Design, any design, is an accumulation of influences and logic to arrive at a solution. Recognizing kitchens and bathrooms in their simplest form are purely a collection of large planes and purposeful, durable shapes, what other daily living product shares this similarity, Automobiles. In the case of kitchen and bathroom design, cars have a great deal of influence on the final product. Once you make the connection you won’t be the least bit surprised there are at least 8 ways cars make your kitchen and bathroom better.
On November 2nd at 2:00pm EST I’ll be hosting a live chat with KBtribechat on Twitter, follow along with the hashtag #kbtribechat, on this topic. Kitchen and bath industry professionals from all over the globe participate in weekly KBtribechats and to discuss the latest trends and need-to-know information for kitchen and bathroom design. Here is how cars have influenced kitchen and bathroom design and the questions for our colleagues on the November 2nd chat.
Cars have their intrinsic elements: wheels, engine, seating and controls, kitchens have theirs: cabinetry, countertops and appliances. Both have the same set of problems we as designers are tasked to solve, functionality, durability and oh yeah, its gotta have visual appeal. By looking at how automotive designers create attractive solutions, we can streamline our interior design process by building on what works.
Cabinetry for the kitchen and bath has been transformed with the use of frameless doors and drawers. Cars led the way. Frames are not exposed on a car, all doors (trunk, bonnet, fuel filler, glove box) are fairly seamless. Car design disposed of exposed hinges long ago, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry are on the same path. Exposed hinges are a dust magnet, why create a problem for a customer when the goal is to design a solution? Consumers today have a much higher tuned design aesthetic, they don’t want to view anything which does not add to the visual appeal.
Q1: Car doors eliminate visual hinges and frames. Do you use frame or frameless cabinets in your designs and why?
The use of stainless steel for functional items or pure visual embellishment is an important material used by car manufacturers, it is a classic. Just like with cars, in K&B stainless steel symbolizes quality and durability, Did you know Blanco, the German manufacturer of kitchen faucets and sinks actually has an automotive connection? BLANCO is the company trusted by Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce for stainless steel work included on their automobiles.
Q2: Stainless steel is a common element in cars and kitchens. How do you incorporate stainless steel into your designs?
Automotive manufacturers are constantly bringing new materials to consumers. Cars used to only have big metal bumpers, kitchens had big cast iron sinks. Metal was once the only bumper or body panel option on a car, today the workings are hidden behind gorgeous skins like this cool carbon fiber on the Pagani Huayra. In the kitchen and bath we have a number of new material or surface products to choose from.
Q3: Innovative materials drive the car industry. What new material choices to you like to use for K&B and how?
Automobile design trends shift back and forth throughout history from boxy to curvy. Giving an object or material the sense of sculpture is a popular design component happening now in the kitchens and bathrooms.
Q4: Today’s cars are sleek and curvy. How do you keep kitchen and bathrooms from feeling like a room full of boxes?
Technology is important in cars and kitchens. Consumers want to connectivity, they are used to digital screens which are clear and updated. Technology changes from model year to model year in cars, it has to, this influences buying decisions.
Q5: Cars keep adding tech. How are you incorporating latest technology into K&B and keeping your designs fresh and up to date?
Efficiency is another characteristic cars and kitchens have in common. Whether going from point A to point B or preparing a family meal people want to complete these tasks with ease. Good automobile designers put everything the driver or passengers needs within reach.
Q6: A good car is easy to use, a master of efficiency. What design elements make a kitchen efficient and easy?
A chief component of automotive interior design is comfortable seating and being ergonomically sound. Seating is supportive and adjustable. Not unlike a car where long commutes are not unusual, how much time one is seated in the kitchen is for a much longer period than many years ago.
Q7: Luxury cars have 18-way adjustable seats. How do you incorporate truly comfortable seating into the kitchen?
Luxury cars are all the rage and while every one can’t afford a $100,000 car, car companies are very adept at making moderately priced cars look and feel luxurious.
Q8: What are your tips for making a kitchen or bath luxurious without a big price tag?
You’re looking at your kitchen and bathroom a little differently now aren’t you. 🙂