Kitchen Appliances for Luxury Bespoke Kitchens

Much of Artichoke’s work involves designing luxury bespoke kitchens for private homes. Our projects demand not just the highest quality furniture, but also the best quality appliances to go in them.

We’ve worked with most of the major appliance manufacturers over the past 25 years, and we know what cuts the mustard in terms of performance and quality.  Here are our thoughts on the top major brands delivering at the high quality end of the market we operate in.

 

Sub-zero

Sub Zero has established itself as the fridge and freezer brand of choice in the UK for bespoke kitchens in private residences demanding high quality without compromise.  Since we started working with them we’ve had very few problems at all from clients where we’ve specified their kit (the only problem we did have was sorted pretty rapidly).

Sub Zero has a deserved reputation for the robust workmanship of their products which are used in many domestic environments as well as the professional kitchens of chefs such as Michel Roux, Aldo Zilli and Shaun Rankin.

One of the main points of interest is the unique ‘Air Purification’ system built into their refrigerator line which removes harmful gases and odours; a process that was developed initially for NASA to aid food preservation. Additionally, the Dual Compressor system, standard on all Sub-Zero fridge/freezers, is a completely unique feature to Sub-Zero.

 

Wolf

Wolf, which is owned by Sub Zero, offer a wide range of built-in kitchen ovens, hobs, cook tops gas and dual fuel ranges.  A great deal of focus has been placed on precision control of heat to help users deliver professional results.

Again, their equipment is extremely well built and we’ve had few problems.  It is worth remembering that some of their larger require 3 phase electricity to run and also some seriously powerful extraction which we can help you with.

One of their main features is a patented dual stacked burner which offers extremely precise temperature control and precision, making them perfect for melting butter or chocolate on a low heat or high temperature cooking.

 

La Cornue

La Cornue were first launched in 1908 in France by a chef with a passion for new technology.  They are still made in France, and each oven is hand-made to order using only cast iron, steel, solid brass, nickel and enamel.

Secret to La Cornue’s success is their vaulted ovens which improve circulation and even cooking temperature throughout the oven.  Each oven is assembled by hand and only a few hundred are made each year which are delivered to private homes and professional kitchens all over the world.  They have a unique look and we’ve used them successfully in both contemporary and traditional bespoke luxury kitchens.

Artichoke has installed numerous La Cornue ovens, mainly their Chateaux series; it is well worth visiting their show-room.

 

Gaggenau

Gaggenau appliances have been produced in Germany, with all of the engineering precision you’d expect from a German engineering firm, for 300 years, and their experience shows.  They now offer a huge range of cooking and chilling appliances aswell as appliances for washing and ventilation.

Artichoke has been specifying them for a considerable length of time and their performance has always impressed our clients.  Their designs work particularly well in contemporary kitchen design.

 

Electrolux Grand Cuisine

Electrolux Grand Cuisine are relative new-comers to the domestic luxury bespoke kitchen scene. The backbone behind the new arm of the well established Electrolux brand is the domestication of their existing professional ranges and putting the tools of the professional restaurant within reach of the home chef.

We’ve attended a couple of demonstrations of their new range, which includes combination oven, blast chiller, vacuum sealer and induction and gas hobs.  The kit was demonstrated by a professional chef and performed brilliantly and looks superb.

 

Officine Gullo

With strong roots from Florence, Officine Gullo is a relatively young company compared to the strong heritage roots that it can claim.   Founded in the 1990s, the companies founder based his first oven in a large range oven made in the 1800’s.  The look is renaissance and probably quite polarising, but works well in the traditional and period settings where Artichoke spends much of its time.

These are appliances built for professional chefs and dedicated domestic ones, and they are as robust as you’ll find anywhere.  Also come with a great range of accessories.

 

If you have questions about appliances, contact Bruce or Andrew on +44 (0)1934 745270 and we’d be happy to give you our thoughts.

Curved Kitchen for a Round House

Round houses were once all the rage (think mud huts, yurts and teepees).  Houses were built in the round because they offered strength against earthquakes, strong winds and heavy snow, and because they were quick to heat and simple to roof.

These days, modern building materials and fixings offer enough strength and stability to not have to deploy round exteriors for strength, and it is unusual to see one.  Not because the shape is unappealing aesthetically, but largely because the machinery that makes and shapes building materials such as steel, brick, glass, timber and stone is designed to produce it flat, square and straight.  Flat, square and straight is the default setting for most building material manufacturers, so it should be of no great surprise that design and manufacture of curved furniture takes longer and ultimately costs more.

Even the glass backsplash is curved.

 


This particular house is round because it has been inspired by the circular garage carousel upon which it sits, created to store the clients car collection.

Design Challenges – Designing A Kitchen in a Round House
The project has been designed in collaboration with Mark Gillette and for it to be authentic and a design success, it was first vital that all of the curved elements of the bespoke kitchen doors were actually curved, and not faceted.

This challenge is further compounded by the fact that the curve becomes tighter the nearer to the center of the roundhouse the furniture is positioned.  This means that the radius of the furniture doors in the scullery at the back of the kitchen is different (shallower) to the radius of the doors on the outside of the island (tighter).

Radius dimensions are 16.16 metres for the scullery, 15.32 for the glass splashback, 14.62 for the main kitchen furniture, 13.49 for the inside of the island and 12.09 for the outside of the island.

In addition to the varying radius dimensions, other challenges present themselves. Dishwashers and fridges have flat doors, raising the question of how you fix a curved furniture door to the face of a flat metal door?  Does the hinge on the appliance throw the curved door out far enough so that it doesn’t meet adjacent doors?  Hardly any of the joints meet at 90 degrees.  How do you clamp these items together at an angle?  Are the floor tilers using the same radius as you and will their floor radius match your plinth radius?  The glass backsplash needs to be specially curved. How do you set out the kitchen at the installation stage?


Artichoke’s creative design images of the desk area with doors open and closed. The right hand side of these images show the strength of the curved doors.

Materials
The primary material chosen for this kitchen is fumed Eucalyptus, typically found in Australia, New Zealand and Spain. The material is a light brown/golden yellow in its natural state, and it is made to go a deep chocolate brown colour by fuming it (a process using ammonia that causes a reaction with the tannins in the timber).

As you can see, the timber has a wonderful ripple running through it and great care and considerable time was chosen to source a pack of veneer that was even in colour throughout and maintained its ripple across the width of the kitchen.  As is often the case, we took the client to our veneer suppliers to advise and discuss the choice.

The Fumed Eucalyptus in Artichoke’s workshops before it is worked.

This video shows an Artichoke cabinet-maker bonding veneer onto one of the curved substrates using a vacuum bag-press. 

Production Engineering
At Artichoke, because our kitchens are so highly bespoke, we put every completed design through a process called Production Engineering.  This essentially means we are making the kitchen digitally into an accurately surveyed wire-frame model of the room.  This allows us to iron out every issue on computer first before any materials are purchased.

Images show the kitchen being digitally cabinet-made into the wire frame model of the room.   Once this process is complete and we are happy the kitchen works, we can use this software to produce making drawings for the cabinet-makers.

Cabinet Making
For quality control reasons, every bespoke kitchen we design is assembled at Artichoke’s workshops to ensure any issues are ironed out before we come to the installation phase.  This also gives us the opportunity to ensure that all of the appliances fit perfectly and that all of the door gaps are perfect.  Only then is the kitchen dis-assembled and finished in Artichoke’s high tech, air filtered finishing booths. 


Individually, the curve on each door is surprisingly slight, but when compounded it becomes more pronounced.

Installation Phase
Artichoke’s workshop environment is specifically set to domestic heat and humidity levels, so moving completed furniture into a non domestic environment is a potential danger.

The installation phase is often the most risky, and we take great care to ensure that our furniture is introduced to the building at the correct stage of the build.  We are particularly focussed on ensuring the relative humidity is appropriate (between 40 and 60%).  If humidity levels are under, it can cause the timber in the kitchen to shrink, causing cracking, gapping and surface checking.  If the humidity levels are above (which can be as a result of plasterers still working on the site), then it can encourage mould growth and buckling.    Solid timber is particularly vulnerable.


The house nearing completion.

The main sink elevation.


The double doors lead to the scullery.  The glass was also curved, as was the stone profile.  The stone has a textured surface.

 

Completed Project

If you are interested in curved kitchen design and would like to discuss a project with us, please contact Andrew or Bruce on +(0)1934 745270.

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