There is a new set of rules in the design of kitchens: They must work hard, act smart and look good. We bring you the latest trends in designing the heart of your home.
A guiding ideal in design circles is the pursuit of seamless surfaces, whether of walls, floors or joinery. Now sinks are in the mix, too, thanks to Caesarstone’s new range. The sinks are cast from the same popular engineered material and are integrated into the countertops. Perfect for kitchens and bathrooms, they are available in five versatile colours: Pure White, Snow White, Ivory, Grey and Sleek Concrete. And, like the countertops, they are scratch-, stain- and heat-resistant.
Countertops have become the jewel in the crown of today’s kitchens. Technological advancements ensure that they are hardwearing and available in a range of colours, textures and styles.
1: One of the biggest trends in kitchen design is multilevel islands in different materials that accommodate areas for preparation, serving and eating, such as this Elle kitchen by Italian design firm Cesar, available locally through Espresso Design.
2: Vanilla Noir, a colourway from Caesarstone’s Supernatural range, looks like marble but has the benefits of engineered quartz stone.
3: The concrete look is a big trend in kitchen design. This countertop by Womag is made from Phoenix Stone, another type of engineered quartz.
Oren Sachs from Womag tells us what’s out there in the realm of countertops, which to choose and why it matters.
Q: What are some of the latest innovations in kitchen countertop materials?
A:Womag carries a vast range of unique quartz-based surfaces that imitate marble; marble itself is not recommended for kitchen countertops, because it is quite porous, stains easily and is vulnerable to acid foodstuffs, such as citrus and vinegar. Recently, Womag also started supplying porcelain slabs for kitchen countertops. Printed in high resolution, they are very realistic and look similar to marble. These slabs are lightweight because, although they are available in big pieces, they are only 6mm thick.
Q: How would you advise a client who’s looking for a suitable kitchen countertop material?
A:The material needs to be durable and must be able to withstand the heavy-duty work that kitchen tops are exposed to. The best and most commonly used materials for kitchen countertops are granite and quartz-based surfaces, such as Phoenix Stone.
Q: What are the main differences between Phoenix Stone, Silestone, travertine, granite and marble?
A:Phoenix Stone and Silestone are man-made, engineered stones. They are stain-resistant and consistent in colour. Granite, marble and travertine, on the other hand, are natural products that need to be sealed, and they all demonstrate natural colour movement throughout the slabs.
‘When it comes to a surface, don’t be put off by price – rather save on other design elements of your kitchen and invest in a hardy but beautiful surface that will keep your kitchen looking good for 20 years-plus’ – Lisa Aspeling, advertising director, International Slab Sales
Marble has always been a sought-after material, but since it is porous and requires regular maintenance, it is not ideal for heavy-duty workspaces such as kitchens. Enter the marble lookalikes, including those offered by Caesarstone and Neolith, which are made from hardwearing, low-maintenance materials.
4: This rounded island features a countertop by Caesartstone in Frosty Carrina and could be mistaken for a polished marble slab.
5:Neolith’s compact, sintered surfaces are the largest-format porcelain slabs available. Neolith has recently added new colours to its concrete- and marble-style products, including Iron Moss, as shown here.
‘While stainless-steel appliances will always be a classic, kitchens are seeing a resurgence in white appliances in everything from refrigerators to cookers, ovens and hobs for its sleek, minimalistic appeal’ – Stephen Brookes, MD, Smeg South Africa
Never before has technology been as integral to the home as it is today, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the kitchen, where appliances are not only highly intelligent, but have the good looks to match too.
6: White appliances are all the rage, and it doesn’t get more on-trend than Smeg’s Linea white gas hob with stand-out ceramic glass top and white heavy-duty cast-iron pan supports.
7:The Zip HydroTap, manufactured by Franke, has two mechanisms in one tap, the first for instant boiling water, and the second for chilled filtered drinking water.
8: Miele’s new built-in coffee machines have an innovative CupSensor feature that automatically adjusts the height of the spout to that of the cup or glass being filled.
The energy-efficient Franke zip Hydrotap is a good choice for the eco-aware homemaker.
Ramon Casado, design director at Bulthaup, explains the ins and outs of designing kitchens that deliver great design as well as efficient functionality.
Q: What are the latest innovations in kitchen systems?
A:The new Bulthaup interior system allows for owners to become the directors of their own kitchen scenography. They can define the interiors of the drawers in line with their specific needs and easily rearrange and expand them. Through the use of dividers and prisms, you can organise cutlery, kitchen utensils, food items, dishes and much more, exactly as you wish. This way, the kitchen can change organically to meet your needs. Another innovation from Bulthaup is our use of functional boxes and pocket doors to create unique, multifunctional storage spaces.
Q: What have been Bulthaup’s most popular kitchen systems to date, and why do you believe this is so?
A:It would have to be the state-of-the art Bulthaup b3. Combining functionality and ergonomics in a minimalist, light-looking form that has a sensual, sculptured character, the Bulthaup b3 is the result of engineer-driven thinking and passionate design. Previously, it was difficult to reach certain areas of the kitchen – you either had to bend down low or stretch up high. With the Bulthaup b3 design system, these hard-to-reach zones – those at the very top or very bottom – have been done away with. Instead, this system makes maximum use of the space between the walls and base units. The universal Bulthaup b3 design system offers an incredibly wide range of versatile design solutions for perfect kitchens, as well as surprising solutions for functional and aesthetic changes to spaces that go beyond the kitchen work area.
‘At Bulthaup we specialise in thinking through every aspect, from the overarching design and the ergonomics of where appliances are placed to the storage of cutlery and glassware and the size and location of the pantry, scullery or bar’ – Ramon Casado, design director, Bulthaup
It doesn’t matter how slick a kitchen looks: if its contents aren’t well-contained and its functionality hasn’t been considered, it makes no sense to renovate it. Today’s kitchen systems allow users to exert minimal effort when accessing their cooking arsenal.
9: This drawer-organising system is part of Bulthaup’s b3 kitchen, which utilises an oak covering for the inner pull-out drawers.
10: Blu-Line Kitchen’s new range of drawers and internal inserts features the latest in soft-close technology. Each drawer comes with linear-finished nonslip rubber matting and cutlery divisions featuring a rubberised inlay for ease of use and maintenance.
11: The compactness of the Blum Legrabox Pure’s drawer solution is all the more sophisticated thanks to the combination of Blumotion, Servo-Drive and Tip-On technologies that make the handle-less drawers seem to open, move and close by themselves.
12: The multifunctional wall with concealed storage space is a key element of the Bulthaup b3.
- Caesarstone’s: caesarstone.co.za
- Espresso Design: espressodesign.co.uk
- Womag: womag.co.za
- Neolith’s: neolith.co.za
- Smeg’s: smeg.co.za
- The Zip HydroTap: zipsa.co.za
- Miele’s: miele.co.za
- Bulthaup: livingkitchens.bulthaup.com
- Blu-Line Kitchen’s: blu-line.co.za
- Blum Legrabox Pure’s: eclipsegroup.co.za
Words: Genevieve Putter
Photographs: Lar Photography and supplied