5 Ultimate Kitchens
No room in the modern home has evolved as radical- ly in the past century as the kitchen. Far from the hot, cramped spaces of yesteryear, the kitchen is now supposed to project an image of the good life, of family tradition, of personal prowess at the range and the oven. Accordingly, today’s kitchen is likely to be the most carefully designed, the most “techni- cal,” and the costliest space in the house. Our kitchens should be a) sophisticated; b) very, very up-to-date, but not too gadgety; c) serious; d) delightful; and above all e) really, really good looking. Beyond that point, individual narratives and identity dramas take over. Who am I, and how does my kitchen become me? Am I a scientist? A bon vivant? A natural-food nurturer? An architectural purist? An unbuttoned sen- sualist? A biscuit-baking populist? An aristocrat of La Technique? Rejoice:All your kitchens have arrived.They’re not necessarily cheap, mind you, but they’re so worth it.
1. THE B3 MONOBLOCK
Can’t afford a building by Peter Zumthor or a sculpture by Richard Serra? Here’s a superb piece of monumental minimalism to help console yourself. Bulthaup describes the b3 Monoblock as “functionality with the perfect stainless steel exterior.” We call it the visual equivalent of beating a kettledrum.The counters and sides appear seamlessly joined, as if the unit were a solid block of metal. Made of high-grade stainless steel, the Monoblock can be configured as a free-standing island, a peninsula, or an against-the-wall work surface.Watch the editor’s cut of Blade Runner while you prepare bœuf bourguignon for eight, followed by a light dessert, fruit, cheese and grappa. Zumthor can wait.
BY PAOLO PIVA FOR POLIFORM
Modern architecture loves continuous space; so does Poliform’s Matrix.The cabinetry designed by Paolo Piva integrates easily into open-plan living areas. No extraneous parts or busy details poke out from either the cabinetry or the counters. Part of that effect, no doubt, comes from the austere smoothness of the cabinets. At the same time, the flush cooktop, undermount stainless-steel sink, and minimalist box hood “help erase boundaries between the kitchen and the spaces beyond,” according to Poliform.
BY PININFARINA FOR SNAIDERO
Designed by Pininfarina, an automotive stylist for Ferrari, Snaidero’s sleek kitchen-as-theater-in-the-round turns out to be highly functional because it reduces the distance between the magic triangle of sink-stove-fridge without skimping on prep space. Here, the hood and lighting fuse to become a ceiling, turning the kitchen into a sheltering environment or household temple of cooking.You can lecture the beginners from the charmed circle, or your guests can crowd around—on either side of the counter—chopping and schmoozing in communal closeness.According to Snaidero, Acropolis has adapted automotive technology for the kitchen, using a special aluminum structure 40% lighter than standard aluminum and 100% recyclable. The model is shown here combined with Ola, another cabinetry line designed by Pininfarina exclusively for Snaidero, in Dream Blue Metallic lacquer.
4. POGGENPOHL KITCHEN
BY ASHLEY BROWN FOR POGGENPOHL
This spacious Poggenpohl is not really retro, but it seems totally at home in this desert house in Palm Springs. Designed by Ashley Brown of Wm Ohs Showrooms in Newport Beach, this kitchen brings the home into the 21st century while staying true to its mid-century aesthetic roots.The cabinetry is Poggenpohl CX100 in blossom white laminate, while the counters are Caesarstone Quartz Reflections; completing the hardware lineup are Gaggenau ovens and hood, a Wolf gas cooktop, Franke sinks, KWC faucets, a Miele dishwasher, a Viking wine cooler, and two Sub-Zeros. All it needs is an old record of June Christy singing “Something Cool” while you mix the Manhattans.
BY PIETRO AROSIO FOR ERNESTOMEDA
The Solaris kitchen may appeal to the Mies van der Rohe inside you—the person who wants at least one thing in life to be orderly, clean, efficient and perfect.This machine for cooking is a good solution for people who are long on style, who are able to see beauty in logic and who disdain the merely showy. Designed for Ernestomeda by Pietro Arosio, Solaris is billed as an “anthropocentric work-station that goes beyond the boundaries of tradition.” The kitchen is also a showcase for the versatility and good looks of DuPont Corian. Designed along minimalist lines, Solaris is the most recent attempt by Italy’s Ernestomeda to combine research, technology and design.