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Spurred on by the rise of the celebrity chef and reality cooking shows, homeowners are eager to reproduce not only the fine dining food experience but also the atmosphere they create.

“The kitchen has become the centre of attention, a place where food preparation is celebrated and cooking skills are put on show,” says award-winning architect Karl Fender, director of design firm Fender Katsalidis.

Contemporary kitchen design requires more thinking than just the kitchen work triangle that emerged in the 1940s as a way to maximise kitchen functionality.

Stunning yet efficient

According to Fender, today it’s critical that function is balanced with form.

“Today’s kitchen is a stage that needs to work well and also be an area of architectural beauty.

“The cook should be able to move seamlessly from storage to preparation and onto plating. At the same time, the kitchen should be an area of sculptural beauty that gives visual pleasure,” Fender says.

The kitchens at the Fender Katsalidis-designed Vanguard building in Melbourne are prime examples of a seamless marriage of form and function.

Designed in conjunction with Vue de monde’s celebrity chef and Miele ambassador Shannon Bennett, the Vanguard kitchen design features integrated Miele appliances, plenty of storage and vast amounts of workspace.

Bennett drew on his extensive experience in commercial kitchens and his own home-cooking experiences, which Fender Katsalidis transposed into the multi-residential environment.

A haven for fine dining and relaxation

“Cooking a meal at home for friends and family is the new black,” Bennett says. “Kitchens now serve several purposes and are the domain for passion, relaxation and enjoyment.”

Bennett says his approach to kitchen design is orientated to practicality and focused on functionality.

“The Vanguard kitchens are clutter-free and work on the design principle that less is more. They make you think and look for the hidden detail. And it’s the hidden detail that really sets Vanguard apart.”

The Vanguard kitchen plan features a suite of Miele appliances including a Benchtop Steam Oven; Induction Cooktop; Induction Wok Cooktop; Integrated Dishwashing, Refrigeration and Freezer; a concealed Rangehood; and Gourmet Warming Drawers.

The appliance aesthetic

Fender says, “the choice of appliances is a fundamental” when anyone is thinking about their new kitchen. “The kitchen is on display at all times and needs to be an area of beauty – the decision about appliances does play a big part in the aesthetics.”

Another tip that Fender has for those embarking on a new kitchen renovation is to design the kitchen acknowledging that cooking is a bit like “a spectator sport,” particularly when entertaining.

“You need to ensure there is the right amount of space around the kitchen, where you can move between benches, pivot and work, and that guests are not getting in the way.

Then to make the kitchen visually appealing when not being used as a kitchen, it should be like an art-form and beautiful to behold.”

Think about ergonomics

This, he says, can be achieved through the integration of appliances into the kitchen, such as the microwave.

“While once the microwave was placed on the kitchen benchtop, it and other appliances need to be incorporated into the cabinetry. You should also think about the ergonomics – ensuring the appliance is not positioned too high or too low.

Bennett adds a tip he adopted in his home kitchen design, much to the bemusement of his actor wife Madeleine West, around positioning of the dishwasher.

“The dishwasher is the most used appliance in the kitchen so its bottom needs to be at waist height when you pull the door open. Madeleine was miffed when I first mentioned this, but now she agrees it is a great idea.”

“It’s this type of attention to detail that goes into designing kitchens that are both luxurious and functional.”

Click here to view Miele’s cooking range.

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