Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 27 Summer 2010 Contents 104 INSITE SUMMER 2010
The initial impetus to create bold designs came from brave clients.
“I was fortunate to have a number of clients who said ‘go for it’; they
gave me the freedom to make a statement.” This has led to the ‘Mal
Corboy style’ of kitchen, best seen in the now-famous ‘blue’ kitchen
he created within a modern apartment in Auckland (see right).
Mal was voted the Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year in 2009,
and has won, or been a finalist, in most design awards in Australia and
New Zealand in the past decade. He is in demand as a speaker on the
home-ideas seminar circuit, which will include an upcoming visit to
Perth as a guest of the Furniture Industry Association of Australia.
But winning awards, while flattering, takes second place to
making an impact. “Design should make a statement,” he says.
“Love it or hate it; that’s great! It’s better than no response at all.”
Another example of integrating function and form is Mal’s ‘pink’
kitchen (p102). The asymmetrical layout fits perfectly within the
long, narrow space, and houses workstations and storage options
while maintaining an effortless, smooth line.
Dramatic use of colour sets this kitchen apart. Pink fleur-de-lis
wallpaper is printed onto the large automatic glass doors leading to
a scullery, and on underside sections of the island at the front. The
brilliant pink offsets a white-glass island top that extends the entire
length of the kitchen. This long bench is broken up with strategically
placed LED lights – a Mal Corboy speciality. This kitchen is perfect
for what it is not: it is vivid, yet restrained, and ultra-modern, yet
with something ‘old Hollywood glamour’ about it.
Design has evolved over the past decades, he says. “Kitchen design
was easier 20 years ago. There wasn’t as much gadgetry. It is far more
complicated today.” Despite his clients’ increasing demands to include
more appliances, cooking stations and kitchen bric-a-brac of every
imaginable style and obtrusion, Mal goes for sleek. He has the uncanny
ability to hide things in plain sight – think no fuss, yet full of fuss.
So, does he have any advice for builders and renovators? “Be
adventurous. Don’t be safe. Living environments should be dramatic.”
After all, that’s Mal’s job: making life more dramatic than yesterday. I
Visit malcorboy.com. For information on upcoming Mal Corboy kitchen
design seminars in Perth, visit fiaa.com .au .
A tight U-shape offered few, if any, options in this Auckland kitchen,
so Mal moved a wall or two and redefined the floor surface
THE BRIEF The male owner wanted a European-style kitchen that would
beco me a point of reference an d difference within the apartment, while
maintaining a masculine aesthetic.
THE EXECUTION Mal introdu ced solid marble su rfaces an d floo r-to-
ceiling stainless steel cabin etry, which co nceals cupboard an d storage spaces
and gives the whole design a dramatic, yet sleek , fi nish. The effect created
by con cealed blue lighting run n ing alo ng the base of solid bench areas le nds
the design a futu ristic, hoveri ng, aspect that became an in sta nt talking poi nt
amon g design bloggers. It says a lot abo ut Corboy’s talen t that a simple string
of co ncealed lights has taken a so lid kitchen design a nd delivered it into the
realm of co nceptual ar t... except fo rever on display an d fo rever fu n ctio na l.
LEFT This kitchen was created with the intention of contrasting glass with various types of wood.
BELOW Concealed lights give the blue kitchen a futuristic, gravity-defying look.
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