And the Next It Kitchen Cabinet Material Is…
The Lichen founders and three other pros weigh in.
Published May 25, 2022 1:01 AM
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Beloved for its endless possible applications and cost-effectiveness, raw plywood has been making waves in the kitchen renovation space since at least 2019, when we dubbed it our material of the year. And while it isn’t going anywhere (see: the floor-to-ceiling birch cupboards in this London home), at Domino we like to speculate about the next big thing—even if it’s just swapping horizontally laid subway tile for vertical. Whether you’ve never been a fan of the surface or are simply looking for an upgrade, we asked five industry pros to give us their thoughts on what they think is up-and-coming for kitchen cabinets.
For Traditionalists: Walnut
I love when kitchen cabinetry feels like a well-made piece of furniture, which is why I have been revisiting walnut lately—it’s a classic material with a retro vibe. For an updated look, I like to pair it with simple white surfaces that highlight its dramatic wavy grain pattern without overpowering the space. I like walnut’s versatility and ability to extend beyond kitchen cabinets, as in the 512 House, where we wove walnut cabinetry throughout the home’s spaces to create a cohesive visual story. —Jody Beck, AIA, founder of Traction Architecture
For Industrial Lovers: Steel
Steel is going to be one of the next materials used for kitchen cabinetry. The durability and sleekness of the look, plus the innumerable things that can be fabricated out of steel, is really interesting. It can be used both in modern and traditional homes, as it infuses a coolness to any sort of space. The way that Reform CPH developed its Reflect line with architect Jean Nouvel is stunning (the black colorway is incredibly chic)! It brings an element of an industrial kitchen into a home, but in the most sophisticated, nonindustrial way. —Grace Lee Lim, founder of GLL I+D
For Environmentalists: Plastic Sheets
I feel that sheets of recycled plastic will be a huge trend in the future. The ones that are on the market here in the U.K. are developing massively in aesthetics and functionality. Gone are the days of lots of colored plastics smelted into chaotic patterns (although there are some beautiful examples of that now, too), and incoming are organic patterns and calmer color palettes. Plus the types of recycled materials being used are ever expanding. —Laura Wellington, founder of Duke Studios
For Trendsetters: Corrugated Plastic
While we absolutely champion plywood because of its versatility, we’ve been exploring corrugated plastic as a medium for other forms of cabinetry. We initially spoke with Peter Danko about corrugated plastic as a material of the future because of its sustainability. You can melt old recycled plastics into new corrugated boards. —Jared Blake and Ed Be, founders of Lichen