In the building and interiors industry, we often hear the word ‘Minimalism’. What does this word imply and how does it translate into the elements of a modular kitchen, is the reason for this article. By definition, Minimalism or Minimalistic design is ‘A Design that uses the smallest range of materials, colours, simple shapes and forms’ and ‘extreme spareness and simplicity’. Also, the term minimalism is used to describe a trend in design and architecture, wherein the subject is reduced to its necessary elements.
The Concept Put To Modular Kitchens
As we have been seeing, in modular kitchens, this Minimalistic design language has been in flavour for some years now. This translates into a zero-clutter, a lot covered behind shutters and doors, no mid-way hanging of stuff in the dado area or on the walls. In addition, on the colour front, the non-obtrusive and zero screaming shades in the mix of exterior finishes is also a part of this design language. This also is somewhere part of the design brief, as many people don’t want their modular kitchens shouting out loud to attract attention.
Chasing The Minimalistic Modular Kitchens Objective
One way of going about designing a minimalistic modular kitchen is to conceal everything behind storage units, have a flat face, handle-less, touch to open or push to open hardware items integration, clean and slim countertops with soothing simple shades or close contrast. So, when you walk into your minimalistic modular kitchen, you see neatly appointed units as a wall, easy on the eyes. Countertops which don’t jump up to you. The transition of one material, colour, feel are all seamless. To take an example, wall spaces that are all in stone, subtly revealing their natural veins and variations, could be one option. Or, you can have plain painted walls with the floor tiles (or vitrified tiles) in a similar quiet finish, maybe with an outlining or a simple geometrical pattern. The built-in appliances in the modular kitchen should echo a similar exterior language.
Let’s break it down further …
Modules and its Configurations
In a minimalistic design (with a flat finish look), the balance of unit shutter sizes must be maintained. The horizontal and vertical lines should match up. A sudden change will be shocking otherwise. In a handle-less modular kitchen, the horizontal play of lines needs continuity.
A couple of brands have drawers and accessories in the right shades, slim and trim drawers, organizers and pullouts. This helps in carrying the same minimalistic design language even on the inside. In addition, the use of matts ensures that things stored don’t move and clatter.
You can virtually make shutters as thin as 10/12 mm, light and featherlike. Synchronized shutter openings to conceal what’s kept behind, a bar, coffee maker or other wares.
Material Finish for shutters
In order to achieve a minimalistic look, the finish also contributes. Laminate, ready to cut-and-use acrylic board, matt finished lacquer, ceramic, engineered stone cladding, veneer in stained shades, etc. in matt finish add to the minimalistic look of the modular kitchen. It is advisable to use subtle shades and a choice of material which doesn’t reflect or shine.
Hardware items like handles are crucial in achieving the minimalistic design in a modular kitchen. In this concept, we do away with any obtrusive or surface mounted handles. There are quality brands which offer various features. The features include push-to-open, touch-to-open or very thin small metal trims to assist in the opening of the storage areas. It could even be a simple groove (Gola profile), which can add to the minimalistic look of a modular kitchen.
Minimalistic Modular Kitchens- Colours
To achieve minimalism in a modular kitchen, colours play a very important role. From my long experience in the modular kitchen business, while selecting modular kitchen colours, white comes out very well, befitting the very definition of minimalism. However, you can pick up and add maybe an additional colour element to achieve minimalism. Largely it’s white, black, grays and sometimes blues or browns. Additional colour elements can also be introduced with kitchen sinks and kitchen faucets, as these days, both these are available in various colour options.
The colour theory in design uses three colours – background, base and accent. Some might argue and use only two. The industry picks up specific colours every year and showcases their applications at leading industry trade shows worldwide. Pantone Color of the year plays a great role as various industries take the cues from there. The modular kitchen industry showcases it’s latest offerings, including the theme colours every alternate year at EuroCucina in Milan. The colour of 2020 from Pantone – New Jersey is Classic Blue. I am sure we will see this during EuroCucina (April 13-18, 2021), God willing.
Countertops and dado
The traditional natural stones stand out loud and defeat the very definition of minimalism. Quartz, on the other hand, is a very popular engineered stone because it is available in a wide range of shades and finishes. It’s hard, the polish lasts a lifetime and offers ease due to it’s calibrated thickness. Then, solid wood is a good mix for dry or breakfast counters too. Top brands will offer glass in matt finish which makes the looks super luxury. Also, stainless steel countertops in different finishes can be one option of material for countertops. One can also get cooking appliances embedded to give a seamless look and feel. If you are embedding induction cooking flexy zone, it merges pretty well on island cooking in particular. If one is careful in handling, you can even use high-quality marble.
When it’s minimal, you can even conceal built-in appliances behind doors, to be visible only during their use – be heating, baking, roasting, coffee making, etc. At the same time, you can select a range of brushed clean steel, white and black appliances to merge with a similar finish. You can even conceal kitchen sink units along with kitchen faucets into the countertop using sliding covers.
I would also say that lighting also plays an important role in the minimalistic design of a modular kitchen. Various design options in minimalistic lighting fixtures for ambient lighting in the form of led wall lights, ceiling lights and focused counter-top lighting. Starting with the very design of the light fixture, the way it is hung or fixed adds to the design language of the kitchen and its surroundings. Another element – the internal lights – like led strip lights, within storage or hidden counters behind doors will do its work as you access the areas inside the drawers.
Flooring options for minimalistic modular kitchens are pretty much similar to those used in other areas of the apartment. When it comes to modular kitchen colours for flooring, it is advisable to stick to light shades. Also, most of the times, these shades continue from the surrounding area. This is more so in open plan kitchens with a living area extending into it.
The author – Mr. Balbir Singh (www.balbirsingh.in) has over 20 years of experience in designing and commissioning high-end curated kitchens for multiple international brands in India . He is based out of Mumbai and can be reached on email@example.com
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