I had the pleasure some weeks back of dining in New York City with Xavier Dupuy, president of La Cornue, my colleague and friend, Leslie Clagett from the blog KBCulture and a couple of PR people, always useful to fill in the blanks for a brand. I very much enjoyed this type of intimate setting.
I love up close and personal meetings with manufacturers. It helps me "get" the culture of the company which always trickles down to my understanding the quality of the product and the type of people who actually manufacture the product.
Mr. Dupuy spent a fair amount of time talking about his factory workers - the length of time many of his employees have worked for La Cornue along with past generations of these employees' families who also worked at the factory. Lots of interesting stories. In times like these, it's nice to hear that. Mr. Dupuy takes immense pride in those who manufacture his products. This was not a short conversation!
La Cornue is a luxury brand of ranges and rotisseries that are made in France. Now, La Cornue is expanding their line of luxury appliances by adding a collection of custom made cabinetry (complete with the familiar metal banding if desired) called Culinary Architecture Memoire and a collection of handcrafted sinks.
I've studied French kitchen design over the years. It's different. Here's why: the design emphasis is close to equal in regard to aesthetics and function. Function to the French (and to most other cultures other than, um, us in the US) does not mean that every single space gets filled for storage ... just because the space is there to fill.
The negative space of the room is strongly considered an aesthetically important piece to the design of the kitchen, equal or nearly equal to functional pieces. What does that mean? It means an "unfitted kitchen" or a collection of islands or sections of cabinetry is preferred as opposed to continuous "runs" of cabinetry such as L-shaped, U-shaped kitchens, etc. Minimum wall cabinetry is also a part of La Cornue's kitchen design philosophy to achieve areas where the eye can rest.
Of course, the cooking area is considered the most important piece of the design ... after all, we know how seriously the French take their cooking!
A lovely evening, interesting insight into a brand and its philosophy, gorgeous products.