02 February 2011

A new hide-away kitchen from Valcucine

Italian kitchen manufacturer Valcucine chose Toronto for its North American roll out of Artematica, a new kitchen system that does a really clever disappearing act.

Here's my photo of the Artematica when it's all closed.

And here it is opened up.

I had a hard time getting a decent photo of the scale of this thing so the following images are from Valcucine.

Here's a wide angle shot of the Artematica in its closed position.

The cabinetry and counters are all made from the same, acid-etched glass. The glass feels fantastic to the touch and doesn't show fingerprints. The cutting board the sits just above the counter is on a track and it rolls along the entire length of the base cabinets.

The lower doors on the wall cabinets aren't really doors, they slide down out of view when they're not in use. The upper doors tilt up an out of the way.

Once open, the kitchen reveals itself. There's a pot filler faucet behind the cook top, a proper kitchen faucet behind the sink, a ventilation hood over the cook top and storage galore.

There's a remarkable amount of thought and engineering that went into this kitchen. I'm really taken by the way it folds up on itself and disappears when its not in use.

What do you think? Is this a hit or a miss?


  1. Damn, I missed this one at the Design Show. It’s the very type of design that I find so fascinating from Europe. I’d say more, but I really just have to drown myself in sorrow. Damn!!!!!!!! I really wish I had gone to this one, but there was just so much to look at, so many people to talk to. But, damn, what an exciting concept this is. I really think this sort of thing may well be the wave of the future. I did manage to spend quite a bit of time with a Canadian cabinetmaking company that is making their own version of “now you see it, now you don’t.” They had several concepts that I hope to blog about in a week or two. But Val Cucine really has a concept here. I especially like the cutting board idea.

  2. Such a cold and uninviting kitchen when dormant and such a potential mess all on view when the lid is lifted - how much ceiling height (and strength) would it require for the 'reveal'? Maybe a piece of engineering too far or strictly for dual personality types (or the uber tidy). Do like the chopping board on runners though - so long as it issn't tricksy to lift on or off to clean it.

  3. You missed this one Joe? That's a shame because it was a real show-stopper. Did you spend any time with the new kitchen from Scavolini?

    Anon: Design is subjective and everybody gets to have an opinion.

  4. Agreed, and sorry if I sounded dismissive, but you did ask - hit or miss - and, IMHO, it is a miss - great as a show piece and for demonstrating what can be done but too much theatre for me.

  5. Thanks for circling back Anon. The idea of a hide-away kitchen is one that's gaining traction all over the world and it will show up in the US eventually. What was so remarkable to me about this kitchen was how little room it needed to open and close. That kitchen would fit into any room with 8 foot ceilings. The material it's made from (etched glass) is far warmer to the touch than it would appear in these photos.

    And yes, I did ask if you thought it was a hit or a miss and everybody's entitled to an opinion. Aesthetics aside, it represents a real shot across the bow from an engineering standpoint.

  6. Guest to Homeowner: "Hey, where's your kitchen?"
    Homeowner: "You're standing in it. Voila'!"

    I love the idea of this, but I would want to see it in person before stating hit or miss. From these pictures it looks like a beautiful wall unit when closed, & a little too industrial when open (for my personal taste). And you'd have to have OCD to keep it clean enough to keep up the ruse of the invisible kitchen. But it is uber cool.

    By the way, where's the fridge?

  7. There was a fridge, a wall oven and a pantry opposite this side of the kitchen and they hid behind pocketing doors. For now, you'll have to go to Canada or Europe to see it. It's not being released in the US. "Not for the US" is something I've been hearing a lot these last few weeks.

  8. I think this will appeal more to men than women. It's a lot to have exposed at one time - especially if your home is an open plan.

  9. Ann: Really? Does gender really figure into it? That's not a challenge, I'm just intrigued by that statement.

  10. I think the concept is a hit, for certain types of homes. Think of converted office parks/buildings. This would be a hit for those types of spaces.

  11. And why is everything "not for the U.S." that seems really short cited, and not really based on the changing face of America. There are anthro theories about cosmopolitans, and how cosmopolitans (no matter what country they live in) are very similar. With today's global world, where it is very easy to see how people live, and the fact that there is a huge value gap between millennials and boomers (and use those two groups simply because those are the largest generations that can buy houses) you would think that these companies would start trying to enter the U.S. market. Let's not even talk about immigration (particular those who come to the U.S. for college and never leave). One thing that must definitely be cross boundaries, are short-cited CEO's (of many companies).

  12. Anon: I've run into a huge number of things that aren't available in the US in the last few weeks. There are a bunch of things driving it. First, the US economy is reeling and people aren't spending money. Second, the US is a lot less cosmopolitan than I'd like to believe it is. From outside, the US is seen as an overfed and increasingly paranoid collection of yahoos in the thrall of Sarah Palin. The only place where a lot of this stuff would sell enough to make it worth while is New York and it's not worth the investment to export it.

  13. Every economy is reeling, one reason people aren't spending money is because a lot of things are crap. The U.S. is very cosmopolitan, from Dallas, to Denver, cosmopolitans are just people who live in cities. Palin didn't even get the majority of votes when she won gov. in Alaska. Also most people don't vote, and the boomers are not the largest generation. I'm not mad, it is just I see this type of thinking a lot from a lot of different industries, and in the end it really inhibits a lot of growth. For example, Hollywood is only concerned about men ages 17-35. That's who they market to, anything else is a niche market. Maybe 40 years ago that segment had the most disposal income but that isn't the case. Chrysler, GM, and Ford, lost a lot of money because they only focused primarily on men, and rural ones at that. Most people in this country do not live in the BFE (hint you have lived in the BFE if you know what that stands for). Part of the reason we even have a financial crisis is the failure to actually double check the information we receive, and the group think of a lot of CEO's. Again, it is funny and sad, because this is a problem in a lot of industries.

  14. Not every economy is crap. I just visited two of them and saw it with my own eyes. Canada and Germany are booming and they're doing it without depending on housing bubbles and their growth is based on manufacturing and selling the goods they make. The US is being left behind on just about every measure you can count. The US is in serious trouble and its political parties are too busy finger pointing to do anything that needs to be done.

    I don't want to argue with you but please, if you care about the future of the US, leave it for a little while and see what else is going on in the world.

  15. You go Paul! I agree 100% and have to say that there is nothing like traveling abroad to make one realize how we fit into the scheme of things. I think mainstream USA tends to be isolationist and unfortunately we're not going to be able to compete globally coming from that point of view. How did we get here from "hidden kitchens"? I loved 'em, by the way, cutting edge and efficient, almost modern day Bauhaus concept.


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