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Trend spotlight: Mixed materials at 2018 EuroCucina

Efficiency and atmosphere — these were the two fundamental concepts which informed the choice of design fixtures and finishes on display at the EuroCucina kitchen exhibitions in Milan, 2018. Kitchens have evolved from their humble beginnings. We no longer use them, we inhabit them — we socialise and entertain over island benches as we prepare for a meal. These inviting spaces have become the heart of our homes.

Our smarterBATHROOMS+ design expert, Vanessa Cook, saw this shift in attitude reflected in kitchen designs at the EuroCucina in Milan, 2018.

“The colour palette, particularly in marble and natural stone materials, stood out to me straight away,” Vanessa says.  “Intricate marbles were used in most designs, displaying dark, moody colours more so than we have seen in current Australian interior trends. These pieces emphasised the island bench or even splash back as the focal point of a display. And when paired with mixed materials, like textured timber or porcelain cabinetry, all the elements combined to create an atmospheric and moody space.”

“Marble and natural stone benchtops are popular in Australia, but we are still favouring tile splashbacks,” Vanessa says, “whereas the kitchens at EuroCucina featured marble splashbacks that flowed seamlessly into benchtops.”

“In some cases, the splashbacks were almost non-existent. They were tiny, only 100mm or so. Above that, the wall was traditional painted plaster with open shelving installations.”

“The shelving itself was interesting. The open style blurred the line between kitchen and living spaces, reinforcing the idea that we inhabit these spaces.”

“You could move the shelves along a rail, transforming the kitchen into a customisable space. With this kind of modular furniture, two people could use the same kitchen model and end up with completely individual results.”

“Shelves were often made out of steel finishes, sometimes powder coated, and generally they were black. Tubular or folded black steel appeared in every second display. It doesn’t surprise me, given its popularity throughout bathroom displays — it’s going to transform Australian kitchens.”

We asked Vanessa what material she found the most interesting, or unusual. “Fluted glass in kitchen cabinets. It’s a material that rarely features in Australian kitchens. The texture, which acts as a distorting filter, created a layering effect that only added to the modality of each display.”

After exploring and discovering the most prominent design trends in Milan, it’s clear to Vanessa that kitchens and bathrooms are in sync. “It’s not surprising, given that the purpose of both areas has evolved — albeit, with different results. One is a retreat, the other a social area and yet both are spaces in which we are spending more time and, when designed well, can lift our moods and wellbeing.”

“It seems only natural that materials like black steel will feature in both bathrooms and kitchens. As both rooms are becoming modular with detachable or moveable furniture, these spaces are unique, yet in harmony.”


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