In a normal year, Mint Kitchen Group would send a select number of our kitchen designers to attend significant international design shows. These international shows are very important because they give us the chance to find inspiration from quite literally all over the world and engage with designers who create interior spaces for a range of different environments.
Sadly, with the international borders being closed, we’ve had to attend many of these shows virtually. It’s been fantastic that the organisers have been able to still hold these shows as a resource for the international design community, but it’s not the same as being there in person. We’re hopeful to be able to get back to visiting these shows in person very soon.
There is still a lot happening in the world of international kitchen design and it’s always very useful to keep in touch with how different designers approach kitchen design in a range of countries. And, it’s always great to see how Australian design is often at the forefront of design innovation.
International Kitchen Design Trend #1: Compact Kitchens
Around the world, and particularly in Europe, the majority of the population live in apartments. This doesn’t always mean the kitchens are small but it does often mean the designer is working with a compact space or restrictions within walls that cannot be moved. And this means a clever approach to design and layout is of utmost importance.
In Australia, we’re already seeing an increase of apartment developments so that means watching this trend is very useful. The key to the success of a compact kitchen is not just in its design and layout, it’s also in the choice of internal fittings and fixtures. How the internal space within the cabinetry is designed and fitted out can make or break how functional and practical the kitchen ends up being.
Hardware manufactures around the world know this and our clients benefit from the research and development they put into how to maximise every centimetre of your cupboard or drawer space. This includes innovative “pull down” units that allow you to store things at a much higher height than you could reach, and slide-out systems so you can store your items right to the back of the cupboards but still access them easily.
International Kitchen Design Trend #2: Lighting design
Again, we have technology to thank for the innovations in lighting and lighting design we see around the world. Lighting has come a long way from being a simple practical inclusion. Lighting is now considered to be an integral part of the design of our internal spaces, and no more so than in the kitchen where lighting can be used to provide both ambient and task lighting, as well as mood lighting.
From strip LEDs that highlight gorgeous natural stone on the benchtop to feature pendant lights above the island; from ceiling downlights for overall coverage to spot lights for specific tasks – how you chose and structure your lighting needs to be considered from the very start of the kitchen design process.
Internationally, we’re seeing lighting within kitchen design really pushing the limits of artistry and it’s fantastic to see what creative things designers around the world are doing with the range of lighting options available.
International Kitchen Design Trend #3: The Invisible Kitchen
Given the kitchen’s prominence within most interiors, it’s understandable that some homeowners don’t want, or need, their kitchen to be on display all of the time. Designers internationally – but particularly in Europe – have been clever in how they create spaces that don’t always look like kitchens and/or have the ability to be “closed off” or hidden away when not in use.
The bi-fold or pocket door is a very popular means by which the kitchen can be easily open or closed to the adjoining living spaces and we’re increasingly seeing designs that literally hide almost every aspect of the kitchen behind closed doors, but still within the larger living zone. Using a foldaway or slideaway door system, the kitchen can be revealed when it’s needed and the doors are cleverly secreted away so they are not in the way. But, after dinner or when entertaining, the kitchen almost magically disappears into the wall and becomes very much the background rather than the foreground of activity.
It’s important to remember when looking at International Kitchen Design Trends, that we don’t advocate transporting a European kitchen directly into an Australian home. We live in quite different ways so our approach to design needs to be unique to our Australian climate and way of living. But, international design can provide much in the way of inspiration for elements or creative approaches that we can adapt and then apply to our Australian home.
Our team would be happy to help guide you through what kitchen style will best suit your needs!