Parallel universe

With their sleek knife-edge benchtops, stainless steel cabinets and solid marble, these twin islands are command central for a busy household
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
View of open-plan kitchen and living area featuring architecture, home, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, gray, black
View of open-plan kitchen and living area featuring polished concrete flooring, white sofa, island, stainless steel and black marble cabinetry.

Paring back a design so that it expresses a kitchen's pure functionality can provide a strong visual impact.

This kitchen an integral part of the living area in a contemporary new house designed by architects Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon evolved from such an approach.

"The design was driven primarily by the magic triangle the dynamic relationship between the sink, cooking centre and refrigerator," says Hay. "At the same time, the kitchen needed to work on a social level, as the heart of the family living area. Effectively, we wanted the kitchen to provide the same views and social interaction as the living room.

"In terms of the hierarchy of the home, the kitchen is not on a level removed from the best position it's right there."

To reinforce the kitchen's sense of importance, Hay wrapped the front and sides of two 4.5m-long stainless steel islands in black Nero Marquina marble. Two vertical bays at one end are faced with stainless steel, but backed with hand-rendered dark oxide plaster.


View of open-plan kitchen featuring polished concrete flooring, countertop, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, major appliance, white, black, gray
View of open-plan kitchen featuring polished concrete flooring, island with stools, stainless steel and black marble cabinetry, appliances, lighting.

"The dark marble and black rendered plaster elements form the kitchen's shell a cocoon that envelops the stainless steel cabinets," Hay says.

With recessed stainless steel toekicks, the cabinets appear to float above the floor an effect that helps to visually lighten the mass.

"The open-ended design creates a kitchen in the round," says Hay. "It provides a bit of theatre. But the layout means everyone can be involved in the production there are several workstations and more than one person can work at the same time."

To further enhance the sleek, rectilinear look, the benchtops have a 6mm knife edge, which slants back to provide a 20mm-thick top.

Darren Lloyd of Trend-Wood Kitchens, the manufacturer of the kitchen, says the drawers also feature negative detailing, with a 45° profile edge forming handles.

View of open-plan kitchen featuring polished concrete flooring, architecture, countertop, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, gray, white
View of open-plan kitchen featuring polished concrete flooring, island with stools, stainless steel and black marble cabinetry, appliances, lighting.

"Every aspect of the design was a direct expression of the functionality," says Hay. "For example, the open shelving makes it easier to reach the plates. We didn't need to create another layer to the cabinetry.

"Similarly, the vertical bays are almost like a butler's pantry, without the door. The tall cabinetry obliquely screens the open shelves from the seating area, so there is no obvious clutter on display."

As an integral part of the living space, the kitchen opens to the outdoor living areas.

"Essentially, the doors and windows evaporate so the entire pavilion is directly connected to the garden beyond," says Hay.

Aug 28, 2009

Credit list

Kitchen manufacturer
Benchtops
Stainless steel from Pacific Stainless
Oven, cooktop and dishwasher
Miele
Sink
Hans Jumbo
Cabinetry
Fabtech brushed stainless steel by Trend-Wood Kitchens; Nero Marquina marble from SCE Stone
Ventilation
Parmco
Bar refrigerator
Vintec
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