Curves for the Kitchen: La Cucina Alessi
I'm trying to envision how La Cucina Alessi by Alessandro Mendini and Gabriele Centazzo might change the way one moves in the kitchen. The concept-building on the work of designers from Pierre Paulin to Gaetano Pesce to Karim Rashid-is that straight lines are for the birds. Or, more precisely put, for the inherited rigidities of homo sapiens. Straight vs. curved is an old argument, with aesthetic and functional merits on either side, but Mendini's broad gesture of undulation and organicism has nearly got me convinced.
La Cucina Alessi. Designed by Alessandro Mendini and Gabriele Centazzo .
The designer expostulates: "the poetry and aesthetics of the curved line... an enveloping, sinuous, wavy and dynamic meaning. A feeling of total protection: physical, because by rounding off edges, accidents are avoided; and psychological, letting you use this culinary tool in a relaxed and happy way for perfect cooking results."
The contention bears examination from two perspectives: 1. do curves make one happy? and 2. do curves create a more functional kitchen? The answer to 1 is rife with subjective speculation, but I will say I'm intrigued by the notion of a kitchen island that matches the mechanics of the universe, and, by extension, the mechanics of human legs and arms. In regards to 2, Alessi says that the Cucina's curved island is ergonomically efficient; that the sideboard/cupboard storage unit's rounded top and back-side niche optimizes space; that the decorative perforations on drawers and vertical surfaces creates a "pulsating textural effect" that facilitates an "integrated multi-sensorial experience."
All this looks and sounds pretty convincing to me. Alessi's La Cucina has a striking aesthetic that's an intriguing counterpoint to the right angles of interior walls. But the ensemble definitely calls for an open-living arrangement. I can't see how it would work if backed into the corner of a house as many kitchens are. Notwithstanding this caveat, La Cucina Alessi seems like a dream to me. Especially for loft living, the gracious curves of LCA would function as a peaceable vortex, drawing on the good energy of fabulous food and a contented cook to pull inhabitants within and around its sinuous embrace.
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