LuxeHomes Property Outlook 2017

Kitchen designers focus on good looks and functionality

A contemporary kitchen design reflects a sense of the owner’s individuality, with top-class cabinets and fittings and space for all the utensils a user might need

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2017, 10:30am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2017, 10:30am

Less isn’t more in the kitchen, these days, according to designers who plan them. With more people channelling their inner chef at home, whipping up beautiful, gourmet meals for family and friends, the kitchen is one place where the more functionality you have, the better.

“Good kitchen design needs to bring a surplus to the end user,” says Christiane Danielsmeyer, of Poggenpohl, a premier German kitchen company. The 125-year-old company, which professes to be the oldest kitchen brand in the world, develops its designs on concepts which are “unique, well-balanced and contemporary, without any flourishes.

“They are based on reduction and simplicity,” Danielsmeyer says.

“This approach offers multiple options for individual design, not only in the luxury segment.” According to Edina Wong, head of the residential leasing department at Savills, this approach is also a good fit for the Hong Kong market.

Many local developers, who are paying more attention to the fitout of kitchens and bathrooms in their project, are using Poggenpohl cabinetry, and fitting globally-branded appliances.

“Developers realise that the modern interpretation of a kitchen adds value,” Wong says. “Buyers don’t want to go into a new apartment and have to rip out the fittings and start again.” And the money they save on renovations can be put towards buying a better apartment.

Since one or two Hong Kong developers started this trend, others have followed, Wong adds. To the benefit of the buying and leasing public, developers are “retrying to outdo each other”. This has led to new-build kitchens routinely having an oven as well as a cooktop, a rangehood and coffee maker, often a steamer, and even a wine fridge.

In terms of the cabinetry, the look should be sleek and streamlined – especially since, unlike Hong Kong kitchens of old, the trend nowadays is for more open-plan, space-saving designs. Kitchen brands which tuck appliances inside the cabinetry have this down pat.

Counter tops should be durable, ideally in granite or stone, and storage plentiful, Wong says. In the modern kitchen, good looks and functionality go hand-in-hand.

Good kitchen design needs to bring a surplus to the end user
Christiane Danielsmeyer, Poggenpohl

Recent innovations have included a high-precision manufacturing technique developed by Poggenpohl whereby the front of the cabinetry merges with the inner carcase to form a seamless vertical line.

Design trims made of stainless steel-effect brushed aluminium bring variety to the front surfaces of the Poggenpohl P´7350 and can be placed in all functional areas of the kitchen. Further experimenting with contrast in colour, shape and texture, the brand has extended its lacquer expertise to chrome-plated, high-gloss finishes.

These are offered in 14 metallic shades such as diamond white, champagne gold, night blue or petrol green, available both in a modern, straightforward front design and as conventional framed fronts.

In the future, Danielsmeyer says, the classical built-in kitchens will be visually “lightened up” – compact functional areas will be split-off to elements which can be combined and positioned individually. “Special units offer new functions,” she says.

“We recognise a strong focus on individuality which will, among others, be expressed by unique furnishings. This major trend has a lasting effect on design.”

Leicht, meanwhile, has splashed into 2017 with pops of colour. Exclusively carrying the colours of Le Corbusier in its new cabinetry designs, the German kitchen brand has also engineered a worktop edge of which only 5mm is visible, and which matches identical coloured fronts, handles and worktops.

As for appliances, Wong says that the new breed of induction cooktops is proving popular with Hong Kong developers.

Since they only heat the surface of the hob which comes in contact with the cooking pot, induction cooktops are safer in small spaces, and help keep the kitchen temperature cooler and more comfortable.

The new TempControl induction cooktop units from Miele might also just make you a better cook.

The correct temperature is maintained at all times by sensors embedded in the ceramic screen, so there’s no risk of food overcooking.

Power is regulated automatically in a choice of three settings. Range 1 keeps the temperature at 160 degrees Celsius and is ideal for frying eggs, fish and most deep-frozen products.

Steak is best fried on Range 2 at a temperature of 200 degrees Celsius. Wok cooking is recommended at Range 3 (220 degrees Celsius). A signal sounds once the desired temperature is reached, so ingredients are only placed in the pan when the cooking oil is hot enough.