An Interview with kitchen designer Masanori Mark Shigei
Masanori Mark Shigei, owner of Studio Snaidero Hawaii, recently completed a kitchen installation that is a quintessential example of contemporary design. We took this chance to ask him a few questions about “streamlining” best practices.
Streamlined design: what does it really mean?
Mark: Essentially, it means no mess and no fuss; just beautiful, smooth natural lines and forms that blend in seamlessly with the lifestyle of the user. First and foremost, a kitchen must be functional and needs to have the ability to hide all the necessary details. Streamlining can help you achieve that.
Does streamlining equal minimalist?
Mark: In a sense, yes. They are both made up with carefully selected, strategically placed elements to achieve a simple and calming yet powerful design.
This particular kitchen I did has a lot of hidden details behind the doors. That helps keep the design look clean, even basic if you will… but it is a fully functional kitchen which even features an integrated laundry system. I’d call the result “harmonious” rather than “minimal”.
What are the elements that compose, or help create a streamlined design in terms of:
Cabinetry style? Colors? Finishes?
Mark: Use cabinets with simple clean lines and avoid any type of “frills”. Don’t just stop at that, though. Consider all the color elements that will go into the surrounding space, such as sofas, walls, tables, flooring, windows…just about anything with significant volume, and find the right color and finish for each piece. The view out the windows should also play a role into the finished look, so create a “dialogue” between interior and exterior.
In this installation, I used Snaidero’s IDEA cabinets in solid-aluminum, high-gloss Dove Grey. In addition, I used the lighting in the frosted upper cabinets and beige travertine flooring to give the room a more spacious feel. Finally, I got rid of some of the existing walls to open up the view of the ocean and let that breathe new life into kitchen.
Type of cabinets (base, tall units, etc.)?
Mark: Having a large surface countertop area will give you a sense of spaciousness and a natural flow of light and air. Other than that, balancing the base and tall cabinets is critical. You want your design to feel somewhat grounded, which is one of the key ingredients of the calming effect that streamlined designs should give you.
Backsplash and countertop materials?
Mark: Nothing busy should be used. You want minimal confusing elements and seams, so uniformed colors are highly advisable. In this particular kitchen, a soft shade of SileStone was used.
Position and type of appliances?
Mark: Appliances should be positioned so that they don’t stand out. Use appliances that are simple in design. Go with the flush-looking or built-in style appliances. Avoid bulky ranges or giant hoods that would bring in big chunks of stainless steel.
What does streamlining mean to you? Have you implemented it in your home?