The night of Day 2 in Copenhagen introduced me to Hansen Living, a minimalist, natural approach to kitchens. Knud Kapper, danish architect and founder of Hansen Living, has designed an eco-friendly collection of functional furniture for the kitchen. Tonight's party was to celebrate Hansen's arrival in NYC, thanks to US rep, Susan Serra.
Knud explained that when he embarked on designing Hansen's product line, he asked some of the best chefs in Copenhagen what made them 'laugh at the typical consumer kitchen.' Then he did the opposite. The result is a collection of free-standing units with no overhead cabinets, but rather drawers below counters. Each drawer is lined with a metal perforated bottom to allow air circulation. The base pieces are raised on legs to allow access for cleaning the entire kitchen floor.
The chefs and Knud agree that overhead cabinets decrease the use of available counter space, increase the chances of hitting one's head while chopping vegetables, and make any space look smaller. They also agree not to "give people too much space" or they might try to fill it with things they don't need. In fact, Knud told me, if clients, ask for more cabinets once the kitchen is delivered, he encourages them to think about it for 6 more months and if they still feel a lack of space, they can call him and he'll concede. According to Knud, they never call.
Clearly, Knud is an architect first, and a businessperson second.
Hansen kitchen furniture is made of solid sustainable woods--created and assembled in Denmark by skilled woodworkers--using only water-based glues and natural soaps and oils as finishes. Knud described the pieces as built with the integrity of a long-lasting table into which drawers and appliances such as ovens or refrigerators are inserted. Knud's goal is to completely eschew the image of the forced and disposable kitchen--the particle board cabinets anchored to walls, the built in sink and bulky oven, etc. etc.