Coming Full Cycle
Industrial washing machines find an atypical home in a kitchen Adam Kushner designed for a New York couple
Monica Geran -- Interior Design, 7/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
It takes just one quick look to trigger the question: Why did Adam Kushner design a residential kitchen whose prime components patently belong in an industrial laundry? The two-part answer: The clients, who inhabit a Manhattan loft, have a predilection for old metal objects and offbeat domestic artifacts, and the designer, a professor at local universities when time permits, avoids formulaic procedures as a matter of principle. Bent on avoiding the banal, he much prefers to explore the untried and the unexpected. It is, he declares, the philosophy of Kushner Studios to challenge the built environment by "using recognizable objects in alternative contexts."
Thus the benign iconoclast found himself scanning Sweet's catalogs and becoming fascinated by commercial laundry equipment. Washing-machine doors with functionally stamped rims especially piqued his imagination. Transplanted to the domestic kitchen, the bas-relief stainless-steel rings front upper cabinets. The inner door, formerly meant to house laundry detergent, allows easy access to small cooking aids. The outer one, 3 feet in diameter (twice the inner ring's size), is for reaching household items stored farther inside, said items ranging from small condiment jars to big trivets. Which, as it happens, reinforces the designer's tenet about alternative contexts: Stainless-steel skins, some bearing semicircular cutouts, camouflage extant kitchen cabinets. "We used existing boxes and put on new faces," says Kushner.
Also unorthodox is the designer's treatment of walls, counters, and backsplash panels. Bypassing conventional materials, he opted for tempered wire-mesh glass laminated to stainless steel. Overhead track lights and under-counter lighting call attention to the gleaming surfaces. The horizontal members of a gridded-steel sliding door align with shelving in the adjacent library, likewise designed by Kushner.