‘Work with us,’ architect urges suppliers and retailers

London-based architect Sophie Nguyen has called for kitchen retailers and manufacturers to work more closely with architects.

Nguyen (pictured) claims that there is often a lack of “flexibility” in mass-produced kitchen furniture that can get in the way of a designer’s creativity.

“My biggest frustration is dealing with the restrictions that, standard or mass-produced, kitchen furniture puts on designers,” she said.

“I definitely believe that the industry would benefit from a closer working relationship between appliance and furniture manufacturers. This could, possibly, allow more flexibility in cabinet design.”

She also claimed that projects involving both architects and kitchen designers tend to “create a barrier”.

“In my experience – and this is not a criticism, as their business model often dictates this – retailers take what the manufacturer gives as standard and try their best to make it suit the space that we’re creating,” she said. “However, because they don’t fully understand what we’re trying to achieve, we might end up with a kitchen that is a bit soulless and doesn’t really look the way we wanted it to.”

She added: “If we could liaise with the furniture brand directly, we may be able to create almost a bespoke kitchen from a mass-produced product, because the manufacturers understand how far they can push the boundaries.”

Nguyen’s comments echo those of London-based architect Neil Wilson in the October issue of kbbreview [pg36], who said that he preferred creating bespoke kitchen cabinetry and work surfaces direct from the manufacturer.

He said he often finds working with kitchen designers frustrating, as they try to redesign his work.

He also added that he simply “won’t use” designers that don’t listen or don’t cooperate with his designs.

In response to this, renowned kitchen designer Johnny Grey claimed he is frequently limited by a project due to a “status-driven” architect. He argued that architects push designers aside or in some cases have them “gotten rid of”.

Grey called for architects to “respect” and involve kitchen designers on joint projects as he said “it’s our specialism”.

  • See full interview with Sophie Nguyen in July issue, pg32
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