BLANCO Sinks & Faucets At Living Kitchen 2013

Just a few days ago, I returned from my trip to the fabulous Living Kitchen international kitchen show at IMM Cologne in Germany. This was my second trip to the Living Kitchen show at the invitation of BLANCO. This time around I paid my own way (except for a few fabulous dinners with the BLANCO team) because I wanted additional flexibility in my schedule while there...not that there wasn't an ample amount of free time-I just wanted complete of course, I ended up attending nearly every event!

One section of BLANCO's dramatic booth!

I am a member of the BLANCO Design Council, which is truly an honor, as I have the opportunity to contribute to shaping product design and strategy from time to time. BLANCO, while a global brand, has a corporate culture that in my experience with the company over a number of years, feels like a small, local, company (a good one!) The CEO, Achim Schreiber, greets, chats with and listens to anyone and everyone in a casual, friendly, way. I didn't realize who he was when I was chatting with him last week. I thought he might be a local BLANCO distributor or a regular, friendly, guy who had something to do with BLANCO till I found out later. He's relaxed, easy going, friendly and a great listener-a lovely man.

All others connected to BLANCO-in Europe, Canada, US and elsewhere whom I've met over time, are also every bit as friendly and positive from my experience. I have to say, having an interest in "corporate culture", I often observe and try to figure out a company's vibe over time, by connecting the dots from different types of communications and other experiences. I'm convinced that the values of a corporate culture, as has been said before by others, travel from the top down on roads that are either positive, negative, fearful, confused, apathetic, passionate, good enough and so on. BLANCO's U.S. team, a truly great group of people, has a genuine dedication to, and belief in the brand that is remarkable, but let me also say, very well placed.

From my point of view, BLANCO, the corporation, takes the positive, socially intelligent, and passionate paths - from the top down - to create an absolutely superb range of products that has that desirable mix of precision engineering and beauty. BLANCO's products are at once on trend and reflective of a classic modern design which renders them timeless. BLANCO does a whole lot of things right. They know their customer...very well.

Ok, time to see some of the gorgeous products that I shot from the show floor. Some products are not available in the US, many are, but the point here is to help you experience that special mix of design and engineering. Take a look at swoon-worthy kitchen sinks and faucets!

Above: The new BLANCOLIAN kitchen faucet

Above: Note the understated, elegant color, Truffle, the continuity of the flowing lines of the drainboard and the stainless steel rack, the simplicity of the drain cover, and the overall form of this top mount sink.

Above: BLANCO's new faucet, BLANCOHOT, that supplies both near boiling water as well as normal hot and cold water from a single spout

Above: Simply, precision stainless steel sink and faucet

Above: A sink with a beautiful form featuring an edge with an interesting, modern dimension

Above: A beautiful island in BLANCO's booth - note the faucet that can be lowered to the sink surface and covered with the cutting board - flexible design

Above: Seamless, stunning, stainless steel

Above: Another shot of this fully integrated, elegant stainless steel BLANCO SteelArt sink and countertop

Above: A new faucet by BLANCO which is easy to operate-ideal for universal design purposes by twisting the soft black section back and forth and side to side to operate flow and temperature

Above: A new take on mixing materials - note the stainless steel trim, the indestructible Silgranite material in the sink and coordinating finishes in the faucet - elegant

Above: BLANCO's new color, Cinder, with matching color on the faucet as well as a useful sink, sectioned off by a lower separation for design flexibility, once again

Above: BLANCO SteelArt, useful and beautiful - I could see this paired with a wood countertop for those who are fearful of mixing sinks with wood tops

Above: Simply, a close up of that precision engineering - I happen to really love BLANCO's use of stainless and matte colors on their faucets

I hope you have enjoyed these shots and that they communicate BLANCO's dedication to quality and design!


Le Tour de France - French Country Kitchens

I'm engrossed in le Tour de France, the fabulous cycling event which takes place across France each July for 3 weeks, ending in Paris on the last day. I watch it every day it's on (truthfully, morning and night) and am emotionally transported to the beautiful small villages, the stunning landscape, fields of sunflowers, majestic mountains, and amazing 11th century chateaux...and, the fierce cycling competition too! There are few sights as beautiful as the peleton racing across the French landscape.

Image by Graham Watson

So, what if one were to visit le Tour and rent a Chateau as many do? It's on my list to do one year. Take a look at some of these wonderful, authentic, French country kitchens found in homes and chateaux scattered across the Loire Valley, in today's Stage 8. These are beautiful homes to rent (but I'd also like to rent a chef to cook French cuisine, right?) Images from Luxury Retreats

Below, a classic French style - the hood blends into the architecture in a seamless way, the cabinetry is traditional with mustard color on the island as well and is sort of built into a sort of foundation which defines the kitchen. 

Below, this one may be my favorite. It's SO gorgeous yet simple. The white (and white hood) form a light and spacious backdrop. The red tile backsplash is a perfect focial point to the cooking area. The wood beamed ceiling is beautifully graphic and other simple lines update this otherwise traditional French Country look.

Below, another traditional kitchen. Creamy, dreamy, warm monochromatic colors with minimal contrast. Of course, who would not want a cooking fireplace/oven in the kitchen? The sink is sensual and the terracotta tiles, while out of fashion right now, are classic, timeless, and wonderful.

Below, this dining room is: (pick your adjective!) Again - that creamy color throughout all architectural surfaces in various textures creates perfect flow. Even furnishings, doors and trim blend in seamlessly. Defines a timeless look in my opinion. 

Below: Fabulous. The shots of red are the glam that many French interiors incorporate so effortlessly - it's like it's in the dna of the population! Here we have warmth, coolness, color, texture, clean surfaces - an interesting mix of contrasts.

Below, I think when dining in this room, the conversation MUST be stimulating, don't you? It certainly sets the scene for joy, frivolity, and good times. The open doors to the outdoors add the element of nature and light.

Below, a small but awesome kitchen! Wow, just look at these elements - the copper pieces above the integrated hood, at one with the architecture of the room. The built in rotisserie and fabulous cooking center. A rustic sink and rustic built in/inset cabinetry. And that mustard colored striped table linen - love!

Below, some drama is clearly going on in this kitchen - the dark, rich, brown/black tones of tile surround built in cabinetry in this traditional design. Not the most beautiful kitchen, but the simple shapes, forms, colors and textures do bring style to this kitchen.

Somehow, I think I'd be happy with any meal that is prepared in these kitchens! They look like cooks' kitchens. I'd also love to tour each one to look closely at all materials used and to just sort of drink in the feeling of an authentic French Country kitchen. A cultural authenticity is the thread across these kitchens - can't you just feel it?

To see other posts I've done on le Tour in previous years, take a look at this post on French Country kitchens and this one on kitchens in French Chalets. This is such pure pleasure for me, I may add more throughout the Tour in the coming weeks. Do you like the French Country style?