We glean handy hints from W. Atelier general manager Daniel Magg, who shares more about how you can design culinary zones that look better and work harder
The kitchen’s new standing as the social hub of our homes has led to an emphasis on good-looking, functional designs. Rather than being hidden in a utilitarian area, the culinary space now takes centre stage and is incorporated into an open-plan living room; kitchen islands also often double up as workspaces for telecommuting.
The new requirements of a modern kitchen thus necessitate new needs, which include quieter and smarter appliances, clever storage systems, and new materials and finishes for cabinetry and other fittings to complement the rest of the interior.
And if you love sleek kitchen designs, one of the notable kitchen system brands to watch is SieMatic; in Singapore, it is represented by W. Atelier. The manufacturer has been crafting innovative culinary spaces since its founding as August Siekmann Möbelwerke in Löhne, Germany in 1929. The kitchen system brand has been in the Asia Pacific for more than 40 years, in markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, and China.
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In 1960, the premium manufacturer changed its name to SieMatic and became the first firm to develop handle-free kitchen cabinets, adding to its list of innovations, which also includes the first kitchen sideboards and S1, a unique handle-free kitchen with integrated illumination systems and hi-fi components. Its creations have won numerous international design accolades, including the iF Design Award, the Red Dot Design Award, and the German Design Award.
“SieMatic has shaped the industry over the years with intelligent solutions and design classics that redefine the kitchen as a living space,” says Daniel Magg, general manager for furniture at W. Atelier. “The brand places equal importance on the inside and the outside, and form is always in perfect harmony with function.”
Here, he offers handy hints on how you can design a minimalist, future-proof kitchen that melds functionality and good looks.
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What are the key kitchen trends we are seeing in 2022?
Daniel Magg (DM): Warm-toned, solid colours which are mostly matte, the use of ceramic on cabinet fronts and countertops, the use of light for recessed handles, glass cabinets, metal, and a lot of natural wood veneer. These will likely carry over into 2023, except I think that high-gloss fascias may come back, and natural stone, like Cosentino’s Sensa range, will become more important.
What are your top five tips for crafting the ideal minimalist kitchen?
DM: 1. Try not to use more than two colours or materials, to maintain a calm look and vibe. Minimalist kitchens also avoid the use of loud colours and often feature technical materials such as lacquers, metals, or laminates. This creates a more monolithic look compared to wood veneers.
2. Use recessed handles rather than onset [traditional protruding] handles, as objects that protrude will create too many focal points and divert attention from the kitchen design. For the same reason, steer clear of introducing too many lines and different door configurations into the design to keep the overall look quietly [understated].
3. Don’t use cabinetry with too many different widths, to keep the overall look symmetrical and maintain a good ratio between the cabinets and their outlines.
4. Fridges, wine chillers, and freezers should always be fully built-in, and appliances be from the same brand and line wherever possible.
5. Countertops and backsplashes should not have loud patterns, as they will create too many focal points and affect the [minimalist] appearance of the kitchen.
What are the must-haves in your own kitchen?
DM: A dishwasher, as it saves me plenty of time and money from water consumption, and is quieter and more hygienic than washing by hand. Having an oven and a separate combi-steamer also affords full flexibility for my meal plans, and an integrated wine chiller means the right wine to cook with and drink is always on hand.
A good water filter is also important, as is a sturdy stone countertop at the right height [for comfortable food preparation] and a good mix of cabinets and drawers for my diverse storage needs. Also, a proper storage solution for my knives because I have too many!
Which SieMatic product is your personal favourite?
DM: I like the SLX series, it radiates quiet luxury through its choice of materials [a marble-style ceramic block] and the integration of light [background illumination of the recessed channel]. In Singapore, our best-selling model is the SLX Pure; it is popular because it combines cutting-edge design and excellence in materials to bring luxury and warmth into a home.
What are some of the brand’s recent highlights?
DM: We premiered our new collection, Mondial, at Milan Design Week 2022, with exquisite materials and consummate finishing as its hallmarks. Geometric front designs contrast with elegant hand-selected natural wood veneer, while newly designed handles in anodised and brushed golden bronze provide a harmonious counterpoint.
What are SieMatic’s future business plans?
DM: In Singapore, we would like to expand our market share in the luxury segment. We are regularly honing our skills and knowledge of cutting-edge kitchen design and luxurious materials.