Once a gleaming utilitarian space dedicated to pure functionality, today’s kitchens have morphed into the hearts of the home – places to cook, gather and entertain. And almost anything goes. The kitchen’s stylistic appearance has become increasingly diverse, with no single look, material, or colour dominating. That said, there are a few common threads running through the contemporary kitchens of today, with ‘authentic’, ‘interactive’, ‘open plan’ and ‘efficiency’ some of the buzzwords doing the rounds with designers. On the eve of Decorex Joburg, we ask some of this year’s kitchen exhibitors, whose top-drawer products and designs will be showcased in the revamped Hall 3 of the Gallagher Convention Centre in August, what trends to look out for in coming months.

  1. The beating heart of the home

One of the biggest trends in kitchen design over recent years has been the shift from purely functional workspace to social living room, says Heidi Arenstein, owner of Future Classics (futureclassics.co.za), a Morningside-based kitchen and furniture design company, which is responsible for designing the popular Kitchen Trend Installation feature at Decorex Joburg 2015. According to Arenstein, “The boundaries between living, working, dining, playing and relaxing are becoming increasingly blurred and, as a reflection of this, today’s kitchens are predominantly open plan, leading directly into and being an integral part of the home’s main living areas,”

  1. The magic of marble

Classic in the way a Hermès bag is classic, marble’s effortless elegance and enduring appeal, is thankfully, no longer the preserve of those with diamond-encrusted pockets. As a result of its enormously successful engineered reincarnation, everywhere is coming up marble. Cool monochromatic marbling is the pattern du jour on the runway, and, in interiors, it again signals the desire for ‘real’, ‘honest’ materials. An unapologetic hand is in evident where today’s marble surfaces are applied, explains Lisa Aspeling, Advertising Manager for kitchen and surfaces giant, Caesarstone (caesarstone.co.za), co-headline sponsor for Decorex 2015. “Engineered marble – such as the polished quartz Calacatta Nuvo and Frosty Carrina ranges from Caesarstone – is no longer reserved for choice accents and, instead, is being used in vast swathes to clad everything from walls to entire kitchen islands.”

  1. The power of touch

“The global yearning for ‘honest’, natural and tactile elements is interpreted in kitchens in the release of authentic materials that have texture and depth to them,” says Philip Richards, Brand Manager at Blu-line specialist kitchen architects (blu-line.co.za), another Decorex Joburg exhibitor. According to Richards, raised cut veneer – where there is a distinct texture – as well as certain metals and worktop textures, like flamed granite and concrete, are very popular. “Porcelain stone, used as door and cladding finishes, as well as matt textured glass are also the most current materials being used. And customised aluminium doors are another new trend offering that essential luxury element,” he says.

  1. An Integrated approach

“The modern kitchen is a collaboration of various zones all needing to work in harmony,” maintains Richards, explaining that cooking and prep functions need to be able to be performed in conjunction with the social and activity functions that are demanded by the modern kitchen. “Whether the space is small or large, attention must be given to the allocation of critical kitchen tasks, achieved through breaking the kitchen into various zones,” he says. “Looking at the internals of the kitchen, then, functional cabinetry does not only mean having drawers instead of shelves but, rather, having those drawers equipped with the necessary internal divisions to maximise storage and ease of use. It will also means, as an example, considering how an internal shelving unit can be designed, in terms of deeper and shallower shelves for easy access.”

  1. An exercise in efficiency

“With living space at a premium nowadays, compact kitchens are an increasing reality, presenting the challenge of creating functional yet beautiful small work places fitted with hardworking multifunctional tools,” says Clinton Soutter, National Sales Manager for Franke SA (franke.com), sponsor of the Franke “Make it Wonderful” Kitchen Design Project , a perennial highlight exclusive to Decorex Joburg. “The key here is to not to allow space restrictions to limit the possibilities of design and, instead, to create kitchens in which performance and aesthetics are in perfect harmony,” adds Souter, who explains that the kitchens on show at Decorex Joburg will showcase the best internal accessories to increase efficiency in a small kitchen.

The ‘Franke Make it Wonderful Kitchen Trends’ feature promises a look at revolutionary developments in kitchen-design thinking, four different companies were tasked to give practical application to new directions in ergonomics by Belle Cuisine Caninets, compact spaces by Decolam, Timber by Unique Kitchens and greening.

Endorsed by the Kitchen Specialists Association of South Africa (KSA), the expo’s must-see feature will have the province’s top kitchen manufacturers creating four very unique kitchens, each fitted with products from Franke’s award-winning range. The stands will be judged by a panel of experts and the creator of the winning kitchen design will receive a phenomenal R10 000 worth of Franke products.

“What Decorex and 100% Design South Africa continue to show us is that South Africa has immense talent capable of setting standards on a global design platform,” says Sian Gutstadt, Portfolio Director of Decorex SA. “This collaboration with Franke Kitchen Systems encourages local kitchen designers to flaunt their skill, and ‘make it wonderful’ in the process.”

Stephanie Forbes, National Manager of the KSA is equally excited to be working with Franke and Decorex SA on this project: “As the only industry body that exists to support the kitchen industry, the KSA has always prided itself in having members that strive for the best quality and service. Now, as part of the ‘Franke Make it Wonderful’ project, they will get the opportunity to truly push the boundaries of design.”

For more of 2015’s biggest kitchen trends, not to mention the chance to see the very latest state-of-the-art kitchen products and appliances, be sure to visit Decorex Joburg, Africa’s largest décor, design and lifestyle exhibition, from 6 to 10 August at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.



Decorex Joburg details:

Dates: 6-10 August 2015

Public Access:

6th August: 1pm-6pm

7th to 10th August: 10am-6pm

Ticket prices: R100 for adults; R85 for pensioners and scholars; R15 for kids under 12


Trade Access:

Trade-only preview morning: 6th August 10am-1pm

Trade focused days: 6th and 7th August

To register as trade or to find out more about the trade programme visit www.decorex.co.za

Where: Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand

Ticket prices: R100 for adults, R85 for students/pensioners, R75 for trade/exhibitors

For more information visit www.decorex.co.za

E-mail decorexsa@ThebeReed.co.za

Facebook: Decorex SA

Twitter: @decorexSA

Decorex Joburg forms part of the Decorex SA portfolio and is owned by the Thebe Reed Exhibitions.

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