In the April issue of the Financial Times’ How to Spend It guide, Katrina Burroughs explores the “crescendo of curves” that she says has been creeping into design vocabulary the last few years. In her article “Arcs de triomphe”, Burroughs includes a quote from one of our favourite clients, Tiffany Wood, who told her about the kitchen we designed for her home in Bath:
Tiffany Wood, an interior designer based in Bath, commissioned her cabinetry from Johnny Grey, the original promoter of the wavy line in kitchen design. Grey’s kitchens start at £75,000 and each is a unique work of ergonomic art. Wood chose a mixture of walnut, sycamore and oak, with polished concrete and lava stone, and asked for ‘curves every which way: vertical and horizontal.’ Thrilled with the result, she says ‘It’s far more relaxing to be in a space where you know you aren’t going to bang into a corner. We have no sharp edges.’
Best of all, she finds the curves lend themselves to her frantic family life, maximising the ratio of work surface to floor space. ‘I have three children and they have countless cousins, and they all love to cook. They come and make pancakes crowded round the great big worktops - I can squeeze in 12 children round those curves.’ Wood adds: ‘My curvy kitchen is warm and friendly. It does make people smile.’ Ah, the most important curve of all.
See the full article on page 19 of the April 2008 How to Spend It digital edition.
When recently asked about his use of curves, Johnny explained it as follows:
My use of curves was initiated from the way peripheral eye vision works. Corners stimulate one’s defence mechanism. Imagine a tunnel four feet wide with spiky rocks sticking out. All you will do is focus on preventing being hurt. If the same tunnel is lined with upholstery, you breeze down it thinking of the beautiful experience you will be having in bed or at the table tomorrow. When peripheral vision is activated, you use much more brain capacity because it is all about self defence and the hormones associated with flight and fight mechanisms – which will then be activated. Full frontal vision is so much part of our normal day to day experience that we effectively can focus on other tasks or experiences and the ‘nice’ emotions. Plus curves work satisfactorily with the body and eye from a symmetrical perspective.
Check out columnist Katherine Salant’s recent piece, “Kitchens Where Every Last Detail Is Weighed and Measured”, in the April 10 edition of the Washington Post.
She eloquently explains how Johnny’s unconventional approach differs from traditional American kitchen design:
Grey’s unconventional kitchens are a radical departure from conventional American ones. They feature jazzy colors, original artwork, playful, custom cabinetry best described as “sculptural” and work areas that are carefully tailored to a client’s measurements.
American kitchen designers tend to box up everything behind closed cabinet doors, but Grey prefers open storage adjacent to the place where an item is used. He maintains this is more convenient, eliminates unnecessary movement and makes the space feel lived in. He puts plate racks above the dishwasher, open racks below a cooktop for large pots and hooks above it for cooking utensils or smaller pots.