Hybrid spaces designed for socialisation
reading time: 5 minutes
interview with Patricia Viel
The Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel firm designs the installation at the Marazzi showroom for the Milan Design Week. A cosy and friendly home environment in which the kitchen space merges with the living room, thanks to the use of ceramics. A space that celebrates not the kitchen, but cooking, not the lounge, but being together.
The kitchen has always been a place where relationships have been forged and maintained, and its history, as a category of room, has reflected social and technological evolution, as well as the diversity between cultures, continually and fruitfully torn between tradition and modernity. A room for experimentation and innovation, which now expresses a more hybrid, versatile lifestyle, effectively summed up in the concept of the “Living Kitchen”, where the kitchen and living room merge: dynamic, open and central to the home. It is on this theme that the Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel firm has created its installation for Marazzi’s Milan showroom, exhibiting the compositional versatility of the Mystone Travertino collection in the Navona version, used here in the glossy oval mosaic size, and the vibrant luminescence of the Crogiolo Rice collection in the Natural colour (5x15, 7.5x20 and 15x15 cm sizes). Rounding off the effect, Mystone Travertino Silver was chosen for the kitchen countertop.
What is the installation’s underlying concept?
“The aim”, architect Patricia Viel replies, “was to create a cosy, friendly domestic environment. The kitchen almost merges with the living-room, and the dialogue between the two spaces is reinforced by the use of materials and colour shades that feature in them both. Not to mention continual cross-referencing – for example, the base of the bench is in the same stoneware as the kitchen counter and the work top. The new furnishing items, the equipped walls and the use of space in general convey a sense of belonging that encourages social interaction. The choice of oak for the kitchen table, and the use of porcelain stoneware – the small tiles of Crogiolo Rice and the stone-effect of the Mystone collections, with a hand-crafted look – convey a sense of warmth and timeless domesticity. The richness of the materials and the format design achieve the purity of eastern interiors, which disdain furnishing but derive the wealth and sophistication of their visual aesthetic from the coverings of their walls. Here the space is created by interior design alone, which celebrates not the kitchen, but cooking, not the lounge, but being together.”
What kind of space for relationships has the kitchen become nowadays?
“Relationships”, Patricia Viel continues, “is exactly the right word. The interesting thing about the kitchen is how it relates to its context, authentically representing different historical periods and ways of life. This is one of the most fascinating things about designing kitchens: the room is a symbol of social change, which designers and architects reflect or in some ways even shape through their work. In the ‘70s, the kitchen was a private space, which people wanted to hide; now it’s somewhere you want to show your friends, that merges into the space you use for entertaining, which used to take place only in the lounge. This is what we set out to express in the new installation.”
What is the role of ceramics in the transformation of the kitchen?
“They have the great gift of versatility,” Patricia Veil concludes. “Ceramics are a wonderful material, one of the most ancient and certainly one of the most eclectic. They can be both high-tech, in their adaptability and potential for future research and development and low-tech, in their visible beauty. In other words, they are able to adapt and respond to new demands.”