Natural materials, used in an organic way, triumph in a stone house kitchen
If you ask me the direction green kitchen design should take as it develops beyond the current formulaic “bamboo cabinet-apple green wall-concrete counter” stage, I would point you to the natural materials used in this kitchen by the late Uruguayan architect Horacio Ravazzani. The home is in the beach resort of Punta del Este.
For me, this combination cooking and dining room is contemporary by virtue of clean, modern lines and for its use of materials such as untouched quarry stones on the walls, South American exotic wood ceilings, and stone-look cement floors polished with marble dust. Warmth comes from earth tones in the stone and wood, in combination with views of greenery and sky exposed by the window wall. There is no paint or applied color. The high-end electric range has an imposing no-radius stainless steel range hood overhead. A steel cargo pendant lights the custom unvarnished wood dining table.
What feels freshest, and what provides a forward-looking direction is the reduction of cabinets – usually the most costly kitchen component – through the removal of the doors. The concept has long been seen in Italy and South Americans have a strong affinity for things Italian Still, this kitchen is newly built whereas in Italy it would have arched windows and be hundreds of years old.
Kitchens with this look are not on the American style radar – yet. Popular taste here still clings to a packed-in “cabinet look,” inevitably defended by the need to hide all the stuff we do not yet feel compelled to edit or do without, or rationalized by the demands of children and family. Drama — through use of color or embellishment – is demanded as proof of value.
Soon, perhaps, we will begin to process the fact that the kitchen must be redefined as resources and materials become less accessible and more costly. By necessity it will become lower maintenance and more elemental — a kitchen which provides the same basic luxury and rich simplicity embodied by this one at the bottom of the world.
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