Cabinetry Features

Electronics in cabinetry

This is a letter I wrote to my colleague Nancy Hugo, who runs the website http://designerscirclehq.com. I wrote in response to a link she sent, showing a series of design ideas: http://www.designbuzz.com/contemporary-kitchen-design-ideas.html Hey Nancy - To me, these are like concept cars at an automobile show…some interesting ideas, but nothing that jumps out as really innovative in the realm of function. Mostly designed by people who have another agenda – appliances, for instance. Or some sort of “Transformers, the Muddling of Kitchen Design” approach. Also, if we’re going to innovate, we want LOW TECH solutions – there’s no reason to introduce electronics, for instance, unless there is a FUNCTIONAL reason to do so… The Blum electronics are a good example – the Aventos system which moves the closure (not exactly doors…) of upper cabinetry vertically as opposed to swinging it laterally. It then solves the problem of how to close the system when it has swung upward and out of reach: NOW we introduce an electronic closureand there’s a reason to do it. Their drawer system, capable of opening and closing drawers with a touch, seems to me superfluous with one brilliant exception: the trash pull-out.

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Should cabinetry extend to the ceiling or stop at a functionally useful height?

The key issue here is “how large is the room?”. By this I mean the perception of the space and the objects in it. This comes down to two choices: If the cabinetry runs to the ceiling, the room stops at the face of the cabinetry. If the cabinetry stops short of the ceiling, the room stops at the wall behind the cabinetry. What goes above the cabinetry is an aesthetic choice, “decorating” if you will; the decision to bring the cabinetry head away from the ceiling is (perhaps) more “architectural”. With the generally insidious economic pressure eroding technical expertise, the quality of available material deteriorating and the general understanding of the industry based on less and less knowledge (and ironically more and more “information”); lowered expectation of product quality forces us to re-think our approach to design. Making a 42″ (or even 36″) tall door on an upper cabinet runs much greater risk of warp than it once did. This should play into our design criteria when making a decision on this point. In general, I believe that if you have to get a stepladder to access something in a kitchen you’ve designed, at the very least you should have considered the necessity of the higher shelving, how much stuff you’re accumulating, etc.

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