Bringing elegance to the everyday is an innate talent of Inga Sempé. With a discerning eye for form, material and colour, the French designer is renowned for her timeless and refined creations that manage to express a captivating and playful personality without compromising function. And her first-ever kitchen – Column – is no exception.
Developed for Scandinavian kitchen design brand Reform (whose roster of high-calibre collaborators already includes the likes of Jean Nouvel, Muller Van Severn, Norm Architects, Cecilie Manz), Column is a perfect reflection of Sempé’s expertise – simple, elegant and slightly unexpected. Deviating from the strict angularity of modern kitchens, Column softens its chunky frame through rounded and curved details, the most obvious of which is its handle. “I wanted a handle that is nice to handle,” says Sempé of her kitchen’s defining feature.
Running the entire height of the units, the elongated and shapely handle is soft to the touch and easy to grip, turning the mundane act of opening a cupboard into a surprisingly pleasant experience. Viewed from the front, the vertical insertion has a column-like appearance (lending the system its name) that adds rhythm to the flat-fronted cabinets; glimpsed from above, it resembles a mushroom slice – an unintentional yet charmingly appropriate detail for a kitchen. “I found a way of changing the direction of the handle, making a structural link between all of them. It gave it an architectural dimension,” Sempé says of the handle’s unconventional orientation and visual impact.
Admittedly “not a fan of boxes,” Sempé likens today’s industrial-leaning kitchens to a “sum of cubes” with square angles representing the most efficient geometry. With Column, her intention was to smooth out those hard lines and introduce a new formula.
To that end, the compelling curve of the handle is repeated on the countertop edges and cabinet corners, resulting in a harmonious and consistent character.
To complete her vision for the Column kitchen, Sempé thoughtfully curated a palette of materials and colourways that is fresh and invigorating: Solid White Ash or Natural Oak are treated with a clear matte lacquer top coat, or ash veneer can be spray-painted in a choice of Fresh Cream, Pistachio, Concrete or Dark Umbra, with all versions allowing the depth and structure of the wood grain remaining visible. A selection of richly detailed natural stones or solid wood countertops top off the volumes.
Designed for Scandinavian kitchen brand Reform, Column is defined by its uniquely shaped handle and rounded edges.