‘blu_line was created by my brother and I, out of our bedroom. I was only 18 at the time, finishing off my final matric exams when I designed my first, modern, open-plan kitchen. I really was drawn in by the fact that the kitchen was not only an aesthetic space but also had to essentially provide for the entire home. So, my pursuit since then has been to offer a product experience that ultimately serves my clients’ relationships and inspires them.
‘At that stage, all we had was a concept of a kitchen reimagined. We wanted to look at this differently. My brother Graham was 24 at the time and a computer programmer, but we believed our age was actually our advantage as we didn’t know what couldn’t be done in the industry, so we tried it anyway! Believing in what we were tempted to do, we never shied away from working with new textures and adopting new technologies and design methodologies; we pushed through the challenges of a static industry to forge what would become the blu_line brand.
‘Our main challenge was that the local industry saw itself as just that, local. We believed though, that we could build a product – a creative experience – that could compete internationally and inspire clients at the same time. This ambition pushed us and today we manufacture our entire collection from our own facility where we are in complete control and given maximum opportunity to develop new products and materials, which allow us to push the boundaries.
‘What we are focused on is the experience we provide for our clients. Part of this then is that we have consistent attention to detail. I am extremely passionate about this factor because I believe this is what sets a product apart. We have therefore considered not just the overall look but the ‘touch’ factor of the kitchen, offering every user a tactile experience. Using the latest manufacturing technology, we have a full-time department focusing on new textures and materials. This touch factor is vital as it engages the senses and can also anchor a space driven by cutting-edge technology and clean lines.
‘Inherent here is the focus on developing a dynamic kitchen space, as part of increasing our clients’ experience of this key area. To do this we introduced added technology that would enable the kitchen to develop according to changing needs and desires. An example – and the most drastic R&D – was in developing our own proprietary Sensorline technology that drives our moving stone counters and panels. This development is able to shift the possibilities of this space as various activities can be served in a more practical way.’
How does this designer / manufacturer see the contemporary kitchen shell differing in 2019?
Philip Richards: ‘Our main focus is making the kitchen more dynamic as opposed to static. It’s already part of the open-plan living space, but often still in a corner of the overall space. We believe, therefore, due to the developing nature of the kitchen as a space that lives and breathes, that it should be incorporated more centrally with the surrounding living areas feeding off it.
For the full article see Habitat #270 January / February 2019