If one room in the home is changing more than any other, surely it’s the kitchen. Once a place to cook and clean the dishes, the humble kitchen is now the epicenter of modern family life, an ever-expanding and multi-purpose social hub operating day and night.
The global luxury kitchen industry is responding to this dramatic lifestyle change, designing entire new spaces, cabinets, ovens, cooktops, fridges, and an array of innovative and cutting-edge appliances and accessories to meet the burgeoning demand.
“There’s a whole new social aspect to kitchens,” says Lothar C. Birkenfeld, CEO of ALNO USA, the American arm of ALNO AG, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of kitchen furniture. “Cooking, entertaining, interacting with the kids – kitchens are now the center of the home.”
So what are the new trends in luxury kitchens for 2014? Ten market leaders dish on their latest offerings and how to design or remodel your perfect kitchen.
Italians have always been renowned for racy designs, but Bertazzoni’s latest kitchen range takes speed, efficiency, practicality and style to a whole new level.
Meeting the demands of today’s busy consumers, the company’s innovative Speed Oven can be used as a microwave, convection oven, broiler – or a combination of the three – to achieve oven-quality results up to three times faster than conventional cooking methods.
Founded in 1882, the world’s oldest family- owned manufacturer of ovens, ranges, cooktops and ventilation systems produces several other cutting- edge lines – including the Heritage, Master, Professional and Design Series – with styles ranging from classic to traditional and contemporary in a variety of materials and colors.
“The Speed Oven brings a new level of versatility to our existing product line,” says Valentina Bertazzoni, brand manager and sixth generation family executive of the company.
“It’s one of our most advanced products to date, combining innovative new cooking features with sleek Italian design.” us.bertazzoni.com
When designing or remodeling a new kitchen, the most important aspect may not necessarily be what the cabinets and counters look like, but having what you need accessible with efficient storage and work areas.
Porcelanosa USA’s GXXX Collection meets the challenge with highly functional and aesthetically beautiful designs featuring frameless cabinets and full extension drawers in sleek natural woods.
“We’re hearing from customers that storage continues to be a critical issue in the kitchen,” says Director of Sales and Marketing Santiago Manent, “and we are working on new door openings that maximize the space.”
“The preference for islands and peninsulas when space allows continues,” he adds, “and we don’t foresee that going away. We are also seeing a trend toward more visible and exposed cooking areas.”
When it comes to colors and textures, Manent says white continues to be the most popular color but users are also choosing to mix it with lacquers, wood veneers and stainless steel. porcelanosa-usa.com
“We develop our products with chefs. The quality is not just in the appliance, but also in the results,” says Kais Zaiane, CEO of Gaggenau North America. “There is a food revolution,” he adds, “and customers want the best. People are more aware today where their food comes from, and the same goes for kitchens. They want authentic materials, and they want them to last.”
A leading manufacturer of kitchen appliances for more than 300 years, Gaggenau has unveiled its most innovative oven to date, the new 400 Series featuring professional-grade stainless steel and glass elements with a TFT touch screen.
The Vario 400 Series stainless-steel cooktop is a sleek counterpart, accommodating any pot or pan size and featuring appliances like an in-counter steamer, electric grill, deep fryer and Teppanyaki griddle.
“People should adapt their kitchens and appliances to the way they cook,” advises Zaiane. “Start by investing in one piece that you love.”gaggenau.com
“There’s also a trend toward combining a wood accent, which might be a warm walnut or dark oak, with a white lacquer kitchen or another strong color contrast,” he adds.“There are more open kitchens,” states Bartolomeo Bellati, ounderandpresidentofMinimalUSA.“People are wanting to conceal appliances. Panels can be placed over refrigerators and dishwashers to look seamless, making kitchens look like sculpture.”
The New York-based company, with roots in Venice, Italy, offers kitchen customization services with a focus on both form and function. “Design is a critical element in a great kitchen,” says Bellati. “It should follow a certain proportion. And always consider the appliances you’re buying. They’re adding value to your home.”
While there is no one design that works for everyone, Bellati offers some options. “Try a marble or quartz stone that won’t show staining along with an elegant wood,” he says, “and pay close attention to lighting. It adds atmosphere.” minimalusa.com
“Home owners are getting back into the kitchen remodeling game and are focusing on both the design and utilitarian aspects of appliances,” says Kurt Jovais, vice president of Home Appliances, Samsung Electronics America. “The kitchen is the pride and joy of our company; it’s an exceptionally important element.”
One of Samsung’s newest offerings, the T9000 Convertible Four-Door Refrigerator, is among the cre?me de la cre?me of key appliances for anyone looking to upgrade their kitchen. Special features include French doors, recessed handles and sleek modern contours dishing up a contemporary look and feel.
Cutting-edge technology maintains the preciseness of commercial-grade humidity levels which have a major impact on food freshness. “We’ve been pushing the design aspect forward with easy-to-use appliances,” says Jovais.
“We’ve always been strong in refrigeration, and the T9000 is for someone who loves to cook and is serious about freshness,” he adds. Overall kitchen upgrade advice? “Assess your lifestyle and build your kitchen around it.” samsung.com
“We offer a host of innovations,” states Zach Elkin, director of brand marketing at Thermador, a market leader in kitchen appliances for more than 70 years.
“Our Freedom Induction Cooktop intelligently recognizes when there is a pot on it. The entire cooktop is a cooking zone,” he says of the sleek offering which also features the first touch screen of its kind. “Our Masterpiece Series gas cooktops are also unique because they feature a star burner,” he adds.
Also trending in the world of oven innovations: steamers. “The Thermador Professional Series Built-In Steam and Convection oven offers better browning and retaining of moisture and nutrients in food,” says Elkin. “With the steam oven, you don’t need oil and butter. It’s all about innovation driving performance.
Kitchen layouts are also changing. “In the luxury kitchen space, we’re seeing the microwave move below counter, and in refrigeration, customers are wanting the flexibility of separate refrigerators and freezers,” he adds. thermador.com
“When it comes to family life and entertaining friends, the kitchen has entered an exciting new era,” says Josef Steigmiller, vice president of Liebherr Refrigeration, The Americas.
“People want to cook at home with fresh, healthy food,” he adds, “and the trend in refrigerator design is toward a more ergonomic and sleek look and feel.”
Liebherr’s newest offering, the HC 2060 model, offers a luxe refrigerator of the future, featuring abundant shelving, customized food storage and LED lighting which is important for food and wine storage because it stays cool.
“Stainless appliances are still dominating the industry,” adds Steigmiller. “It’s a clean, stylish look and carries well across the kitchen to other appliances.”
Liebherr’s products come in standard sizes, so you can get the custom look at a lower price point. “Kitchen islands are also a focal point right now,” says Liebherr Sales and Marketing Executive Tammilyn Leyser. “Under-counter units for wine and beverage storage offer flexibility.” liebherr-appliances.com
“The interior should be as beautiful as the exterior,” states Hans Henkes, president and CEO of SieMatic Mo?belwerke USA, a leading manufacturer of luxury kitchen cabinets.
“This year we’re focused on the interiors of the kitchen elements,” he adds. “In an oceanfront property, you may have French doors open, the sea breeze coming in, and there might be some sand. We’ve just patented a unique dust seal which keeps your kitchen wares clean and pristine.”
Henkes advocates the importance of well-fitted internal spaces. “The way you structure your kitchen interiors – whether you need a USB space or a king-size compartment for large ladles and whisks – there are many possible combinations,” he says.
For a kitchen makeover, don’t worry about following just one look. “The design of a kitchen doesn’t have to be one style or one finish,” adds Henkes. “You can be a little classical and a little minimalist – it’s all about how you combine it.” siematic.us
“Integrated technology will continue to be a major kitchen trend for 2014,” observes Kathrin Pfeifer, product manager for Miele, a market leader in stainless steel appliances and kitchen products.
“Consumers today demand technology integration,” she adds. “Most ovens are no longer a single-focus appliance. Instead, the ability to create multi-functional products that combine dual technology, such as convection and microwave or steam technology, are becoming the norm. One example of this is our new Miele Combi-Steam Oven.”
Pfeifer’s thoughts on kitchen aesthetics? “Consumers, especially in the high-end luxury market, continue to seek a fully integrated design combining stainless steel appliances that have a flush finish with their cabinetry,” she says. “This creates an understated elegance that can be very stylish.”
She believes the nature of modern kitchens is also changing. “Integration is especially important as kitchens move away from being just places to cook and toward dual function rooms, combining dining and living spaces.” mieleusa.com
“Bosch’s design philosophy is deeply rooted in our rich German heritage with strong connections to Bauhaus, one of the most influential currents in modern architecture and design,” says Micaela Shaw, the company’s brand manager. “There is a current trend and passion for flush installation for all appliances, so they seamlessly blend in with the rest of the kitchen,” she adds. “Our newest wall ovens make it easy to replace and upgrade existing appliances.
“Rather than having two ovens stacked, you can install two ovens side by side or have a wall oven, steam convection oven, and warming drawer side by side for one seamless, yet highly functional kitchen design.”
Bosch’s newest offerings? “Our cutting-edge 800 Plus Wall Ovens now feature a side hinge door for easier access to the wall oven cavity,” says Shaw. “Not only is this a stylistic design choice with flush installation, but a convenient and safer option. Consumers want options when designing a kitchen.” bosch-home.com