Designing your Kitchen
As the way we live and the way we interact with our homes keeps evolving,
so to do our homes change and take on new roles. This couldn’t be more true in the case of the kitchen.
What was once a purely functional space kept completely separate from the living quarters has come to be so much more integrated into daily living. Today, it is a space for social interaction, it is a place for entertaining guests or having family meetings, it is a room for media and art. This is the philosophy at HZI, that the kitchen needs to be both designed and decorated to accommodate different, very fluid, needs. In short: it needs to be many rooms in one.
Traditionally the aesthetic of the kitchen was defined by two polar opposite approaches: the sleek, hyper-functionality of shiny steel and a flood of fluorescent light or warm, cosy and perhaps just a little twee. The HZI approach breaks down these silos – the kitchen space is deeply personal and therefore needs to be infused with a sense of soul but still be ergonomic and easily navigable.
One of HZI’s signature approaches is to incorporate a single ‘found’ object, an antique piece – be it an overscaled dresser or industrial lockers, for example – and combine them with a modern kitchen design. This juxtaposition of the old and soulful with the ultra-functional and contemporary informs the mood of the space, injecting it with a feeling of historical texture. We often combine these ‘found’ items with highly functional off the shelf kitchen units, from reputable brands – and this allows you to still have the sleek finishes of a modern kitchen without losing its humanity.
Furthermore, embrace the workings of your kitchen rather than hiding everything behind cabinet doors or tucked away in storage. Use open shelving as a means to display crockery and glassware in a way that gives them context within the greater scheme. This brings unexpected originality to the room and is a clever way of reflecting the personality and sensibilities of the homeowner.
A sense of charmisma and charm in the kitchen is vital – and quite easy to achieve. Colour is a brilliant way to not only refresh the space but invigorate it. A spectrum of cream and beige is passé and restrained to the point of completly lacking interest, so opt for vibrant hues of green or blue, which will create a sense of luxury. Or, for a kitchen on a tighter budget, graphic monochrome makes for a sensationally impactful look with relative ease.
Another aspect that is often overlooked is creative approaches to lighting. Because of it’s very functional nature, kitchen lighting has always been quite harsh, often fluorescent lighting that strips the room of any ambience and leaves it feeling clinical and, often, cold. For the team at HZI, this is something that is easily remedied by playing with scale and provenance. A over-sized industrial light hung low over a work surface or an antique chandelier creates drama and adds personality while still producing illumination. Even in the most modern kitchens, these re-contextualized pieces add warmth and a feeling of wanting to be in the space.
The most important thing to remember is this: the kitchen has become informal and highly social. While it still maintains it’s core functionality it’s embracing a new, highly eclectic and quite bold personality and the way it is decorated must follow suit.