Being a gracious host demands a skill set that can be refined over time. The latest trend in the hosting game is to opt for luxurious kitchen designs that turn this functional space into a prime social zone. With the kitchen taking a centre stage and the advent of automation technology, there has been a shift in consumer behaviour. Therefore, we got in touch with a Bangalore-based Interior Designer,Nandita Manwani, Founder of The Studio, to discuss these shifts in consumer preference and her approach to designing modular kitchens for Indian homeowners.
The Studio by Nandita Manwani, a design and interior-works firm specialising solely in lifestyle-based residential interiors, was founded by Nandita Manwani, one of Bangalore’s most esteemed interior designers. Nandita’s work has been featured in numerous print and digital publications both domestically and abroad. Recently, she was named one of the top rising interior designers in India as well as one of the best women interior designers in Bangalore. She is passionate about creating spaces in which life may bloom and families can grow.
Inspiration and design philosophy
I got into interior design because I always felt that by designing a home for someone you can enhance their quality of life. In this way, you can make a huge difference in the life of that person and their family.
At The Studio, our goal is to not just meet but significantly surpass our client’s expectations. Our design team constantly strives for perfection by taking into account both the most minute of details and the overall appeal of the visual aesthetic.
Premium projects: Meaning and opportunities
For me, a premium project is not restricted to an undertaking where we use expensive or high-end design elements. Rather, it is when the client wants a very elegant style. So, it’s not like you have to jazz up the entire area with expensive things; it’s more about keeping it light and tasteful.
Nowadays, there is room for creativity because there are countless alternatives for customization. However, it’s not actually this that allows us more creative freedom. It’s largely due to social media, individuals now have higher expectations and are exposed to more different ideas. Indian homeowners are now more open than ever to considering more original and unique solutions for their modular kitchen design.
We can clearly see that individuals are rekindling their love for their homes as sanctuaries. I believe that we are currently in a nesting phase. In the upcoming months and years, the kitchen is likely to host a lot more of our daily interactions as our homes become our new social spaces.
Currently, there are countless alternatives for appliances, cabinetry, and design styles, allowing you to entirely customise your space. We are moving steadily towards more and more personalised places. Anything is possible.
In addition, the materials you select are a significant component of the design and are crucial to attaining a specific look in the space.
A few basic elements such as elegant, high-quality cabinets, surfaces, etc. form a crucial design component that determines the aesthetics of the space. Furthermore, high-end appliances by brands like Siemens in the Indian market not only improve your cooking experience but also serve as a striking design element and potential focal point in your modular kitchen. Finally, the right lighting and accessories that would complement the overall decor scheme add depth to the space and draw attention to the beautiful finishes and decor.
Appliances play an indispensable role in a modular kitchen. It is critical to decide beforehand what kind of appliances you will include in your kitchen otherwise it will create a lot of problems during the execution phase. Also, it is crucial that these kitchen appliances are compatible with the daily needs of the Indian consumer otherwise you will fail to design a useful and comfortable space.
In such cases, kitchen appliances by Siemens come in handy. These technologically advanced appliances offer a high level of functionality with a beautiful design. Siemens intuitive and smart appliances stand out in a kitchen because of the minimalist style that frequently characterises them.
The kitchen is the most important area of any house, therefore, when we start designing, we start with the kitchen. Earlier, it used to be a purely functional area where the food was prepared for the family. But now, the kitchen is being treated as any other room of the house. People now want to wow their guests with the aesthetics of their kitchens as well. So, we have to combine both aesthetics and functionality in our kitchen design.
After the advent of built-in appliances, our entire design process has changed. Now, we indulge in a lot more planning before the execution of the design. When we had standalone appliances, we did not have to worry about taking measurements before installing them. But now, we have to decide in advance which area will house what appliance.
Built-in appliances by Siemens offer a high level of design flexibility. The integrated design of the appliances and their ability to cater to the needs of the Indian consumer allows the artistic characteristics to shine without compromising the functionality of the kitchen. Their sleek, uncluttered appearance is an added benefit. These are eye-catching design pieces that are perfect for contemporary luxury houses thanks to their ingenuity and sophistication.
Influence of technological developments
Technology is constantly changing and we can see new inventions coming up more frequently now. As a result, people are also becoming demanding. The latest shifts in technology have resulted in high expectations among Indian consumers regarding kitchen design. They are looking for automation technology that could meet their needs. For example, I have a client who is a baker and he was searching for an appliance where a camera can fit into the microwave to oversee the baking process. I am also dealing with a client who is differently abled and have put in queries with various brands to find appliances that can help build an accessible space for them.
Furthermore, when it comes to kitchen automation, people are looking for options that would allow them to cook food without the hassle of having to stir them and worrying about burning food.
How to decide on the right appliances for any kitchen?
During the designing process, I ask a lot of questions to my clients. Since a significant portion of the Indian household is able to afford cooks, my first priority is to know who is going to be using or managing the kitchen because that influences the design. The right appliances should make the kitchen functional and match the overall theme. Another important factor to consider is how often the kitchen is being used. Whether the kitchen is used every day or once in a while will also influence the design and layout.
Our association with Siemens
I am very satisfied with the brand and its products. In fact, the brand is a pioneer in many areas. Siemens has designed well-thought-out products which make them compatible with the daily needs of the Indian consumer so their appliances fit seamlessly into the kitchen design. Another major advantage of the brand is its after-sale service. Generally, any issues raised by the customers get resolved within 24 hours. Siemens products stand out because of their high functionality and elegant aesthetics. The appliances are very useful and have a sleek look that pairs well with premium kitchens. Furthermore, they offer a wide variety of products that cater to your every need. For instance, Siemens has a very wide range of hoods that no other brand can possibly match.
In my experience, most of my clients are going back to the traditional way of cooking. So, they prefer a cooktop over a hob, a brass burner over an Italian burner. Thanks to a renewed emphasis on natural materials, colours drawn from nature, and subtle design elements, the new kitchen trends are made to create more calming and pleasant places that will withstand the test of time. This is a pretty seismic shift in terms of interior design trends, putting the kitchen at the centre stage.
Most satisfying project till date
While each project we undertake at The Studio is dear to me, I remember this one we did for a 70-year-old “young lady”. She had a mobility constraint due to a hip problem and the doctor advised her to be in a wheelchair. So, we optimized the kitchen counter height and provided wheelchair recesses next to the sink. In the bedroom, we adjusted the cot height to allow easy ingress and egress from the wheelchair. The wardrobes were 5 feet high with drawers at the bottom and pull-down shelves in the top unit.
In the lighting plan, we incorporated motion-controlled night lights to ensure visibility for late-night bathroom visits. In the bathroom, we provided regular grab bars in the highly fall-prone areas and anti-skid floor mats. The full house had custom-designed “grab stations” placed at strategic locations to allow her to hold and push the wheelchair through. The interesting part was to design the grab stations such that they were firm, and easy to hold but did not look like a typical grab bar that could risk making the home look like a hospital. If I were to choose one favourite project, this would be the one.
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The effectiveness of the cooktop or hob we use influences how efficient the cooking area is. The term "cooktop" is a general term in India for a portable cooking range – the kind that has been used traditionally and is still widely used today. However, in urban Indian kitchens, built-in hobs are quickly replacing the traditional freestanding hob as a popular addition. As compared to free-standing gas stoves, these merge with the level of the ki