Kitchens need to be functional and look smart these days. Functionality is achieved by planning carefully the space and make sure that the ergonomic rules are followed. With regards to the design, the first detail we would look at is the way we open doors or pull drawers. Our range of kitchens are handleless. Recessed channels by mean of aluminium profiles or carved recesses allow the grip on doors and drawers.
The recessed channels can be round or flat. When they're flat, we need to have slanted edges on doors or drawers to ensure the grip. With M2 we have around 22mm thick doors and a 35º angle on the doors edge, while with M3 the thickness of the doors is around 29mm and the angle 45º. M5 is characterised by a 60º slant on the top edge of the doors and a flat aluminium channel that runs horizontally under the countertop defining the recess for the opening (see image below). Our range of kitchens called M1 have round channels and flat doors edge, instead. Their look is pretty simple and functional.
There is another way to work out the door opening without compromising the streamlined design. It is to have a recess for the grip "shaped" on the doors and an opposite flat surface to which the doors close. This design can be achieved in different ways. M4 and M7 have a square recess "carved" on the doors. M6 is more complex. The recess is defined by a hidden aluminum frame, which holds the door panel at the same time (see image below).
The elegance of a modern kitchen comes also from having low kick-plates. Conventional solutions are based on plinths that are 100mm high or above, held by feet in PVC. Our kitchens have low metallic feet to hold plinths that are 60mm high. Low kick-plates or total absence of them increase the storage capacity inside the units and enhance the contemporary look.
Fully-integrated appliances is a must-to-have in a contemporary kitchen. We make sure that they perfectly fit into our units and that they are aligned with doors and gaps. A careful look into their characteristics is also required in complex kitchen designs.
Hideaway cupboards with pockets doors can conceal appliances and internal countertops. LED bars ensure that there are not dark spots inside the units. The concealed countertops can be built with many different materials. They can also be equipped with special electric outlets to improve the functionality of these additional surfaces.
45º bevelled edges can finish the corners and create a contemporary feel. M3 works with mitred edges so doors and countertops together create a "cube design". With kids playing around perhaps it's better not to go so far! The M3 range is also vailable with the innovative system of sliding countertops called M3 Sliding.
The sleekness is improved by arranging the floor units with inner pull-outs, so that the doors run in sequence without interruptions. M2 and M1 work perfectly in this sense as the doors opening can be arranged simply with a top recessed channel. Same as M5 (see images below). The internal drawers can be equipped with accessories to maximise functionality and comfort. More images and details on the interior of the units are available here.
Lastly, finishes to look at. We like subtle colours and matt shades, so we suggest to go for laminates or matt lacquers. Laminates such as Fenix-NTM® are robust and durable and so they represent our first choice. They also look pretty smart in white Bianco Kos or in the two tones of grey Grigio Bromo and Grigio Londra. Wood essences add a touch of warmth and elegance to contemporary kitchens. We love light essences such as European oak, natural elm and walnut in light tones like "cerato". Different shades of metallic finishes combined with natural stone like Carrara or Nero Marquina marble are pretty trendy these days. A selection of finishes and colours can be viewed here.
The choice of surfaces and splashbacks goes from natural stone, stainless steel or toughned glass, to machine-made products such as Corian®, Zodiaq® (now called Corian® Quartz) or any other innovative quartz surfaces. Few examples below.
Stainless steel It's durable, hygienic and easy to clean. Also, it looks extremely sleek and seamless with integrated sinks and gas hobs. Finishes such as brushed, vintage or the exclusive Durinox® can mitigate the issue of having many scratches visible on the surface already after a short period of use. However, we remind you that the beauty of stainless steel countertops sits on the material itself that keeps the signs of use by ageing.
Marble It's a metamorphic rock composed mostly of calcium carbonate. Its colour depends on the presence of mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand and iron oxides that show in grains or layers on the original sedimentary rock. The varieties of marble, and generally of the natural stones, are infinite and so each piece becomes unique. Marble worktops must be looked after and cleaned with extreme care. In fact, being porous they can absorb liquids resulting in stains. Also, being softer than granite, marble worktops can easily show scratches or signs of use.
Corian® Simple and versatile, it's the perfect match in minimalist kitchens. It's formed from a blend of natural materials, acrylic polymer and pigments, and it can literally be shaped into whatever form. Sealed during the installation, Corian® looks continuos and sleek with no joints. It can be sanded and fixed if a damage occurs.
Quartz An engineering stone made with a high-performance materials, delivering strength, and heat and scratch resistance. Originally, the pure and shiny quartz crystals were meant to be very visible on the surface and shine. These days, a new generation of quartz have achieved diversified and probably more interesting patterns.
HP Laminate Worktops Pretty popular in Italy, this family of versatile and hardwearing surfaces is made by compact panels composed by layers of cellulose fibres (normally paper) soaked in resin, joined through a process that combines action of heat and high pressure. The popular Unicolor or Fenix-NTM® can alternatively feature a particle board core with a laminate coating in different colours and finishes. HPL is a great choice when it comes to wrap around kitchen units using the same finish. It can also be extremely lightweight and easy to install.
Concrete It can be used in many different interior applications including kitchen countertops, and moulded to almost any shapes to create drainers and knockouts for sinks and hobs. Applied while liquid, it allows an infinite variation of colours and surface finishes. Polished concrete is stylish and sophisticated, and it probably represents one of the best choices in contemporary kitchens. If compact and smooth, it also ensures a high degree of hygiene and impermeability.
Glass Cool and contemporary, toughened glass is heat-resistant up to 400ºC and it's almost impossible to stain or scratch. Glass surfaces are available in any RAL colours given that these are simply applied on the bottom of the panels. The glass can also be satin or glossy finished adding further variations to the colours.
We can offer a wide range of choices on the electric appliances from brands that customers know and trust. Gaggenau, Miele and Siemens, just to mention few, are among the options. While the preference of integrated appliances versus free-standing appliances is quite straightforward in contemporary looking kitchens, the choice between the different type of hobs comes as a result of more reflections based on personal requirements and technical characteristics. Below few notes regarding hobs.
Gas Hob It's the most popular hob in professional kitchens, though the induction hob is gaining ground. Gas is easy to control and it distributes heat well across the base of a pan. It is also the most familiar to use. Any type of cookware can be used with gas.
Induction Hob It creates a magnetic field between the induction element in the hob and the pan, creating heat inside the pan but not from the outside of it. The induction hob is quicker than any other hobs and cheap to run as it uses a specific amount of energy to work. It's also safe as the surface, made of ceramic glass, instantly cools down after the use. The cookware made of magnetisable materials, perfect for the induction, are steel and cast iron. Pure aluminium or copper pans do not normally heat up with the induction, unless if not specified by the manufactures.
Ceramic Hob It is made of ceramic glass so it has a smooth and easy-to-clean surface like the induction. However, the heat distribution around the bottom of the cookware is not efficient as much as the induction. The heat is sourced trough a heat element sealed underneath the surface. The ceramic hob is easy to use and heats quickly. Pans with flat bases are the best to use, though it's recommendable not to drag them on the surface.
The notes above can hopefully guide you through an initial kitchen design. However, to design kitchens can be a complex process, which needs professional advice. So please do not hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your project and your specific requirements.
The images above regard Minimal's showrooms in Oderzo and Milan (Italy). Courtesy of Minimal srl