Articles / Kitchen

Counter incentive

Want to know more?

Contact us

Used as much for entertaining as meal preparation, this kitchen's two islands provide degrees of separation between guests and griller


Sometimes a kitchen's primary role isn't food preparation and the creation of family meals. When designed as part of an open space often used for entertaining, issues of visual impact and guest convenience can be the prime design criteria.

This was the case for the kitchen shown here, created by interior designer Sei Hwa. The brief from the clients was open ended, and Hwa explains some of the principles behind the design.

"The owners entertain frequently and wanted a kitchen appropriate to this lifestyle – apart from this focus, the design was up to us," says Hwa. "In response, we wanted to create a space that was practical for entertaining and at the same time offered visual interest. Designing a kitchen with two levels of islands seemed a good way to address both elements."

Hwa says that the inner tier of the space is used for cooking and food preparation away from the eyes of guests. The outer counter provides a place for drinks and snacks to be served from, while at the same time further removing visitors from the more mundane aspects of kitchen life.

"The wet kitchen is removed from this kitchen altogether, and is situated outside the back door."


In terms of aesthetics, the kitchen had to look great in two ways, Hwa says. "As well as appealing to the clients' guests, it had to provide visual impact for the owners themselves from many areas of the open-plan, two-level home."

The designer addressed this aspect of the kitchen by paring back the design, and tucking many utilitarian elements off to one side, out of sight.

"The refrigerator, microwave, kettle and toaster are all pushed to one side of the kitchen – out of sight from the dining table and greater open-plan area," says Hwa. "This creates a sleek, clean aspect from the living area, a look augmented by the Nero black granite countertops.

"These also create a link with the centrally placed dining table, which has a similar surface."

While the effect is minimalist and modern, the family also wanted a personal feel for the space.

Flanking the rangehood, hanging rails were introduced to allow family members to hang items for a personal touch, depending on the occasion.

"The rails, like much of the kitchen's design, contribute to a sense of layering or transparency," says Hwa. "With practical elements swept to one side or understated, such as the integrated cooktop, it leaves lines of sight from the dining table straight through to the windows at the rear of the home."

First published date: 29 July 2006

More news from Trends

Credit List

Designer Neo Sei Hwa, MSIA, TEN architects (Singapore)
Main contractor Bethnal Construction
Kitchen designer Ethospective
Kitchen manufacturer Ethospective
Window and door hardware Vento Aluminium Window & Door Systems
Cabinets Vivo aluminium framed glass sliding door, membrane-wrapped HDF door
Benchtops Nero black granite from Sinbor
Flooring Graniti Fiandre tiling from Sinbor
Tiling Graniti Fiandre from Sinbor
Lighting Eurotec from Eurolite Technologies
Splashback Nero black granite from Sinbor
Sink Franke
Taps Hansa
Oven Ariston
Hob Teka from Teka Singapore
Ventilation De Dietrich Island Hood from Rina Electrical
Refrigerator Ariston from Mayer Marketing