White-hot and cool
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 3/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Pristine and precise, Holger Schubert's kitchen is at one with the sensibility pervading his tri-level house on the canals of Venice, California. The designer restricted his materials to stainless steel (appliances and baseboards), matte white lacquer in smooth and dimpled finishes (cabinetry), honed Carrara marble (countertops), and translucent glass (selected cabinet doors). As throughout much of the interior, flooring is concrete.
Schubert, whose new firm is called Archisis, is a minimalist in aesthetic. Nevertheless, he demonstrated distinctly maximalist tendencies when it came to the kitchen's sophisticated gadgetry, and his industrial-design background served him well. (He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, after completing internships at Ideo in San Francisco and the Milai Corporation in Tokyo. Returning to Tokyo to work at Toto, he met his Japanese wife.)
A flat-panel LCD television—mounted on the end wall of the U-shape 150-square-foot kitchen—is just a start. Schubert designed a labor-saving stainless-steel sink that measures 33 inches long by 23 inches wide by 10 inches deep. That's big enough to allow special cutting boards and baskets, which rest on three stepped levels of polyurethane side panels, to slide from left to right, into and out of the stream of water.
Centered on the end wall is a four-burner gas range with a grill and a stainless-steel hood. Full-height cabinetry forms one leg of the U, wrapping around the oven and holding storage for the couple's collection of Japanese china. A counter-height run of cabinetry, opposite, accommodates the elaborate sink and a built-in steamer, the latter in lieu of a microwave.
Constituting the only division between the kitchen and the living-dining zone, which occupies roughly three quarters of the main floor, this lower run of cabinetry is clad on the living-dining side in panels of Alucobond aluminum composite. The manufacturer of the cabinetry is Bulthaup. Why did Schubert choose Bulthaup? He cites his long admiration for the "quality, functionality, and overall aesthetic" of the product line. Or, he banters, "Because I'm German."