What’s Cooking?

Blum has been watching how people use kitchens all over the world for years. Their research findings are directly incorporated into product development and give inspiration as to how to make kitchens more practical and operate more efficiently. A well thought-out and pre-planned kitchen can save a lot of heartache and, once installed and in use, will save the kitchen user both time and stress. The lifespan of a kitchen is generally 15 to 20 years, so why not invest a little extra time at the beginning to ensure cabinets are well planned, functional, ergonomically friendly, well organised and able to withstand the test of time?

Kitchen tips

Ensure there is sufficient space planned for the main working area — a 900 millimetre minimum. Ideally, this workspace should be located between the sink and the hob, as research and observations have shown this is the area we naturally gravitate towards when preparing food.
On average we have 11 full shopping trolleys’ worth of items stored within our kitchens. Before speaking with your designer, think about your personal storage requirements, note down anything that needs a specific place in the kitchen, anything that you have a large quantity of, and anything that you use most regularly.

Robyn Labb

Auckland-based Robyn Labb has been a leading kitchen designer for more than 25 years and been recognised with numerous industry awards for her work. She tackled this Auckland home’s unusual layout by connecting the two separate spaces into a functional kitchen and a simple white scullery in the background. “The scullery is a full working kitchen with butler’s sink, ovens, cook top and pantry storage,” she says. “The large island is a social hub and prep area for entertaining.” The existing casual dining area was too small so the kitchen table was merged into the large island for casual dining and socialising. “This design works well with the client’s busy life and they in fact now spend most of their time in the kitchen,” Labb says. The island reflects the classical house with antiqued oak cabinetry fronts and looks more like furniture with this detailing. Blum’s Legrabox drawer system adds a high level of organisation to a kitchen’s interior.

Joanne Godding

Joanne Godding, a designer at Bespoke on Khyber, used Blum kitchen fittings to create a streamlined, pared-back kitchen in Ponsonby, Auckland.
Godding says the owners wanted to create a space ideal for entertaining, “so we had to make sure there was enough space to allow for this”, but keeping a clean and uncluttered space was also a priority. “We got rid of an external door and extended the scullery so we have a large multipurpose space where the coffee machine, blender and so on are housed, all plugged in and ready to go,” she says. “We recessed the fridge so it wasn’t so dominating and we clearly refined and planned the kitchen space.” An example of this is the way food is all stored on one side of the kitchen — underneath one of the ovens using Blum internal drawers — with the crockery and glassware on the other “so there are two very distinctive areas”. The resulting kitchen is “very streamlined and pared-back,” Godding says, with a marble benchtop and wall piece able to take centre stage.

Austrian hardware manufacturer Blum is renowned for quality and innovation. It currently holds more than 
1000 patents and is a leading patent applicant. To find out more, speak with your designer or manufacturer, or visit one of Blum’s showrooms: 621 Rosebank Road, Avondale, Auckland and 27 Dalziel Place, Woolston, Christchurch;

2016 Milan Report

From big brands to up-and-coming designers, events and exhibitions in the centre of Milan, and hundreds of stands at 20 exhibition pavilions at the showground, it provides the launchpad for new products and ideas in the world of interiors. Savvy brands are shunning the traditional product launch approach, and instead creating spaces and experiences in palaces, abandoned offices and cloistered courtyards to enhance what they offer. British designer Lee Broom’s travelling exhibition, Salone del Automobile, literally stopped traffic; the van’s interior was decorated like an Italian palazzo as a backdrop to Broom’s new “Optical” lighting collection. Cleverly, he parked it in the city’s key design districts throughout the week. Makers and Bakers, which took over Ristorante Marta in Spazio Rossana Orlandi where curator Ambra Medda and New Zealand-based interior designer Katie Lockhart (with the help of Airbnb) transformed the space, commissioning the work from 25 creatives from 14 countries to show products that enhance our most communal experience: a meal.



Bathroom brand Axor has worked with architects and designers including Front, Jean-Marie Massaud, David Adjaye and GamFratesi to create a range of unusual taps under its WaterDream project. “Water Steps” by Front, above left, allows a stream of water to tumble through a series of sculptural bowls, whereas “Mimicry” by Jean-Marie Massaud, above, has used simple geometric shapes to create a landscape of marble.



Gufram’s surrealist coat stand has been given a psychedelic makeover to celebrate 50 years of the irreverent Italian design company. The same brand brought us the sofa formed from giant red lips, a fallen classical Greek column transformed into an armchair, and now a redux of the “Cactus” coat stand, originally designed in 1972 by designers Guido Drocco and Franco Mello. A limited-edition run of 169 “Cacti” has been produced with a special striped colour scheme in bright pinks, blues and black, created by British fashion designer Paul Smith.


Created by master weavers in Cebu, the Philippines, all Dedon furniture, above, uses modern technology blended with centuries-old craftsmanship. Conceived by rising star of European design, Sebastian Herkner, “MBrace” is a collection of chairs, wingback, lounger, rocker and footstool. The seating’s wide back and comfortable cushions embrace the sitter to give a secure, cocoon-like feel.

For the full report from the Milan Salone del Mobile, pick up a copy of MiNDFOOD Decor, on sale now.