The Architectural Kitchen

Modern kitchen design is the hearth of the contemporary home.
Modern kitchen design is the hearth of the contemporary home. Photo: Supplied.

This is sponsored content for SMEG. 

Discover the key to creating a beautiful and functional architectural kitchen that will transcend time. 

Designer and co-founder of award-winning design studio Minosa, Darren Genner, says the look is one of uninterrupted lines, perfect proportions, precision craftsmanship and elegant detailing – timeless and purposeful – partnered with the leading technology and superior performance appliances.

"When we look at an architectural kitchen, we are not seeing buttons, handles and big clunky appliances," says Darren, winner of Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2018.  "We want highly reflective surfaces that reflect what is going on around the living space.  An aesthetic with clean, refined lines and appliances that match and are perfectly in line, integrated and in proportion. Just add copper or steel detailing, for a touch of class."

Darren also spends time understanding the way a client lives, functions and entertains in order to create a highly functional space. Here, he shares his recipe for kitchen design success.


·         Oven

·         Cooktop

·         Wine cellars and coffee machines

·         Rangehood

·         Finishing touches


Choosing good quality ingredients


What's hot in the oven department? "Most people want self-cleaning ovens, and we're seeing more people moving to steam ovens for the health benefits of steam cooking - and because you can do a hell of a lot in them!" says Darren, adding;  "From an aesthetic approach, we want the built-in and freestanding appliances to match with other appliances and work together proportionally."

Smeg oven


Cook up a delicious kitchen design with simple lines. "Again, we look for cooktops that look good, are easy to clean and have fine, simple lines. We avoid [anything] clunky," says Darren. "Appliances need to be refined, such as an induction cooktop with a single burner gas. People still have a connection to gas style cooking, but we love the instant nature of induction. It suits modern lifestyles. It's quick, it's safe, it's a clean surface and it allows for extra bench space."

Smeg cooktop.

­Wine cellars and coffee machine

"Kitchens are no longer a 'hub' in the home, they're a living space," says Darren. "We entertain, we live, laugh, dance, sing and cry there! The wine cellar is the next phase of the entertainment theme.

"From an architectural perspective, we're seeing below bench beautifully connected wine cellar as a part of the new SMEG Dolce Stil Novo collection. The cellar fridge and sommelier drawer perfectly matches the rest of the kitchen. We're also seeing wall-mounted versions of wine cellars that line up perfectly with the oven and other built-in appliances, which is beautiful."

Smeg wine cellar


Darren says designers want their rangehood to be powerful, quiet, and not seen! "Under-mounted or concealed rangehoods are really the best option for an architectural kitchen," he suggests. "We don't want appliances dominating our space, seeing them constantly and being reminded of the work we have to do. Open plan living means we need to create a kitchen space that is visually appealing. The integrated living space to be the stand out feature, not appliances. That's why integrated fridges, dishwashers, drawers, wine cellar and rangehoods are the key to an aesthetic kitchen."


Step 1. Ideate

Start with a good brief and ideation says Darren. "Ensure you understand what your family's needs are and understand the space."

Things to consider include: what the problems are, such as lack of storage, and how you would like to live, cook, entertain and function in this space. Darren suggests writing a detailed list of 'would like, must have, can live without.' "Once you work out what these three things are you can start strong," he says. And don't get caught up looking at other peoples' kitchens. "All of those kitchens have been designed for someone else's needs," Darren warns.

Step 2. Seek advice

"Employ a good designer who really understands you and your family's needs. If you are a professional couple with kids, you might buy fresh ingredients daily on your way home from work to cook, and require less storage and more fresh food space.

Step 3. Design

"Don't get caught up on things that are hip now or fashion colours or trends," warns Darren. "If you want an architectural kitchen that will stand the test of time, and you want to live really well in this home, then design well - understated, refined lines, and layer your palette. This means everything reads together. Then when you look at your kitchen in 10 years it will still look beautiful, refined, in proportion and balanced.

Step 4. Source

It's so tempting to shop for everything but the kitchen sink, don't. "Understand how it is that you want to live and then start researching the market before selecting materials," says Darren. "For example, with benchtops, if you are a person who likes making pasta, you might choose a big bench that's made from a 100% non-porous hygienic surface, like porcelain or solid surface. Or if you have young children walking around, avoid reflective surfaces. Look for materials that are more robust and wont chip or leave fingerprints. Nano-technology laminate, even in matte black, will not fingerprint."

The result

A beautifully crafted, timeless and functional kitchen. "Creating the perfect kitchen that is aesthetically pleasing and works for the family is a journey. Make sure every decision is thought through, your choice is for good quality fittings, finishes and appliances, and you will get the result you want."

Smeg collaborates with leading designers and architects of the world to create several distinct design families, each with an exclusive look. Dolce Stil Novo by Smeg is the latest addition to Smeg's extensive range of design collections, and its finest ever. Smeg is the only brand to offer genuine design choice to a range of design options. Available at leading retailers and appliance retail specialists, or view at a Smeg showroom around the country. See  for more information.