From kitsch to embracing the material for what it truly is...
Luke Arthur Wells
written on: 11-10-2018 16:45pm
If neither sleek, glossy cabinetry or a traditional style kitchen sound good to you, it might be time to consider some more unusual materials for your kitchen design. More and more kitchen retailers are working with these non-traditional kitchen materials, and even specialising in them, and none so much as in the use of plywood.
The idea of a plywood kitchen, in its most instantly recognisable form, is undoubtedly lo-fi. It’s naturally light look and distinctive grain have connotations of its uses in hipster cafés, but while it’s great for achieving this look, it’s not the only thing that can be achieved.
First of all, in terms of a professional quality plywood kitchen, we’re not talking about your everyday plywood from a DIY store. It’s usually birch and often has accreditations such as FSC certification if sustainability is your thing. They’re also usually finished with veneers to achieve certain looks – whether that be a wood or formica finish – the key to the material is, in actual fact, in its quality for building kitchen cabinetry.
Plywood kitchens are great for using in schemes with bolder colours, and it’s often something that these kitchen retailers will offer. Something about the veneers on the ply screams 50s-inspired, and a lot of these kitchen designs seem to take references from this era. In frame cabinetry with exposed plywood edges and sprayed doors is becoming a growing trend in modern kitchen design for many retailers, mainly down to a handful of pioneers with the material.
Elsewhere, the use of ply is about contrasts. The kitchen below uses a walnut veneer – a finish which has its roots in luxury interiors. Contrasted against the exposed ply edges, it creates a more dynamic, modern look. Using this material is all about taking pride in its lo-fi origins and letting the world see it for what it is.
This design doesn’t have the same kitsch factor as those brightly coloured examples above, and retains a much more luxurious feel than many pure ply designs, showing that designing with plywood has range outside these realms. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more in the way of plywood kitchen design in the years to come and how designers will evolve its look.
Credit:L-R Shanade McAllister-Fisher, Bath Bespoke and Finch London Ltd (Cover image)
Luke is an interior designer, stylist and blogger at www.lukearthurwells.com. He’s a believer in understated interiors that don’t have to shout to be heard, and he’s currently practicing what he preaches renovating a Victorian terrace in Essex, where he lives with his partner and two pampered pups. When it comes to his design style, he loves new and interesting building materials, a carefully chosen white paint and he also has a weakness for coffee table books and a fresh bunch of eucalyptus.