The obvious hints of green in this contemporary kitchen are purposeful touches by a designer’s hand through the color of the stools and a utensil holder on the counter. In a far more subtle and subconscious way, the green enters your overall perception of the room through the leaves seen just outside numerous windows and the herbs growing in LED greenhouses incorporated within the room on-hand at the cook space.
More purposeful than a hue, in the incorporation of what designer, Lisa Wilson-Wirth, CKD from San Diego firm, Arclinea, calls a greener kitchen. Wirth, along with Co-Designer, Jeremy Gleiberman, went to work renovating a kitchen and creating a chef-quality kitchen desired by her clients. With attention turned towards their preference for European craftsmanship and their passion for cooking, the result is this stunningly sleek yet welcoming open sleek kitchen.
The level of detail in apparent in the many unique components. The space is designed to perpetuate an overlapping existence of socializing, cooking and dining. The kitchen accommodates multiple work zones and numerous cooks simultaneously. Works tasks have been divided into designated zones, which include storage, preparation, cooking, wet work, dining, wine storage, home office, and cleaning storage to house broom and vacuum items. Conveniences of the professional kitchen such as ample storage, professional cooking setup and high-performance appliances provide foundation for the more elusive qualities to incorporate, such as a fluid sense of integration and details resembling that of fine furniture.
Arclinea, the award-wining company where Wirth practices her craft, is a company well familiar with exceptional craftsmanship. The company’s legacy began in 1816, and after interruption during the First World War, Arclinea was re-established in 1925 in Vincenza, Italy by Silvio Fortuna as a craft carpentry workshop that became Arclinea Cucine Componibili in 1960. Dedicating all its resources to kitchen cabinetry, Arclinea gained recognition in the high-end international luxury kitchen sector. Public and experts alike affirmed the company’s success at the Milan Trade Fair of 1963. Since then, the company has been incorporating technology and solutions typically reserved for the professional kitchen into residential homes and adapting them to the requirements of domestic living. With this being the designer’s creative stomping ground, the exceptional quality and fluidity of the space is explained. The subtleties resemble more an artful detail of furniture than a functioning component of a kitchen. Graceful lines of stainless, wood, and granite flow one to another without seam.
Activities revolve around the center island, which holds an accessorized sink and solar light-tubes providing natural daylight. Work surfaces are kept at a uniform height to encourage interaction between homeowners and guests.
Accessibility is addressed through discreet solutions at point-of-use. This purposeful incorporation of storage can be seen in a tall corner pantry, multiple pull-out pantries, deep drawers for the ergonomic storage of pots and pans, pull-out trays for spices, knives and utensils, adjustable dish organizers and dedicated bins for trash, recycling and compost in prep area and under the sink. Dedicated cabinets near the dining room house china, crystal, and entertaining pieces.
Beginning with material specification, this eco-intelligent renovation features reduced consumption of materials, reduced emissions, use of recycled and recyclable materials, green manufacturing and product durability.
A reduced volume of material consumption is achieved through cabinet doors fabricated from ecological panels made up of one hundred percent recycled regenerated wood, finished in oak veneers. The finish used on the cabinets is non-toxic, water-based and free of heavy metals. All constructive parts of the cabinetry are E1 class for emissions and the wall paints used are low VOC. The result is overall reduced emissions and improved air quality. Arclinea relies on eco-intelligent green manufacturing practices—an energy regeneration plant in the factory turns production-waste into fuel, and a state-of-the-art electrostatic precipitator (ESP) system efficiently de-dusts flue gases.
All stainless steel elements seen in this design are manufactured from partially recycled material and are fully recyclable, completing the cycle of reusability. All products were selected with durability and lifecycle in mind. Quality materials, engineered to last generations, provide a reduced environmental footprint attributed to longer product life.
Wirth achieved this compelling design while adhering to her philosophy of a greener kitchen, which she calls The Intelligent Kitchen ™. According to Wirth, Intelligent Kitchens take Green Design a step further, going well beyond material specification. This is done through the application of smart technologies and thoughtful design solutions for the outcome of enhancing homeowners’ well-being, lifestyle and overall health.
The integration of dedicated disposal systems for trash, recycling and compost in two locations: prep work space and under the sink provides convenience that encourages compliance. In addition, these areas being placed proximate to the garage or another location where trash and recycling is contained, along with the yard where compost containment can be incorporated. Hygienic materials such as stainless steel and easy-care woods, which can be cleaned with water and micro-fiber cloths, reduce the amount of chemical cleansers required.
Accessories for the sink help reduce water consumption allowing more effective use through basins, which can be inserted for vegetable soaking and produce washing. In addition, specification for greener appliances includes a Combi Steam Oven, providing a healthier alternative to microwave cooking. Special features of modular cook tops, such as Teppanyaki and electric grill also contribute to a healthier approach to cooking. An efficient European convection oven and wok burner heat more effectively, reducing energy usage.
The level of personalization is obvious in many ways, one being the inclusion of Teppanyaki as a means of preparation in daily meals. Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle, sometimes confused with the Hibachi Grill. Teppanyaki relies on the iron plate rather than an open grill over a flame. This provides a convenient in-kitchen spot for fast and fresh food preparation.
Natural daylight from solar light tubes, an energy-efficient LED greenhouse, Title 24 compliant fluorescent lighting profiles, and EnergyStar appliances are all part of this Intelligent Kitchen ™. Natural ventilation in the kitchen through the patio door and operable windows introduce temperate California coastal breezes into the home, reducing HVAC demands. A high-efficiency ventilation hood, which exceeds the minimum requirement help ensure healthy indoor air quality with a faster turnover.
In the cooking zone, a stainless steel countertop with an anti-drip edge and sliding chopping boards is high function and hygienic. This provides containment for Teppanyaki, electric grill and gas wok cook tops. Convection ovens with an integrated pizza stone and rotisserie are reflection of the family’s affinity for healthful cooking and appliances that allow for an alternative to microwave cooking. Two family favorites are pizza and gelato, which they prepare regularly. A dedicated appliance cabinet, with a pop-up work surface holds the necessary gelato maker and food processor.
This smartly and stylish design belies the less obvious material selection – eco-intelligent finishes, sustainable grown and harvested wood, and recyclable stainless steel accents. Accessibility was a component that the designer gave consideration to without it affecting the appearance. Honed Black Forest, colorful barstools and accents throughout, ensure warmth and personality. The skilled designer and her team blended functionality, safety, ergonomics together with attentive planning toward use-of-space, movements required for cooking and preparation, along with lifestyle requirements and preferences. A radiant family and guest-friendly kitchen is the exquisite result.
Lisa Wilson-Wirth, CKD
Arclinea San Diego
San Diego, CA
San Diego Chapter
NKBA Member Since 2008
“According to Wirth, Intelligent Kitchens take Green Design a step further, going well beyond material specification. This is done through the application of smart technologies and thoughtful design solutions…”
“The level of personalization is obvious in many ways, one being the inclusion of Teppanyaki as a means of preparation in daily meals. This provides a convenient in-kitchen spot for fast and fresh food preparation.”