Friday, 18 January 2013

Cooking up a storm

Philippa Turrell visits Cologne for the second showing of Living Kitchen to see the future influences in kitchen design and planning

It's hard to believe that LivingKitchen has only had one prior outing, its launch in 2011. This show has rapidly developed into a mature event, supported by large-scale kitchen brands. The exhibitors spanned recognisable German names, as you may expect from a show in their domestic market, but  it had  attracted manufacturers from across Europe and even further afield.

Kitchen furniture had very obviously been influenced by nature, with timber a key theme across stands. Whether veneers, woodgrain laminate or even an intriguing basket weave-effect, the outdoors had been brought into the kitchen living space. And this very natural look was joined by judicious splashes of bold colour, from bright red and orange through to yellows and even pink.

But designers could take away more inspiration than just the latest door decors, exhibitors had created room sets showcasing best practice in kitchen planning. Niches within furniture runs not only created visual interest, but also added practicality to kitchen design by providing illumination, shelving and in one case a picture frame, low level seat. And moving further away from the traditional kitchen design, asymmetrical wall units, combined with open storage, sees it seamlessly blend into neighbouring social spaces.

But what separates the kitchen from other living spaces is the need for it to prepare and cook food. And, here, the focus was firmly placed on induction hobs, steam ovens, hot water taps and a soon to be launched £9,000 coffee tap (controlled by an iphone app) as the requirements for modern kitchen schemes. 

Certainly LivingKitchen showed that this room has not only come of age in interiors, they have now become the ground floor interior. Although few UK designers or dealers seem to have taken the time to attend, according to UK manufacturer representatives, for those serious about kitchen styles and planning, this event is a must-visit.


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