For our interior design workshop series we’re partnering with some of London’s finest product specialists, from bathrooms to kitchens, stone and lighting.
We have asked each to provide answers to a short interview to help you understand who they are and why we have chosen to run a workshop with them.
Our first event is on Thursday 5th October at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour and we’re partnering with leading furniture company Espresso Design. You can find out more by reading our short interview below with Espresso’s Director, Andrew Hamilton Barr.
I hope you enjoy the short interview and encourage you to find out more about our interior design workshops by clicking here too.
1. What’s your area of expertise?
Espresso Design is an interior design consultancy that specialises in contemporary furniture for kitchens, bedrooms and living spaces. Our award-winning design team combines the latest technology with a signature Italian style to create innovative and luxurious residential interiors.
2. What is it about kitchen design that inspires you to go into work every day?
Contemporary kitchens have evolved from a collection of separate rooms – kitchens, sculleries, dining rooms, larders and utility areas into warm, sociable, practical spaces that form living hubs in the heart of every home.
What clients look for now are multifunctional, multidisciplinary environments where technology will work hard to make busy lives easier, and downtime more enjoyable. Creating these beautiful kitchens that function effortlessly on a practical level is always an enjoyable challenge.
3. What are the key product trends?
We have seen a big increase in the number of clients interested in the provenance and sustainability of materials. This has resulted in manufacturers seeking out new products and ranges using recycled and reclaimed woods and metals. Alongside this is an increasing trend for natural textures and contours and a move towards more tactile materials. Rougher textures, wood grains, steels and more adventurous colours have been extremely popular.
The day of the completely paired back, uber-modern featureless kitchen are passing – we are beginning to see more handles, shapes and definition.
Downdraft extraction at the cook top, pioneered by Bora, is huge, as clients absolutely love the design flexibility it gives, as well as its effectiveness. Steam ovens are also becoming a must-have.
4. How have the trends changed since you started working in the industry?
When I started out, most kitchens were traditional designs made in the UK.
Everyone wanted shaker style kitchens with a hand painted finish or in oak, cherry or maple with handles on every drawer and cupboard. Generally they would also have granite or laminate worktops, followed by Corian worktops. Steel worktops were also popular as part of an emerging industrial trend.
Tiles and steel splash backs were hugely popular and every kitchen had a freestanding bin.
Then the Italian and German manufactures made inroads with very sleek contemporary kitchen in lacquers and veneers – capturing to up to 40% of the market. Bold gloss lacquer colours became the norm (periwinkle, dark blue, black).
Next came the contemporary classic, the all white kitchen, which is still one of our biggest sellers. This did away with handles, and brought in tiles and glass splash backs. Integrated bins became the norm -the Italians could never understand why we would want to keep the rubbish in the kitchen unit :).
Manufactured Quartzstone and ceramic and glass tops soon replaced granite and Marble worktops. These eventually made way for stone, and wallpaper-backed splash backs.
In terms of cabinetry, we then saw an emergence of fold away, slide and reveal storage solutions, and a move in kitchen colours from white to greys. Handles started to re-emerge and traditional and contemporary kitchens begin to overlap. Glass splash backs became mirrored or antiqued and with art behind them.
Now I think that we have reached some sort of equilibrium – in much the same way that our children have access to the full back catalogue of music and we are as likely to enjoy the latest music trends – we have access to all the old and new ways of approaching a kitchen design tailored to the individual tastes of our clients.
5. What’s the next big thing with kitchen design?
Undoubtedly technology, with Bora surface extraction at the forefront at the moment. Understated luxury in design and materials is also important. Clients want to know that every element of their kitchens is excellent quality, not just what you see first.
Understated luxury in design and materials is also important. Clients want to know that every element of their kitchens is excellent quality, not just what you see first.
6. Are there any pieces of advice you most frequently give to your customers?
It is a long complicated process to get the right kitchen, which will take patience. You just need to be confident that while it takes time, you can be certain you are getting what you want.
Try and be clear about your budget from the outset.
Work with people you like.
It isn’t all about the price – it’s often the biggest single investment you will make in your home, so make sure it will last, and that it satisfies all your needs.
7. Which products have you specified for your own home?
White silk lacquer units with built-in bookshelves, Miele appliances, 2 x fridge freezers, 2 ovens, 2 dishwasher plus integrated bins, and a K soul Quartz worktop, which everyone loves.
8. What will attendees learn from you at the Interior Design Workshop with Granit?
We are planning to discuss the fundamentals of extraction and how this impacts all elements of design and planning for a kitchen. We will cook on the latest surface extraction cook top from Bora and give a tour of our Chelsea showroom that showcases the very latest finishes, appliances and worktops.
9. How can people contact you if they have questions?
Our website also provides more information about ranges, our appliances and us. Click here for more.