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Horizontal lines, flush surfaces and high-gloss finishes are the key kitchen trends from Europe this season

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Despite the wealth of design talent down under, it's always interesting to see the new design directions coming out of Europe. After all, these trends influence the materials, colours and products that go into our own kitchens.

Ross Longney of Akzente, a local distributor of European Alno and Poggenpohl kitchens, says there is a strong move back to high-gloss finishes and towards man-made materials.

"Shiny surfaces even extend to the use of glass for benchtops, as well as splashbacks and cabinetry doors," he says. "Other man-made materials such as laminates and quartz-based benchtops are also popular. Quartz products allow for very thin benchtops, which enhance the horizontal lines of a kitchen – and that's also a particularly strong design trend."

Longney says there is a greater dominance of aluminium, noticeable in trim, handles and appliances. But while man-made materials are in favour, there are some strong timber elements, notably highly patterned veneers that appear as accents in a kitchen. These are often repeated in adjacent living areas.

"Extending the kitchen units into the living areas is another trend," he says. "Kitchens no longer exist solely on their own. In many homes and apartments, similar cabinetry is designed to accommodate home theatre systems and shelving."

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The reversal is also true – technology is now being accommodated in the kitchen. LCD televisions are often wall mounted and stands are provided for computers.

In other trends, cabinetry is recessed into the wall to provide a flush finish. Brighter colours are being seen, notably red and black with silver. And there's a new product called Picture Line that enables a screen of any image to be imprinted onto cabinetry – perhaps the ultimate customisation.

First published date: 04 March 2005

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