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by Cathy Hetherman

The latest in kitchen designs straight from Milan

A visit to EuroCucina in Milan, Italy is equivalent to stepping into a design time machine. Set the date to two years from today, and you will have a glimpse into the trends that are about to explode into the North American kitchen design market.

Hundreds of thousands of designers, builders and manufacturers from all over the world, merged into what can only be described as a ‘mosh pit’ of innovation frenzy. It was every person for themselves, and no cameras were allowed. Hundreds of people elbowed their way into each booth, and head-set-wearing bouncers often demanded passes to enter. This was the epitome of cool. This IS EuroCucina.

Nothing in North America can compare to the impact of this show. Multi-million dollar booths featured such designers as Scavolini, Stosa, Minacciolo, and Snaidero (to name but a few) — and they were all presenting to the design industry. We’re not talking about builder-grade black granite anymore.

Solid wood cabinetry – gone.

Stone – nope.

Appliances – all undercover, baby!

European kitchen design is going to change the way we think, design and purchase. Consider some of these steadfast trends:

Whites, Woods and Wow!

Not real woods, but fabulous wood and matte laminates (muted and bold) combined with clean white, or non-glossy, tops with eye-popping splashes of greens, oranges, teals or reds. Velvety, pristine solid surfaces and new nano-technology laminates share dual-purpose roles on counters and cabinetry. Imagine blacks that leave no fingerprints.


Appliances are being integrated into cabinet designs like never before. The focus is on linear cabinetry and perfectly hidden appliances. Hardware is optional. Say goodbye to refrigerators, microwaves and coffee makers — they’ll all become a well-kept secret. Even cook tops and stoves often disappear behind a well-designed space. The emphasis is on space and calm — something we can all relate to in our cluttered worlds.


Tomorrow’s kitchens are in motion with hinges, mechanics, louvres and remote controls. Innovative hinging makes for the most accessible kitchens to date. Just a touch will raise and lower upper cabinets. Just a swipe, and the eating bar changes direction. A push of a button goes from counter to bar height. Integrated pantry doors disappear to reveal appliances and work spaces.

EuroCucina is the ultimate wake-up call for kitchen design. The industry is in for an uprising of innovation and technology. The attendance, alone, was the highest in the history of the event. It’s a clear indication that kitchen design is hungry for something fresh. It’s time to educate ourselves and prepare for trends that will catapult us into a season of design madness — where form follows function, and the customer wins.

CATHY HETHERMAN is a contributing writer, and
MIKE HETHERMAN CKD is a Certified Kitchen Designer and respected voice in the industry.Read more about Mike at


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