Perspective: Tomorrow’s M-F Kitchen Trends (Part I of II)

By Kevin Henry, NYLOFT KitchensUnlike any other kitchen show on the planet, Milan-based Eurocucina played host this April to over 300,000 visitors from over 140 countries. With over 140 exhibitors, all pushing the boundaries of modern kitchen design; Eurocucina has proved itself the “Mecca” for global kitchen design.Upon arriving at Eurocucina, along with 300,000 designers, retailers, editors, students and assorted guests, it is a cross between the opening day at Disneyland and Dante’s inferno…a true sensory overload. Though Eurocucina is a hotbed of individual design and interpretation, there are common themes to be found throughout the fair. Much of this has to do with common resources and cross collaboration with the same core of industrial designers. This year we found the continued use of glass as a key design element. Once used as a decorative backsplash element, we now find it used as both front material as well as counter top. Colored, frosted, painted and etched, there were as many variations as there were designers. With the limited access and high cost of exotic veneers, the growth of high-textured, wood-grained laminates were to be found everywhere. The evolution of this material is just amazing–it has become so real, both to the eye as well as to the touch. The textured laminate could be found in a wide range of species as well as finishes, including black oak, natural teak and zebrano. With the boundaries between kitchen and living room all but gone, the continued furniturization of the modern kitchen could be seen from one stand to another, with each manufacturer’s take on the idea. The most common interpretation was the hide-away kitchen behind large 4 x 8 sliding doors that–when opened–reveal a complete kitchen that’s easily hidden with a simple sleight of hand. Or the complete island kitchen that is all-inclusive, with cooking, cleaning, storage with sensor touch drawers, and seating for four. One of the highlights of this year’s fair was the “Technology for the Kitchen” exhibit…If George Jetson was looking for a kitchen…you would find him here. Light fixtures that double as cooking ventilations were show stoppers…pendent lights or crystal chandelier…these hoods help give the kitchen a more furniture appearance. Magnetic induction cooking, programmable ovens, fully integrated and energy efficient refrigerators and the introduction of the 36-in. dishwasher were just a few of the next generation appliances we will hopefully see in the US in the years ahead.For the developer visiting Eurocucina, there are many names he will recognize from his first few minutes on the grounds…Snaidero, Scavolini, Bontempi, Pedini, Maistri and Boffi as well as Poggenpohl, SieMatic and ALNO, just to mention the top US contenders. The show is the perfect exposure to where the industry will be three months or even three years from now. If you want to see what colors, details and features the future will bring, this is the place. But what is more important is the European concept space and how to maximize its usage through the use of good design and the use of specialized internal storage and utility systems.