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Trend setter or follower?

Online since 3.11.2015 • Filed under Advertorial • From Issue 16 page(s) 102-103
Trend setter or follower?

In this piece from the Kitchen Specialists Association of South Africa, STEPHANIE FORBES asks whether our local kitchen industry is just following international trends or whether we’re creating it ourselves.

Kitchen industry trends filter in from Europe to us in South Africa, often meaning that our local kitchen industry is following trends but not setting them. ’European trends highlighted at international shows such as Eurocucina have a big impact on where South African kitchen design goes,’ says Stephanie Forbes, national manager at the Kitchen Specialists Association of South Africa (KSA). ‘Our industry works under far greater constraints when it comes to designers, mechanisation, materials, costs and skilled artisans. However, that said, the levels of innovation and quality that can be seen coming from our kitchen industry never ceases to amaze me.’

Local adaptation

It is in the more upmarket ranges that we see South Africa kitchen design coming to the fore. This is where clients have the funds to allow manufacturers to use the best materials and enhance good ergonomic design with custom solutions and elegant design features. The idea of custom design is one of the aspects that makes the South African kitchen industry special. In Europe, many of the kitchens are designed and operate on modular systems and cannot be easily adapted to find cleaver space and storage solutions, whereas in South Africa most companies can adapt and manufacture to accommodate consumers’ specific needs and requirements.

Current trends

We can see the distinctive South African interpretations of the new European trends already appearing in the industry:

• A move away from the ultra-modern kitchen. Designs have a new maturity and sensibility aimed at fulfilling the practical needs of the consumer while remaining innovative and surprising.

• Linear design becomes more popular – the bulk of the cabinetry is built up against one wall, often with a kitchen island parallel to the main cabinets.

• A focus on the juxtaposition of textures with designers, moving to a more sophisticated mix of textures.

• Matte finishes will come back as a feature, combined with materials such as steel, glass, laminates, natural stone and quartz surfaces, porcelain and timber.

• A clear focus on natural-looking products.

• New technology will be used to enhance ergonomics and space saving, as well as in integrated appliances.

• The inclusion of dining spaces into the kitchen continues to be popular – not as a free-standing unit but rather incorporated and conjoined to the main kitchen island.

• The move away from cabinet door handles continues with a focus on push-touch technology and finger grip ‘handles’.

• Slim countertops are the focus. These can be combined with a reverse bevel, cutting away the original surface thickness to create the illusion of a super-thin top. For added features these thin tops can be combined with chunkier surface materials that allow form, texture and colour combinations.

• There is a move away from glossy bright colours. Dark, monochromatic tones and dark and light timber tones give kitchens a more masculine overtone. Most appealing is the combination of textures in the same tones.

Diverse budget, varied needs

The South African kitchen industry has a wide and varied market and industry players and manufacturers need to ensure that they are able to offer products that cater to both those who can afford the most luxurious kitchen to those who purchase knock-down, DIY or on credit via retailers. Ensuring that good design and the use of good materials are not lost in this diverse scope is all important. Even the most basic kitchen should be built with the best quality products and materials available in that price bracket, and should be designed with both ergonomics and aesthetics in mind. Adapting and simplifying international trends to service this diverse South African market is one of the biggest challenges. Despite the difficulties the industry faces on a daily basis, the formalised kitchen industry is committed to offering a good solid product and taking that product to the best design levels they can. ‘Vital to the success of any kitchen renovation in South Africa is the need to ensure that you appoint a reputable company and one that ensures the investment you are about to make in your home is in safe hands, working with a KSA-registered company is one way to ensure this,’ Forbes concludes. A list of registered members is available on the KSA website.

Kitchen Specialists Association

Stephanie Forbes

C +27 82 787 8806



Issue 16

Issue 16

November 2015

This article was featured on page 102-103 of
To Build Magazine Issue 16.

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 Affiliated Members AAAMSA - The Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of South Africa | Tel: 011 805 5002 CifA Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa KSA - Kitchen Specialist Association | Tel: 0827878806 SAIA