Depending on whom you ask, cooking represents either an art or a science – which means that the kitchen can be understood as equal parts studio and laboratory. This dual identity is on full display in a Victorian renovation that British firm Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop recently completed for a London scientist.
Precise yet expressive, Astridge’s scheme situates the home’s cooking space and dining room in a new ground-floor addition defined by a distinctive focal point: a large circular window modelled after the ocular lens of a micro-scope. In another experimental move, the uncluttered food-prep area that runs along one side of the room is topped with a terrazzo slab countertop, chosen for its resemblance to magnified cells.
But lest these scientifically inspired elements shift the space too far away from the domestic realm, Astridge’s firm also added orderly wood shelving and soft pink paint to restore a sense of warmth. Key findings: an entirely homogeneous solution.
When tasked with renovating a kitchen in Montreal’s Habitat 67, designed by Moshe Safdie, one might be tempted to adopt the brutalist palette of the building’s exterior. But as a recent project by La SHED proves, a stone-cold interior is not the only way to honour Safdie’s vision. Instead, the firm devised a cooking environment anchored by a bold backsplash with large penny-round tiles in varying shades of an aqua that nods to the waters of the Saint Lawrence River outside. Mounted against this eye-catching wall composition, a single open shelf delivers a prominent perch for favourite servingware.
In keeping with Habitat 67’s Jenga-like play of volumes, a grid of wooden cabinetry forgoes hardware in favour of bevelled-edge handles, while parquet flooring joins together rectangles of alternating stains. The result is a warm, inviting kitchen that still pays thoughtful tribute to its setting – with nary a concrete countertop in sight.
Design firms Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop in London and La SHED in Montreal create kitchen interiors that eschew the sterile all-white look.