Drawing on a tonal and earthy palette, Laminex has collaborated with YSG to design an intrepid kitchen, living room and study. Bold use of colour, unexpected textures and considered details offer a creative response to the myriad needs of contemporary life. Designed to support everything from weekday meals to dinner parties, work and study to rest and relaxation, these are spaces at once joyful and functional.
The Fantales kitchen sets the scene. The space establishes a dramatic yet organic colour palette and key details – some of which are immediately attention-grabbing, whilst others await discovery. “There were three big ideas we wanted to explore: framing devices, colour fields, and texture,” says YSG Principal Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem. These are the key gestures around which the entire design coalesces, lending a sense of order and continuity to the spaces that ground some of the more unconventional moves. All three work in concert to lend depth, Yasmine explains, creating a subtle sense of intrigue that draws one in and invites engagement.
The idea of colour fields was inspired by both the work of Mark Rothko and the new shades of the 2021 Laminex Colour Collection. “Rothko’s paintings are very tonal and use big swathes of colour, which we wanted to evoke in the experience,” Yasmine says. Laminex Burnt Ochre is used for the base and overhead cabinetry in the kitchen, while Laminex Moroccan Clay comprises the benchtops. “These are two terracotta shades that are very close in colour, and I love colour blocking, using just one or two similar shades,” she reflects. The earthiness of these hues paired with a two-tone timber eucalyptus flooring “speaks to an Australiana palette,” interpreting and amplifying the natural world to create an effect that is both abstract and evocative. Complementing these broad fields of colour, unexpected highlights of Laminex Fresh Spring are found only when the drawers or cupboards are opened, animating an otherwise rote act into a moment of delight. This approach – injecting vibrancy and interest through pops of colour – carries through into the other spaces, exemplifying the attention devoted across all scales.
The junctures between spaces are treated with equal care, creating framed views throughout and between rooms. This layering of space, Yasmine describes, is especially significant when people are spending more time at home than ever before, often living, working, studying and playing within the same four walls. “Framing enables areas to meld into each other without closing them off with solid constructs,” she says. “We built major thresholds from kitchen to the living space to create a really framed junction between the areas. Across both rooms, vertical pivot screens are covered in dual colour-matched Dulux shades of Clay Pipe Quarter and Spiralina, enabling sunlight to stream inside.” The joinery itself is also treated as a framing device. Set against the three walls, the tower cabinetry in Laminex Danish Walnut Chalk and overhead cabinets in Laminex Burnt Ochre subtly frame the statement island within the centre. And, when cupboards are opened, the shelves – gently curved at the edge – encapsulate the items on display.
In a play on texture, YSG specified two Laminex Woodgrains, along with Artedomus mosaic tiles and walnut timber. “Combining the real with the artificial is something we love to employ – making things appear differently than what they are and offering the real thing next to a representation is a strong YSG signature,” Yasmine says. Where the kitchen takes advantage of the durability of the Laminex Woodgrain, small accents of real timber in the flooring, foot rail and the circular drawer handles are then used to complement and contrast. The pairing of Laminex Milkwood and Laminex Danish Walnut in textured Chalk finish to the island was driven by the desire to “enable the tactile appeal of woodgrain laminate to be fully appreciated,” Yasmine explains. “I liked the idea of this hub having a tactile surface as it tends to be the most utilised piece of furniture in the house these days. We mix matched its grain for a tapestry-like appeal on vertical surfaces while introducing a lighter [tone] to the island’s counter, granting the kitchen a casual comforting cabin-like vibe.”
As the focal point of the kitchen, the over-scaled island bench is responsible for heralding many of the most significant aspects of the design, and this is especially true of the custom detailing that elevates the island into a statement object. The pairing of Laminex Milkwood and Laminex Danish Walnut culminates at a striped detail to its base, in a monochromatic graphic that has also been carried into the living space. The benchtop is curved both at the top and around the base, a gesture that then informs the curved custom shelving, the bullnose detail to the splashback ledge and linear bullnose handles that subtly respond to the curve of the hand. “YSG interiors have a carved, sculptural appeal with gentle bulges [and] rounded edges,” Yasmine says. Here, these characteristics have been crafted by post-forming and cold-forming Laminex laminate to create unexpected forms that lend both a playful and refined quality to the space.
Visually and tactilely engaging, the kitchen captures the senses and stimulates the imagination. YSG has creatively worked with Laminex laminate to craft spaces sensitive to the functional requirements of daily life, brimming with warmth and comfort.