This bold, contemporary kitchen presents tonal and graphic links to a popular Asian icon

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Often a kitchen design is not so much about the individual elements, but rather about how they come together – this is particularly true of the material and colour palette. This sleek kitchen in a riverside apartment replaces a 20-year-old work space that had suffered from poor connections to the views and adjoining spaces. Designer Kim Duffin removed walls to improve the outlooks from all areas, the kitchen included. “The owners had spent the past 10 years in Europe and Asia and wanted an Oriental influence in the new design,” says Duffin. “To achieve this, I designed a custom glass splashback with a bamboo motif. This was laid as two panels, with the shelving and rangehood positioned afterwards. However, to prevent the bamboo green colour from taking over, the splashback evokes these fast-growing, iconic plants in silhouette, while the raised cabinet on the island introduces the appropriate tone. “The green appears again as a shadowline beneath the benchtops.” Contrast as well as connection features in the design. The green sets off the metallic blue of the perimeter and island base cabinetry. At the same time, both colours work with the wood floors and metal appliances. The painted surfaces also offer a play of contrasting finishes; one being a lustrous metallic, the other matt. A slender aluminium detail line runs across the top of the splashback and through the side wall of cabinetry above the refrigerator, offering another linear linking element. These clean, crisp architectural details are echoed in the brushed stainless steel toekick. “In terms of functionality, the galley-style layout allows the island to be used as a buffet for the nearby living spaces,” says Duffin. “ The long island has a conveniently located wine cabinet at one end, and the raised front cabinet is home to plates and glassware. “One of the owners has restricted movement, so we were asked to set the oversized oven high on the side wall, with an integrated microwave directly above. Everything is in easy reach. In addition, all the cabinetry latches are touch-to-open or electronic, again for ease of use by the owner. The handleless look perfectly suits the contemporary aesthetic.” A new dropped ceiling was an integral part of the project. Custom designed by Duffin, this helps define the work space visually and at the same time contributes to its functionality. “In a concrete apartment tower you are often restricted by solid, immovable ceilings that leave no room for services,” says the designer. “Introducing this feature provided an easy way to run air conditioning through the kitchen to central vents. It also provided space for the wiring for task lighting over the work areas.” No longer separate rooms, the open-plan kitchen and adjacent living and dining areas are now ideally set up for entertaining. They also provide unrestricted park and river views.

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