EuroCucina 2018

EuroCucina 2018

Contemporary kitchen trends are sophisticated and technological with cooking surfaces and sinks tucked out of sight beneath sliding doors and luxury benchtops.

Photo courtesy Saverio Lombardi Vallauri

Author

Cass Proudfoot

Major kitchen trade show EuroCucina is arguably the top-rated kitchen expo in the world. Held once every two years, this is the one that all the big players attend. EuroCucina sets the trends in kitchens and kitchen furniture and has a lasting impact on the industry, with design ideas radiating outwards over time, and eventually ending up in our home kitchens.

EuroCucina 2018 was held in Milan, Italy at the end of April. The event brings together renowned manufacturers, designers and professionals in the kitchen design field, as the world’s top kitchen brands reveal their visions for the future of cooking, dining and entertaining.

New designs, materials and concepts are presented and innovative technology is demonstrated by 111 exhibitors in enormous display pavilions ranged over an area of 21,800-square metres. The event is bigger every year, and 2018 saw 434,509 visitors from 188 countries, an increase of 17 per cent over the 2016 EuroCucina display.

This year, Tommy Arvanitis from Blum Australia Pty Ltd attended for the first time, and hosted a group of architects and designers on the ‘Experience the Blum Difference’ tour. Interior designer Angela Gianakis, chair of the HIA South Australia K&B Committee, attends every two years without fail, and Melanie Craig had her second visit to EuroCucina after a long break. She came away with renewed design inspiration, and a vow to get out of the office and back on the design tools!

EuroCucina 2018
‘It was clear that there was a desire for new finishes and exploration of using different materials’
Photo courtesy Saverio Lombardi Vallauri
EuroCucina 2018
'There’s now a lot of glass in cabinets. With these feature cabinets you do have to keep the cupboard spotless'
Photo courtesy Saverio Lombardi Vallauri

Melanie Craig

‘This was my second time at EuroCucina. The exhibition is massive, the first time was quite overwhelming, but this time I was mentally prepared. Coming all the way from Kiwi Land we are just not practised with crowds of people!

It’s 22,000 metres squared which is huge. That entire space is filled with new designs. It’s not like any exhibition that you would have seen [elsewhere].

There’s so much buzz across the four days, excited designers looking for new ideas, exhibitors bursting to share their stories.’

Tommy Arvanitis

‘This [year] was my first time. Comfortable shoes are a must and having a considered approach to how you navigate through the halls. It is easy to get caught up in the design and beauty and lose track of which aisle you have been down when the best of European kitchen manufacturers are sharing their best work all in one area.

Part of our Blum global product development is to provide new product innovations to kitchen manufacturers at EuroCucina. It is a great opportunity to see new product developments in situ and how fast the top manufacturers and retailers in Europe adopt new product development from Blum. It also gave me the opportunity to engage with our customers and represent Blum on a global scale.’

Angela Gianakis

‘I try to attend every time. Anyone who has an interest in design should make a trip.

I realised again that Australia is really not behind in design. We do live a completely different lifestyle here, which is good in a way, as we have to make the trends work for us, and make them our own, rather than just copying what we see in Europe.’

Big trends in 2018

This year the large kitchen manufacturers displayed smooth, serene and perfectly calibrated surfaces, made from fine materials and boasting increasingly cutting-edge technology (internal fittings, hinges and sliding systems). The years of cute woodsy country kitchens, or cool industrial models, are well and truly over.

‘What a relief that is,’ Angela Gianakis says.

‘That cold industrial look just does not work in many homes.’

A sophisticated and modern look has taken hold with endless horizontal surfaces made of stone or steel, and large vertical surfaces composed of laminates, coloured glass or precious timber. The traditional floor units and hanging kitchen cupboard units have lost ground to the seamless solid effect, achieved with full height handle-less door fronts in subtle but interesting colours or textures.

Benches are both taller and deeper, leaving more room for small accessories, and standing out as a design item in their own right. Kitchens have assumed a general ‘architectural construction’ tone with smooth walls of cupboards as the backdrop, and statement benches and even extractor fans providing visual impact in shape and interesting materials.

The kitchen bench

This year the kitchen bench became a star of the kitchen-design show, with impossibly thin surfaces on display, next to statement stone benchtops up to 10cm thick. The bench has become a refined piece of furniture, not just a cooking or eating surface.

In fact table eating is making a comeback, with separate dining settings re-emerging, while the bench is now anchoring itself back into the functional cooking side of the kitchen with clever technology, rather than simply forming an extended eating surface. And the technology slides away when not in use, to leave clean lines and smooth surfaces on display.

Angela Gianakis

‘The bench is more like an item of furniture in its own right, not just part of the kitchen now: sinks have sliding covers, benchtops move horizontally on islands and hide sinks. It’s all about ease of movement and everything is wired in.

This year benches are really thick, or really thin. They are 100mm or 10mm and everything is smooth and sleek. For the surfaces stone is everywhere, and I did notice stone benchtops wrapped up the wall as splashbacks, that was a big trend.

Stone was also used with timber as a feature. Timber might be stools at the bench, or some bowls on the bench, or form the ends of the bench itself.’

Melanie Craig

‘It was a blessing to see that Italian kitchen designers are moving away from seating around the island, where we were seeing more furniture-like finishing on the island, with beautifully crafted pieces. Social kitchens (with bench seating) have been at the forefront in New Zealand kitchens for years. We had already started noticing a trend away from this in our design work.

This theme was followed through when we entered the furniture exhibition halls. The dining tables were larger and solid with stunning seating arrangements, the use of single dining chairs, some longer bench seating with backs all with matching yet different materials and finishes and comfortable to sit in while you enjoy the conversation of the table. Striking.

This resonates with what our clients are telling us. The kitchen island has been great, however in society we are losing our dining experience with our friends and family. More clients are letting us know that they are tired of everyone sitting around their island and kitchen sink, with the dining table not getting used as regularly as it perhaps should.’

EuroCucina 2018

The Experience

Attending EuroCucina is an immersive experience, with acres of displays showing kitchens in all their forms, shapes, textures and cutting-edge technical abilities. Exhibitors give it their all, with many displays costing more than the average home kitchen.

Attendees told Housing they found the 2018 Milan exhibition to be huge and exhausting, but very inspiring and rewarding.

Angela Gianakis

‘I saw a lot of very, very clean lines. And one-touch open cupboards. Something that was impressive was all the technical detail with cupboards that slide up and down, cupboards that open vertically. At the moment it is all about movement.

The smooth surfaces create a wonderful backdrop, but you still need to break that up through design. There were a lot of floor-to-ceiling cupboards with shelves used as a feature.’

Melanie Craig

‘Double-action kitchens are [a trend I may not adopt]. When you have large seamless fronts, then you have to open the drawer inside. Double-action looks good, but for consumers it has poor function.’

Tommy Arvanitis

‘Throughout the displays it was clear that there was a desire for new finishes and exploration of using different materials on drawer and door fronts. There was not a white cabinet carcass in sight. With handle-less design being prevalent, motion- assist products such as TIP-ON BLUMOTION or SERVO-DRIVE for drawers. Simply push on the front to open, instead of having the need for handles impacting the look and feel of the kitchen design.’

Smooth sleek cupboards

A big trend this year was long, smooth surfaces with floor-to-ceiling cupboard doors, unbroken by handles or drawers, just seamless blocks of clean, clear colour or texture. Drawers are still popular, but now tucked away behind tall smooth doors, opening at the light touch of a hand.

Glass doors

2018 also saw a lot of glass cupboard doors, with beautiful kitchenwares on display behind big, long glass doors. Glassware and decorative glass also featured.“There’s now a lot of glass in cabinets. With these feature cabinets you do have to keep the cupboard spotless”

Angela Gianakis

‘I loved the clean lines and all the glass cleverly incorporated into the design. Glass was everywhere I looked and LED lighting was a feature. I saw glass in grey, smoked, bronze, clear – I even saw purple.

There’s now a lot of glass in cabinets. With these feature cabinets you do have to keep the cupboard spotless. Unless you like cleaning – they are not the best feature for everyone. Clever designs used sliding doors, to keep things on display or not.’

Tommy Arvanitis

‘With the inside counting as much as the outside, there was a display of cabinetry that had glass doors or a decorative glass door, so the inside of the cabinet could be seen.

LEGRABOX drawers from Blum provided the colour and design that helped extend the aesthetic beauty of the outside of the kitchen to the inside, while CLIP top BLUMOTION in onyx black merged into the sleekness of the darker interiors.’

Melanie Craig

‘We saw a lot of glasswork to house display wares. This is stunning when you have 24 wine glasses the same, four decanters and then a full whiskey set. In a functional kitchen huge areas of glass display are not for our local consumer.’
EuroCucina 2018
'The smooth surfaces create a wonderful backdrop, but you still need to break that up through design'
Photo courtesy Saverio Lombardi Vallauri
EuroCucina 2018
‘This year benches are really thick, or really thin ... everything is smooth and sleek. For the surfaces stone is everywhere’
Photo courtesy Saverio Lombardi Vallauri

Angela Gianakis

‘Manufacturers, designers and anyone who has an interest in design should make a trip because if you are interested in what is happening and what others are doing [it’s a great opportunity to improve your knowledge]. I will be back in 2020.’

Tommy Arvanitis

‘It is more and more becoming a collective of like-minded people around the world coming together to see the kitchen designs and any new kitchen technology. It extends around Milan in kitchen showrooms and Fuorisalone where a schedule of design activity occurs around the city.

I think anyone in the industry designing, building, and students would get a lot out of being surrounded by that.

Being surrounded by like-minded people in the industry and to see how they are using our hardware to bring their design to life is inspiring.’

Melanie Craig

‘If I can make a EuroCucina 2020 visit happen I will be there with bells on. Not only is it the design fair but it is picking yourself up and moving into a completely new environment, language, living, dining. You can forget the norm and once again reboot.

For the last seven years of our 16-year-old business I have been managing, growing and overseeing the design works. The trip to Milan this year has completely recharged me. I have walked back into our Wanaka studio where our team is running a great ship and I have purchased another CAD key and a desktop computer. I’m giving away the day-to-day management and I’m back on the tools. I’m ready to rock and roll!’

The attendees

EuroCucina attracts top exhibitors, and is a drawcard for designers, makers and installers at all stages of their career. The event attracts joiners, benchtop makers, lighting designers, furniture makers and even design students. This biennial Milan design fair demonstrates upcoming kitchen trends, and provides design inspiration for the years to come.

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