The predominance of white has now finally had to give way to colourful and sophisticated finishes. Freestanding, but also built-in household appliances and even components are no exception to this trend, especially in the kitchen.
In each civilization the colour has taken different symbolic meanings, deeply linked with the existence itself of men and their culture. According to Goethe, who had dedicated an essay to the theory of colours, they are the language of nature and just the intrinsic relationship between colour and nature should inspire human behaviour towards colours, essential components in daily experiences. It is just the constant search for new experiences and the will of creating personal atmospheres that guide the choice of objects, furniture and surfaces that enliven our houses. Just colour, in the aesthetics of contemporary living, has consolidated its communicative, or even therapeutic value, and has often become the decisive factor in purchase decisions, influencing consumers’ choices.
If the home has always been the extension of the personality of its inhabitants, the choices that are made also in terms of colour certainly mirror their sensations, their way of being, of communicating and of living, more in general. The use of colours and of their shades can in fact determine the aspect of any living space and obviously defines also the look of one of the main environments, the kitchen. All the elements composing it are influenced by the “power of colour”: from surfaces to furniture, from finishes to big and small household appliances, from the accessories to the details of containers and worktops. A great work has been accomplished especially on household appliances to develop proposals able to satisfy the various style requirements, to give birth to solutions able to harmonize each single element to the mood of the kitchen or even of the whole house or, on the contrary, to highlight a single piece as notable element, added value inside a specific environment.
No matter whether they are free-standing or built-in, the new household appliances show very different chromaticity, bright or muted, elegant and refined or more “explosive” and showy. Designs and products that put an end to the dominance of “white” meant as predominating colour; on the contrary, white becomes a real chromatic choice, an essential and ethereal interpretation of an object, maybe to complete a more evident, explicit and notable presence. The growing success of coloured household appliances is also favoured by the role that these “machines” are assuming, changing from simple functional instruments to real pieces of furniture that define a style, connoting a personality. A desire of recognisability that is further accentuated in contexts where the kitchen space has wider openness to the living, more and more frequent situation in contemporaneous houses, or in case of dwellings for a target of young people, with a natural bent for solutions that are not only technologically advanced but also relevant from the aesthetical point of view.
Concerning this, if it is undoubtedly true that the extreme technological evolution has facilitated human life and consequently also the work in the kitchen, it is as true that a certain tendency towards standardization is today arousing the reaction of the search for extreme customization, for the unique piece, the unusual finish and the preferred colour. Besides, the renovated interest in the kitchen world and its surroundings and the more and more frequent demand for professional performances also in domestic ambit, have finally taken for granted some functions of these “clever machines”, such as their capability of dialoguing in intuitive and simplified way with the user, leaving the role of discriminant and of real plus of the household appliance to the aesthetic values and to the formal aspect. In this context develops the renewed attention to the design of elements and to details, even coloured, which enrich the most refined solutions, becoming the distinguishing trait of an object, the thread wire of a piece of furniture or the notable element of a space.
That’s where were born the numerous proposals of refrigerators, perhaps the first household appliances on which the colour theme has been investigated due to their marked freestanding character, ovens but also cooktops, food processors and coffee machines. Each element that becomes part of the equipment of a kitchen is called to dialogue with furniture and surfaces in a constant play of shade recalls, contrasts or subtle chromatic balances. As a matter of fact, the style coherence is not an absolute value as it has been for a long time, trends are mixed, spaces become heterogeneous, inside a system of containers and wall units can stand out a refrigerator with shiny and brilliant colours, a microwave oven with gloss finishes and light reflections. Colour and special effects play a central role in the overall definition of the item. Colours that today speak an international language, which give birth to elegant and refined, or joyful and funky characters: from fluorescent shades to pastel colours, from pure white to absolute black, from metal-like such as gold and bronze to pearly ones.
The metallic finishes with shimmering effect can for instance add a completely new dimension to modern household appliances, because they allow it to dialogue “at strokes of reflections” with the other materials equipping the kitchen, like glass and steel, but they can become also a rupture element when introduced into opaque lacquered surfaces or characterized by the textures of essences.
The monochromaticity of low containers can be interrupted by the advent of an oven with coloured glass door, the materiality of a cooktop can be enhanced by the brilliant effect of a blender, of an accessory, a complement, by many small or big unknown “satellites landed on the lunar soil” of horizontal surfaces. Inside the kitchen micro-architecture, these iconic elements that attract the eye are taking up more and more space. In the design of an object, of a furniture element or of a household appliance, the sophisticated simplification of lines, imposed in the recent past by an exasperated minimalism that has lasted until now, undoubtedly determines a greater emphasis of shape, mass, material, surface texture and colour.