Celebrations for Kitchen Architecture!!

We are completely delighted and honoured to announce our winning the “Supreme Kitchen Design Runner-up 2018 Award” at the NKBA's Excellence in Design Awards in August. With over 100 beautiful entries from all around our nation, NZ design sure is in great shape!

 The judges admired how "this kitchen honours the industrial and natural materiality of the home".

They said, "A custom stainless steel ventilation cabinet, a rugged granite bench chosen for its tactile feel and natural character, and practical storage systems are special features in a kitchen that celebrates contemporary conveniences and family connections." 

It is a kitchen designed for a crowd and embraces sweeping harbour views while providing optimum flow of activities for both the cook and the family as a whole. 


To celebrate their home’s industrial patina and natural materiality, the generous island features a leathered-finish granite benchtop from CDK Stone; chosen for its tactile feel and natural characteristics. It provides an abundance of set-down space for dishes without interrupting the workflow of the home-chef’s areas, and socially connects with both seaside and poolside outlooks.


Consideration of the home’s architecture and materiality is always high on my list of priorities approaching any kitchen design. Here, we drew inspiration from the semi-industrial and natural cedar surfaces present in our clients’ stunning new home. Floating the island using the steel frame allowed the polished concrete floor maximum exposure, while teak veneer cabinetry was intentionally kept shy of the ceiling to again expose the concrete block-to-cedar junction.


We hand-crafted a blackened steel frame to create a bold foundation to the island’s structure. To express the raw ‘honesty’ of its fabrication we wished to expose the welded junctions, however, the thick welds conflicted with the crisp square edges of the teak panels. I resolved this with deep negatives tucked back to behind the posts and by secret-welding certain junctions ensuring the suspended back cabinets fit snugly.

A 3D isometric workshop drawing ensured all fabricators understood which weld types went where!


And now ... the REAL challenge we overcame in designing this 'winner' kitchen!! The long concrete block spine wall with its charcoal defined grout lines, was to be celebrated as a feature in the kitchen space yet be practical to maintain and optimise storage. 

1) So firstly, I pulled the cabinetry shy of the ceiling and intentionally isolated the custom stainless ventilation unit to achieve this. All while working around predetermined electrical points based on a presumed (different) layout! [Kitchen Architecture was discovered quite late in the build programme]

2) Then, to protect the concrete block surface long-term, I conceived a retractable thin sheet steel splash back. Remote controlled, it is a complex configuration despite looking simple which required a fair few intense conversations with my skilled fabricators. A credit to their abilities!! 

When it’s time to get cooking, the steel sheet glides down and sits millimetres short of a raised stainless-steel ledge, providing ease of cleaning and confidence in the timeless look of their enamoured blockwork. Works brilliantly!  See how in this VIDEO:  https://www.facebook.com/KitchenArchitecture/videos/715689808780174/

LED up-lighting along the tall cabinetry further enhances and highlights the block's grid, with a warm, 'sunset' ambient light reflecting on the cedar to provide the cosy family feeling. 


I am incredibly grateful for my 'team-extraordinaire', from the cabinetry craftspeople to granite suppliers, from the tradies to supplier reps, but especially my talented designer Julie Jenkins who was there every step of the way co-creating this kitchen especially for our clients. 

All credit to our clients too for entrusting us with the challenges along the way and for working hard to complete some finishing details ready for photography. I love how much they're loving it - telling us "our kitchen captures the spirit of our home's design and is so in tune with how our family use the space".

This kitchen also won us two other awards: the Certified Designers Society (CDS) Best Kitchen Design Runner-Up and Auckland Chapter Recognition Kitchen Runner-Up. The awards night was certainly an exciting finale to another excellent National Kitchen and Bathroom Association (NKBA) conference with a glitzy and entertaining evening at Auckland's War Memorial Museum.  

With special thanks to the NKBA New Zealand, to Fisher & Paykel - Principle Sponsor of conference and Supreme Awards, and to Hettich and APT (Sponsors of other two awards won).  Truly grateful.


Toni Roberts 


Kitchen Architecture Ltd · PO Box 301-103 · Albany · Auckland · New Zealand · Ph 027 487 6383

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