The kitchen is the go-to place in any home. Where is he/she/the cat/the dog/? In the kitchen, most likely. Has anyone seen my phone? It’s probably in the kitchen. We need to talk seriously about Granny’s new toy boy, but where? Let’s go to the kitchen. If ever a room in a house were used for everything other than that for which it was designed, it has to be the kitchen.
Artcile by Vivion O’Kelly
Unless the kitchen is by UDesign. Their kitchens, in most cases, do not even look like kitchens, but don’t be fooled: these living spaces have been designed to cook and prepare food in, above all else, but the way we tend to use kitchens in general plays a very important part of their design concept. Quite simply, they design kitchens for cooking in and for living in, almost always as part of an open-plan architectural entity that includes a dining room, living room or both.
Here are our top 10 kitchens, each as good to use as they are to simply look at. Which is your favourite?
1-The Golden Kitchen – 105 Marbella Hills
The area it occupies is relatively small, by comparison with the rest of this property. What makes it appear large is its height, and the distinctive vertical lines and shapes that reach upwards. Height is an asset that UDesign take full advantage of, and tend to ensure that none of their kitchens will ever force too many chefs to bump elbows.
Very little colour, other than on the stool tops, make the gold surfaces especially important: they reflect all the other colours in the surrounding area. The working part of the kitchen is confined to a central rectangular unit with a surround large enough to make it unobtrusive.
2-The Minimal Kitchen – Cayman Islands
This is a gem of a kitchen. Small, minimalist, almost not there: it does its job quietly and efficiently, not even daring to block the view of the lush vegetation outside. Nevertheless, it seats six people comfortably when in use, and when not in use, it retires quietly to its corner and waits for the next meal.
3-The Rolls Royce Kitchen – Eaton Square, London
City kitchens seldom have views, but in this case, the views are inside. Look across at the magnificent wine racks. Look high up to the industrial-chic skylight. Look anywhere in the house and admire the views, from the kitchen or from any other room. This kitchen exudes classiness, and it takes little imagination to see oneself seated comfortably at this dining room table discussing solutions to the world’s problems or the latest episode of Coronation Street with the aplomb of the privileged few.
4-Industrial Chic – The Garden Villa, Marbella
The thin vertical lines running down from the ceiling give a hint of industrial chic to this subtly toned space. This state-of-the-art kitchen with its rich browns and greys make for an entity that is above all, easy on the eye. The essence of this design is not colour, but tone – the beautiful tones of the different materials used and their natural surfaces. Wood and stone predominate, while the necessary kitchen elements, such as taps, ovens and working areas, are used as design details essential to the whole.
5-The Party Kitchen – Villa Ibiza
Ibiza says colour, light and natural beauty, and it’s all here in this kitchen-cum-dining room. Ibiza also says party time, and that too is what springs to mind on first seeing this work of interior design excellence. The architecture helps too, a high-ceilinged area flanked on side by unbroken glass, allowing for a view of the beautiful island landscape that is second to none. If we had the picture we would show it, but picture it in your mind’s eye: a scene of happy people moving between dining table and kitchen area while the host prepares the next course. Which of us would not love to be there when that happens?
6-Simply Berber – Tangier, Morocco
Moroccan cities are a feast for all the senses, and it would indeed be difficult to say which senses are most used in the ancient and exotic city of Tangier. The women dressed in the colourful costumes are Berbers, and they wear all the colours of the rainbow. This simple kitchen has been designed to reflect some of these colours in the context of contemporary design. The table appears to float like a magic carpet, and the light chairs reflect the basket work that agricultural produce is carried in from the surrounding countryside, while the light filaments could be Arabic letters. The mural behind is the only easy give-away to location. A simple lifestyle that breathes new life into Western sensitivities, and a simple kitchen designed to perfection.
7-Chameleon Delight – Villa Alkaana, Sotogrande
Hiding in plain sight, this kitchen has been designed to understate its design. The focus is on the dining area and its walls of natural landscape beyond, while the kitchen sinks into the background. For aficionados of kitchens, it may not be the most exciting ever seen, but for the rest of us, this is a kitchen that does not intrude on the main attraction. It is almost not there, and if a guest does look across at the kitchen, they will see a beautiful arrangement in light tones, whose lights form a simple geometric pattern reflected in the legs of the island and the lines on the wall behind.
8-Marble Opulance – Villa Nuraya, Marbella
Simplicity of shape, complexity of tone. This kitchen, especially as seen in the second image, is a glittering study in browns and greys. Symmetry is the key to the design, with not an even six, but five seats against the island, and five lamps overhead, all as plainly seen as a chameleon on a marbled surface. There are no visible signs of kitchen fittings here, although a closer look will reveal a tap in the centre of the backsplash. Otherwise, this is a beautiful tableau of marble, metal, glass and not much else to suggest a working area.
9-Dark Chocolate – Villa Serenity, Italian Riviera
The darker the chocolate, the less sweet it is, and this dramatic kitchen could hardly be described as sweet. At least, not compared to the following on our list. But it has a magnificent serenity that does justice to the name of the villa. Unusually for a UDesign kitchen, some shelving is visible in the backsplash, and a view of the kitchen also includes a view of the shelving upstairs. This is, however, a necessary part of the design, breaking up the otherwise severe lines in black and white that define this beautiful and elegant kitchen’s shape.
10-The Streamline Kitchen – Vista Lago Residences, Marbella
A delightfully light and airy kitchen in closely matching tones, accentuating the spot colour in the chairs. In a way, this is a backdrop kitchen that makes the most of a bunch of flowers or a bowl of fruit left on the counter. The architecture is simple geometry, with a minimum of thin dark lines drawn vertically and horizontally as visual equilibrium demands. Here again, the kitchen tap is a minor but important design element, unbalancing the equilibrium in a way that, in fact, accentuates it.
All kitchens in the feature were designed by UDesign