How to design the perfect kitchen, according to a professional chef

Kitchen design has come a long way in recent decades. No longer hidden away behind closed doors, our kitchen are the heart of home – places for entertaining, gathering and of course, cooking.

Modern kitchen design has evolved with this in mind, with appliances and layout’s blending elegant aesthetics with smart functionality.

Acclaimed Australian chef Tony Tan says when designing a kitchen, getting the right layout is crucial. “Each vital consideration should work in a harmonious synergy, as they are all interconnected. If a kitchen is not laid out effectively, you will end up wasting time moving between spaces to get what you need. It becomes less enjoyable, and can certainly affect your cooking results as well.”

Here are Tony’s top tips to crafting the perfectly functional kitchen:

1. Layout. Alongside quality appliances, layout is a key consideration in modern kitchen design as both can have a big impact on productivity. Layout will determine how you use the space, and exactly how functional your kitchen will be. Designing an effective kitchen ‘work’ triangle configuration will give you easy access to work surfaces, appliances and the sink, which means your all-important cooking efficiency is maximised.

2. Benchtop. The second thing to consider when designing your kitchen is your benchtop. How your benchtop is going to be configured in terms of cooktop, sink and working space is connected to the layout stage. Keeping these elements together helps create an efficient and harmonious environment, saving time when preparing food and cooking. Everything within your kitchen will develop from these initial plans.

3. Storage. The next most important consideration when designing a functional kitchen is the storage. A good kitchen will have plenty of storage, with easy access to everything that you need while cooking. As long as you utilize the space to maximise your storage, you will ensure that you have room for everything – from your ingredients, to plates and utensils, cookware and anything else you need on hand when cooking amazing food.

4. Finishes. The finishes you select for your kitchen need to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. In a home kitchen there is a need for clean, functional benchtops and sufficient work surfaces that are hygienic.

5. Appliances. If you’re someone who is serious about your cooking, you will need to look for appliances that are the highest quality and are time efficient. The reason top-of-the-line appliances are so highly coveted is that you can rely on them to last and to work effectively for many years to come. It’s important to consider the effect of an appliance and how it relates to the room, ensuring both its technology and aesthetics are as advanced as possible

When needing things done fast, it is ideal to have appliances that offer a combination of different cooking methods such as Gaggenau’s multifunctional Combi-Steam Oven. “My Gaggenau combi-steam oven allows me to roast and to steam, achieving amazing results in a single appliance,” says Tony. Vastly expanding cooking options by combining humidity (steam) with convection (dry heat circulated by fans), this innovative appliance cooks more evenly while retaining the essential nutrients of your ingredients.

Marenco Sofa: The fascinating story behind the famous ‘cloud’ couch

The Marenco sofa’s unique design and wide modularity mean it has been at the forefront of modern furniture design since the 1970s.

At the height of his success, Italian designer Mario Marenco had created exhibition stands for Alfa Romeo, designed watches for Ferrari and starred on TV as an actor and humorist. But among his many varied careers and successes, his legacy lives on in one of his most recognised designs; the Marenco armchair and sofa collection for Arflex.

Born in 1933, Marenco studied architecture in Naples before opening his own architecture atelier, DEWG Studio in Rome, where he specialised in community buildings. By the 1970s, Marenco was well on his way as an established designer, working with notable brands including Arflex, Artemide, B&B and Poltrona Frau. It’s during this time that he dreamt up the Marenco sofa.

At first glance, the sofa’s eight oversized, cloud-like cushions appear almost comically comfortable. But the beauty of Marenco’s groundbreaking furniture piece lies in the innovative design. The seat and armrest cushions are built into a metal frame, creating the perfect balance of rigidity, resistance and comfort when seated on the sofa.

Relaunched in 2018 by Arflex and available at Studio Italia, the iconic sofa has been given an even more sumptuous design using contemporary production methods. Every inch of the Arflex Marenco sofa has been carefully covered and padded to elevate the feeling of softness and comfort, while the base of multi-plywood and fibre cover maintains strength and rigidity. In this relaunched version, the luxurious covers are fully removable, delivering modern flexibility and functionality.

Five decades on and Marenco’s pioneering collection has been internationally recognised in the history halls of furniture design, a reputation cemented by his collaboration with Arflex. Founded by a group of technicians and architects in 1947, Arflex has been at the forefront of modern furniture design since its inception, and Marenco’s design is an embodiment of that marriage of innovation, experimentation and elegance.

The Marenco Sofa is available at Studio Italia,