It is with great sadness that Canburg announces that Mark Wilkinson OBE, one of the world’s most influential designers has passed away peacefully at his home in Wiltshire.
A truly English “eccentric” Mark Wilkinson was a visionary designer and an exceptionally skilled craftsman and furniture maker. Amongst other accolades, he was a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers, a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers of the City of London; in 2010 he was awarded an OBE for Services to the Furniture Industry and Charity. Mark was also a member of MENSA.
During his long career his designs ranged from clothing to object d’art, but it is for furniture that he will be best remembered. In 1977 his first kitchen design in old pine pioneered the “English Country kitchen” and launched a new industry specialising in this aesthetic and style of living. Mark was a co-founder of Smallbone of Devizes and in 1981 he founded Mark Wilkinson Furniture. The company was sold to Canburg in 2009 and Mark was made Group Creative Director; he remained involved in the business until his death.
Best described as “furniture alchemy” the designs and artisan making of Mark Wilkinson Furniture carries forward Mark Wilkinson’s values in every piece that the company makes – inspired by a sustainable vision of bespoke furniture, rich with heritage and imbued with Mark’s infectious creativity.
Born in 1950, in North London, Mark’s early educational experiences as a child with dyslexia, informed both professional choices and personal passions. He had a long-standing commitment to supporting charities for dyslexia and the educational needs of children with the disability. He and his wife, Cynthia, had recently formed the Mark Wilkinson Foundation for Innovation and Employment to help further the ambitions and careers of young people with dyslexia.
Formed in 2009, by Miles Hartwell and Matt Withington and located just south of London, SplinterWorks is one of the best examples of ‘applied arts‘ I’ve seen in recent years. They have delivered projects all over the world, in the USA, UAE, Southern Ireland, Cyprus, France, Italy and even one in Australia.
SplinterWorks have a particular affinity with developing work that re-thinks how we prepare, cook and experience food. They bring the activities of the kitchenout of the grid shaped room at the back of the house and into the living areas creating works to be enjoyed socially, physically and visually.
The majority of their works are unique commissions where every element, from the intended location and practical elements, to striking a personal resonance with the commissioner, can be considered and accomplished.
After many requests and lots of diliberations I’ve decided to post my own top 20 European brands. Top 20 European kitchen companies, because I simply felt that there are too many great European kitchen brands to limit the list to just top 10.
PRODUCT INNOVATION – is this a kitchen brand that takes risks, that is on the cutting edge of technology and innovates or just a company that copies others?
PRODUCT QUALITY – how well made is the product? Does the company ‘cuts corners’?
SERVICE – delivery on time, delivers complete orders, ‘after sale’ service, etc.
I have chosen not to take into consideration COMPANY SIZE, as there is no real direct benefit to the buyer and I’ve already listed the 10 largest European brands.
I also did not factor VALUE because I feel that value is very individual – what one consumer sees as a great value, another may view as cheap. Webster’s definition of Value is – “a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged”. Once a kitchen brand has top design, innovation, quality and service, the price will always be higher. Surprizingly, there are a few kitchen brands on this list that have a pretty good value, as well as ranking high on all the other categories.
In the Top 20 European Kitchen 11 Italian kitchen brands, 7 German kitchen companies, one English and one French are in the above list.
So, without further a due and in alphabetical order here are my Top 20 European kitchen Brands:
Honorable mentions: there were a few companies that did not make it to my Top 20 European Kitchen Brands, but deserve a mention. Also in the advise of one of the readers of this blog, i’ve decided to update this post and add a few more (they deserve it!). We’ll call this section the “hors catégorie” (thanks Pierangelo):
Clive Christian – ranked high on DESIGN and if marketing was a category, will most definitely be included in the Top 20 list.
Marchi – ranked very high on DESIGN and INNOVATION.
Minotti – one of the best in creating the very unique, minimalist and clean look, that goes beyond a kitchen design. Not for everyone and is available only in selected few locations worldwide but Minotti is at the top of the DESIGN category.
LaCornue – though they are really more of an appliance company (ranges, cook tops, etc.) , they do offer cabinets and other elements that allow them to complete a kitchen. Very unique DESIGN, perhaps a trend setter in the high end appliance arena, with HIGH QUALITY products.
UBM Live are pleased to announce the launch of kbb London which will take place from the 15th to 17th May 2011 at Excel. The runaway success of kbb Birmingham in March and with in-depth consultation with the marketplace has determined an unquestionable need and desire for a kitchen and bathroom show in the capital next year.
The show will target both the retail and contract audience and will showcase the latest products and services from the leading manufacturers in the kitchen, bathroom and tiling markets.
kbb Sales Director, Sam Cande commented, “kbb Birmingham was an excellent indicator that this market is regaining confidence after the last couple of difficult years. The launch of kbb London will give manufacturers the opportunity to display their products at a national event, with a key focus on the London and southern markets, offering a distinctive platform for the industry in its entirety.”
“A natural extension to the successful kbb Birmingham exhibition, kbb London will be targeting companies from across the market to ensure a diverse range of products for this exciting new exhibition. The initial response prior to the official launch is very encouraging and underlines the faith the industry has in our company to deliver a great exhibition.”
The kbb London Innovation Centre will award and showcase shortlisted entries recognising outstanding product innovation in terms of ingenuity, design and sustainability.
In conjunction with Designer Magazine our judges, including Seymourpowell and Studio Levien, have been looking for the most innovative products.
With 20 of the very latest innovations and new launches being displayed, The Innovation Centre at kbb London will ensure you’re up-to-date with what the market has to offer. The brands shortlisted include:
ABK InnoVent bv – i-Cooking gives the architect or designer freedom to create their own design with individual gas burners or induction zones.
Hoover – A futuristic-looking Cast Iron design with unique
patented burner technology, the new Ghisa gas hobs are
Kitchen Aid – A professional chefs’ sous vide cooking system