Don’t let trends stifle creativity, warns designer

Kitchen designers need to be original and not just blindly follow trends like open plan that may not work for their clients.

That is the view of freelance kitchen designer Keith Brisley, who believes such trends are stifling creativity and that too many designers opt for open-plan when they may not be the best thing for the clients.

He warned: “The open-plan style becomes dysfunctional when it is the only space in the house apart from the bedrooms and bathroom. When that is the case, the social hub becomes a competing and fractious mix of sounds and activity – and very little tranquillity.”

Brisley describes how he worked with one developer who specified open-plan kitchens for all of his new-build properties and used his own kitchen as “a shining example of the genre”.

Keith Brisley, kitchen designer

“But,” added Brisley, “his house also had a separate formal dining room, lounge and snug. Plenty of room then for escaping the social hub when the mood calls.”

Brisley said that after nine months working with a national kitchen company, he witnessed walls being knocked down at “an alarming rate” with “no convincing design argument” for doing so.

He suggests that it is the designer’s job to challenge a client’s request for open-plan if it is plainly not suitable.  He dismisses the common argument that this is “what the client wants”. He counters by saying that what the client actually needs is “sound advice from a passionate, knowledgeable designer always looking for originality”.

Brisley accepts that compromises may have to be made but adds that if, as a business, you have more than enough work, it may be better to reject projects that would see you fit an open-plan scheme where it is not suitable.

Brisley told kbbreview of a project he worked on recently where a room had been open-plan, but he put back a wall that had been knocked down and fitted a pocket door in it, so that the space could be closed off or opened up as required.

Brisley concluded by saying that just because something is the current trend, it should not be the default for everyone and that it is the designer’s duty to try to offer something original.

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