented with the thickness of benchtops. Some surfaces were as thin as 6mm, for a streamlined finish. The layering effect was also popular; with an overlay of thin benchtop over thicker options, or the use of two different materials to create a stunning design feature.
In some installations, sinks were integrated with benchtops, to create a single, seamless surface. This integration produces a fluid shape that creates a focal piece in kitchens or bathrooms.
Natural and organic materials
The use of woodgrains featured heavily in kitchen design; making the most of different textures and leaving natural flaws to be admired as part of the rich texture, of the timber. This organic look and feel wasn’t limited to one area of the kitchen; timbers and veneers were used in cabinetry, doors and benchtops.
The variety of materials, colours and textures used throughout the kitchen created an earthy, natural edge. Timber was used, alongside aerated concrete benchtops, ceramic panels and sandblasted glass doors to create an artistic vibe in a conventional kitchen zone.
Many of this year’s designs showed a shift away from gloss toward more matt finishes on cabinetry and stainless steel, glass, laminate and stone surfaces; creating a warmer, more organic feel in the kitchen.
Bold colours, such as red or yellow are used to provide a splash of colour in woodgrain or monochrome kitchen designs.
Much of what we’ve seen in Europe this year is reflected in elements of our award winning designs. It’s exciting to know that many of the colours, materials and trends from Eurocucina are already available locally, enabling us to incorporate these design features into the modern Australian kitchen space.