Kitchens, their design, and what go in them is becoming increasingly exciting. Innovation, functionality and design inspiration come together in the hub of the home. As the Artistic Advisor for LG Studio, interior designer Nate Berkus recently launched a new collection of kitchen appliances for the brand, in an alluring dark stainless steel finish that stands out from the mostly silver stainless steel finishes currently on the market. I wanted to get his take on designing the collection and what it was like to segue from interiors to appliances, and the design perspective he brings to the creative process. Ahead, I get the inside scoop from Nate.
How did you get involved with LG?
I don't cook. I love setting the table! I told LG that when we started talking. As a designer though, there was 20 years of experience designing luxury American kitchens. I felt strongly about the shape of the nob and glass used on the oven door- those are all experiential things that matter. I was really excited about seeing the prototypes and what my feedback had provided, and I have loved working with LG in this way.
You have been in business for over 20 years. How has this prepared you to have a hand in the design of kitchen appliances?
I've probably designed between 6-10 kitchens a year. I've designed 205 kitchens I'd say. As we head into the 4th year of my being in this role, the initial meetings were a lot of research and development and a lot of sampling. I felt very hands on from a design perspective, LG is a company that cares a lot about good design and approachable luxury and we wanted to know as much as we could about how Americans use their kitchens. We envisioned the young family and how they live. We launched in classic stainless in 2013. It is rich finish with a lot of depth. People are reaching for time worn materials, they feel timeless. When it comes to approachability, we come in below what Subzero would cost.
What were the things you kept top of mind when designing this collection? What, in your mind, is needed to make the best, most functional kitchen work successfully?
LG likes to delight and amaze. To add an unexpected pop of color, the interior of the oven is painted bright blue. The front right burner is the most powerful, so the housing is done in brass, making it extra special. It was a question of value engineering based on what you get for your money. My goal was to create a suite of appliances that felt professional, had style and were commercial looking with functionality. If you are having a dinner party and your appliances aren't dependable and working correctly, the whole thing falls apart pretty quickly. Reliability was top of mind for us.
Why did you decide to do a dark stainless finish in black for LG?
The smudge resistant Black Stainless Steel finish has a professional feel, but it can go in urban and country settings equally well. To get that smudge proof finish, LG runs the stainless steel grain horizontally.
What is the best way to make this finish work in both country and cosmopolitan settings?
In a country kitchen you can mix old and new-- look at the kitchen in Downton Abbey! It feels very urban and classic American.
For urban dwellers with less space to work with, what is the best way to maximize space in a layout and use full size appliances too?
I always view a small kitchen as an opportunity to use amazing finishes and blow it out. Small space's are exciting- and you need less material so you can splurge on incredible finishes, hardware and surfaces.
What is your favorite appliance you have designed?
I love the dishwasher because of the handle, it is seamless and clean. I also love the door in door feature in the 4-Door French Door Refrigerator that provides quick access to things with our InstaView™ window- it won an innovation award at CES.
Hello, gorgeous lapis blue interior