Contest Entries Give a Glimpse of What’s to Come
Madison, Wis. (Sept. 29, 2006) – Over the past 14 years, Sub-Zero and Wolf’s Kitchen Design
Contest has evolved into one of the most coveted “wins” in the kitchen design industry. In
addition to attracting hundreds of entries from the best of the best in kitchen design, each
Kitchen Design Contest serves as a sneak peek at the materials, appliances and overall design
tones that soon make their way into the kitchens of mainstream America.
For its most recent contest, Sub-Zero and Wolf enlisted seven of the country’s top design
professionals and architects to judge the 1,046 entries:
- MaryJo Camp of Standards of Excellence, San Francisco, Calif.
- Mick DeGiulio of de Giulio kitchen design, inc., Chicago, Ill.
- Jamie Drake, ASID, of Drake Design Associates, New York, N.Y.
- Wendy Mendes, AIA, of RTKL Associates, Coral Gables, Fla.
- Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria Ltd., Atlanta, Ga.
- Robert Schwartz of St. Charles of New York, New York, N.Y.
- Patti Weaver, CKD, of Creative Design Solutions, Longmont, Colo.
From these entries, following are the group’s top five predictions for kitchen trends:
International Feel – Nationwide, designs are incorporating more of an international feel, with
simpler and more sophisticated aesthetics. Jamie Drake, MaryJo Camp and Wendy Mendes all
mentioned their surprise at finding very modern, contemporary kitchens – ones that would fit
perfectly in a cosmopolitan home – in the heartland of America. Drake noted, “While America’s
kitchens are predominantly traditional, even the traditional design entries reflected a modern
approach that was cleaner and less fussy – an approach that we typically see in international
Mixed Materials – There is greater acceptance of a more component-like approach to the
kitchen, in which materials are mixed to create a custom-styled space that can be used however
the homeowner wishes. For example, multiple cabinet styles and finishes can be paired with
several countertop surfaces and backsplashes to create a kitchen with separate zones for
cooking, officing, etc. – what Robert Schwartz calls “a multizoned style for a multifunction area.”
Age Materials – Materials including crystallized glass, terrazzo and quartz are replacing
traditional granite surfaces. As Matthew Quinn noted, “More emphasis is being placed on
material quality, texture and color rather than simply big size, high cost and quantity.”
Green Design – The trend toward green is influencing not only the choice of energy-efficient
appliances but also the choice of environmentally conscious materials used in kitchen design.
Patti Weaver commented on this trend: saying further, “Homeowners want sustainable,
renewable and eco-friendly resources used in their homes. This trend leads to increased
marketplace visibility of recycled-glass products, cast-stone products made from recycled
marble and limestone, and renewable woods like Lyptus and bamboo.”
Originality/Personalization – Mick DeGiulio said, “Most entries reflected a need for an original
kitchen.” Embellishments in the kitchen have evolved into a reflection of the homeowner’s
personality, with designers incorporating intricate details such as mosaic flooring and ceilings
and textured paints. Colorful accent pieces and other accoutrements including collectibles and
antiques are also making appearances in a growing number of kitchens.
In addition to these new trends, contest judges noted a few timeless trends that are still
demonstrating great design influence and staying power. One of the recurring trends, appliance
integration, which began in the 1990s, was a prevalent component in the most recent contest
entries, as increasingly modern designs call for a seamless, clean-lined approach.
Judges also noted the continued presence of specialized appliances that fulfill a consumer’s
individual needs according to their specific lifestyle. In kitchens designed for health-conscious
homeowners, designs allowed for appliances tailored to a healthy lifestyle such as refrigerators
with larger crisper drawers and longer food preservation capabilities, and even countertops with
integrated steamer units.
Kitchens are increasingly designed as the centerpiece of the home, and designers are using the
space so that the kitchen flows seamlessly with the rest of the house to provide an area for
gathering and socialization alongside food preparation.
Finally, the stainless-steel-appliance trend continues to stand the test of time. Judges estimated
that more than 65 percent of the contest entrants used stainless steel appliances in their design
schemes, confirming that although new materials are increasingly sought-after, stainless steel
remains in high demand.
Sub-Zero and Wolf are planning their next Kitchen Design Contest, which will take place in
2006/2007. For more information, visit www.subzero-wolf.com/contest.
For more information about Sub-Zero and Wolf, please call 800-222-7820 or visit www.subzero-wolf.com or www.subzero-wolf.com/oven.