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EuroCucina FTK 2018: What impressed us, what we loved and what NZ designers need to do more of

Mark Elmore, Fisher & Paykel’s general manager of design, has just returned from EuroCucina FTK – Technology for the Kitchen, the world’s leading showcase for high-end kitchens, held biennially in Milan. Fisher & Paykel exhibited for the first time, presenting its latest products at a 250 square metre standalone exhibition within the Salone de Mobile. Elmore shares some thoughts on what impressed him there, where design is heading, and more of what New Zealand designers need to start doing.

Five things that impressed you

  1. The transformation of the kitchen as the new social hub: Through the lens of our category, which is appliances and kitchen, the increased move towards the kitchen as a social and living space really impressed me. Often the kitchen is the social part of the house - the design of the kitchen is really starting to transform to reflect that.
  2. Kitchen being furniture: The kitchen now feels like it belongs in the living room. 
  3. The increasing trend of hiding everything: Again, it ties back to the fact that it’s a living space, so you don’t necessarily want your appliances leaping across the room at you. The ability to hide everything and make them beautiful and discreet is a key trend which really impressed me.  
  4. Compact kitchens: In particular, high quality compact kitchens, so small doesn’t have to be called low cost or frugal, or mean that you miss out on things. Obviously they’re smaller but you have these beautiful high quality kitchens that are very compact. 
  5. Going handle free: Taking away all the details and handles so it really just looks like cabinetry. You either push to open or have recessed handles that are very discreet.

Five future trends you spotted

  1. Nostalgia: It shows up as bold or earthy colours, not just for kitchens but also furniture, living spaces and products, so a lot of that muted, pastel pink, going right back to Art Deco in some cases. I think it’s a response to too much minimalism, and a rebellion to the colder, harder materials.
  2. Craftsmanship: It’s all about luxury and opulence, quality and precision, and a high level of craftsmanship, almost like bespoke manufacture.  
  3. Natural materials: Lots of darker, deeper timbers, and lots of texture – showing the grain, dark tinted stainless steel, copper, brass, stone. It’s very much a move to a softer, more natural feel.  
  4. Marble: Marble everywhere. I think that’s playing to luxury but also quality and longevity. It’s a very classical material; long lasting and durable.
  5. Beauty in the details: It cuts across kitchen, furniture, lighting - everything was pieced, beautifully detailed and considered.

Five things NZ designers need to start doing more of

  1. Keep crafting an original perspective: We have this unique perspective that comes from New Zealand, and the fact we’re designed in New Zealand is something that’s really well liked. I think it’s just having more confidence to take our design solutions to the world.
  2. Look outside your category: Great ideas, thinking and inspiration come from lots of different places, and the fact there are 500 different design-related events in Milan that week means you get exposed to so many different inputs.
  3. Travel lots: keep sense-checking global perspectives, but use our isolation to preserve our unique outlook.
  4. NZ Design inspiration that stems from our need for longevity and timelessness: Continue to absorb our landscape, its simplicity and raw beauty and turn this inspiration into design philosophies and products that stand the test of time.
  5. More of what we’re already doing: keep building world-class design solutions that play to our pioneering spirit – this is our core point of difference.

Five things I fell in love with

  1. A Boffi kitchen: In my opinion they have the most beautiful kitchens, and I now need one. 
  2. De Padova sofa: I need this badly. After a hard day walking around Milan, I almost fell asleep on it, it was so good.
  3. Naoto Fukusawa Roundish chair.
  4. Fisher & Paykel column refrigerator: We’re about to launch this on the market, it was a big trend at the show, and I need one. They really do allow you to take full control.
  5. Bulthaup Solitaire system: Beautifully designed and versatile furniture pieces. 

Five things I took away

  1. New Zealand design is really sought after: We were in a very public exhibition, and a lot of people came in and asked us where we were from. They wanted to know our story and when you tell them you’re from New Zealand and the appliances are designed in New Zealand, they’re incredibly receptive and excited. This is especially true of the European design and architectural community and it’s a really encouraging sign for New Zealand. 
  2. Globalisation: Milan is a melting pot of ideas, obviously with that many events in a week, the whole world is on show.
  3. The speed at which trends are going global: Because a lot of international exhibits are there, you can really see how ideas get out into the world really quickly. 
  4. Well-being: There’s quite a lot of focus from various brands there about quality time and relaxation being the most premium thing you can have in your life. What is the design response to that trend became a key theme from the show.
  5. Traditional design values are increasingly valuable: Including craft and natural materials. 

About Fisher & Paykel 

Fisher & Paykel, New Zealand’s award winning appliance brand, has been designing products to change the way people live since 1934. Over time the company has grown into a global organisation, now operating in 32 countries with over 4,000 employees and manufacturing in Italy, Thailand and Mexico. Fisher & Paykel’s design heritage is founded on a pioneering spirit and a culture of curiosity that has challenged conventional appliance design to consistently deliver products tailored to human needs. 
The company is committed to ongoing research and development with a culture of open innovation, which allows people to work collaboratively to find insights and ideas that connect with customers and respect the planet. They believe everybody deserves good design, because good design is all about making life better.

A part of the wider Haier Group since 2012, Fisher & Paykel has strengthened its presence as a premium home appliance brand. All Fisher & Paykel products are designed at the NZ Design Centre, based at two locations in Auckland and Dunedin. The New Zealand Design Centre has been recognised as one of the wider Haier Group's five global research and development centres of excellence. 

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