The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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« Appliance Spotting At IMM Cologne - The Living Kitchen | Main | IMM Cologne - Kitchen Thoughts »

IMM Cologne - Living Kitchen Overview

The Living Kitchen show at IMM Cologne, held in Germany less than less than 2 weeks ago was kitchen heaven, purely and absolutely. The exhibits “told” many visual stories – whole stories, as the displays were large, some, enormous. I was a guest of Blanco (a bigger player in the global sink and faucet scene in terms of design and product presence than I realized) and was invited as a member of the Blanco Design Council. Here are some of the most compelling chapters in the book of today’s kitchen!

Chapter I Overview – The Living Kitchen was a very appropriate name for this show. Lowered “platforms” and varying levels for alternative living in the kitchen, a more “living room-like” aesthetic, the warmth of wood or faux wood, are a few of the specific features  which define this movement. Sinks and faucets are going along for the “living kitchen” ride and fabulous examples will follow. It is clear that style and function have met, fallen in love, and are planning for the future. Simply, it’s about living in the kitchen…see how:


Chapter 2 – Cabinetry designed as sculpture is a traditional strong point of European kitchen design but seems to take another step into integration with surrounding rooms, which is VERY exciting visually yet may also make that connection in a quiet and elegant way, the result of which can be a space which appears more expansive.


Chapter 3 – Appliance Integration and Technology – European kitchen design has always been the leader in integrating appliances (seamlessly.) Appliances, any type, are now fully concealed into cabinetry which replicates truly invisible cabinetry, and I would not even say they are integrated into pantry cabinetry; I would call it the built in closet look! In addition, exposed appliances are showing super seamless integration into countertop design.

One appliance which is not so much about integration is the hood – the hoods total transformation into a design element is complete. Whether your style is pretty, modern, super stylized or elegantly low profile, the hood is a wonderful opportunity to express oneself and I think that’s one of the feel good stories here!

Appliance technology is about energy efficiency, a variety of neutral color choices (very exciting to see) healthy cooking, and the ultimate: personal cooking flexibility-where would you like the burner positioned on the cooktop? And there’s more! A food preparation appliance that allows food to last in a refrigerator for 2-3 weeks – surely, a game changer! Examples to be shown soon!

Germany II 878

Chapter 4 – Natural real or natural faux materials – What this means is that natural wood grain rules…sometimes, the more textured the better, which adds visual interest, sometimes a little whimsy too. But, the story here is about an appreciation of nature in many forms.

Chapter 5 – Color - Well, the fun news is that the accent colors were clearly lime green. There were accents of magenta as well. The biggest color story was the greige, beige, mushroom neutral, which I have mentioned before. It seems that quiet and serene has spoken more loudly than color at this show, at this time. But, that is not to say that color was not present in bold, fun, ways. I'd say that its presence felt more focused than broad. I'd call it: "color optional." 


Sooooooo much more to talk about, all coming soon!!! Do you want to see more??

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Reader Comments (13)

Susan, wow, it's eye candy to see the beautiful German design. I travel to many of the European shows, but never this one. I have to put it on my list. I can't wait to see what you discovered for "living room" kitchen faucets. That is my expertise, and this sounds exciting. Keep the news coming. Did Blanco have some of these new designs?

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Koch

More please! This is like being there all over gain. Thanks!

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Anater

The kitchen interiors are so nice and beautiful. I love the colors that were being used.

February 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkitchen towel bars

Makes going to KBIS kinda depressing... Like Paul i would like to see more so I can stay in a drkuen stuper of fresh ideas never to be seen by the masses of NA.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterjustTimster

Wow - what a great show to go see, I can't tell you how much I would have love to have gone. If you've got more, please put them up, how else can those of us locked into NAmerica going to learn about what's going on everywhere else?


February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBob Borson

Julie, well, I'll tell you this...I was really surprised at how many displays had Blanco's sinks and faucets in them - it's an established, enormous, brand in general and the Germans seem to really embrace it. Their booth was always full too, which I noticed. Yes, I'll be going to this show again!

Paul, glad it's good memories, more is coming!

ktb: Thank you very much

justTimster, well, I cannot argue with you there, although in my pollyanna mode, I've never not found interesting and great things at KBIS, but visually and aesthetically it doesn't hold a candle to this show in Germany, no question.

Bob, Ok, I have LOTS of images...you asked, I'll deliver :)

February 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

February 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlaurenjanelle

Wow, such great ideas and so many things to think about when it comes to kitchen design. Opens up a new world to design ideas around the world! Thanks for keeping us in the loop. By the way I totally agree with more texture adding more visual interest. Definitely something I will pass on to our clients. Thanks again!!

March 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

Very fresh content. I specially like the concept" living kitchen". It makes more fun to work on the kitchen projects. It is not just the box but how everything relates to each other creatively by space design, color, form and technology.

What type of wood used on the last image Susan? Looks pretty interesting! It plays a very unique impression to the overall interior design. Love it!

I was surprised at how plenty of displays had Blanco's sinks and taps in them - it is an established, immense, brand in general and the Germans appear to embrace it.

April 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKitchens

Hi Susan,

This is a great post. Since we decided to have our kitchen redesigned, I found your blog and have been following it now for about 3 months. It's absolutely brilliant!

We're getting a kitchen renovation and in your last 2 posts the ideas the "Appliance Integration" has given us are absolutely brilliant! I will definitely be bringing some of your photos and sending your blog on to the guys that are creating our kitchen. "Beautiful beautiful beautiful" as someone said previously.

Thank you so much!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Do have a source for the utensil rack in the lime green circle cutout kitchen? I can't find any simple stainless bars--long 72"to 80". Any tips?

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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