Recently Zingg Design Inc’s concentration has centered around retail and showroom design. Their multidisciplinary approach is most evident in the company’s partnership with Sub Zero/ Wolf in fashioning the undeniably successful “The Living Kitchen,” a revolutionary retail concept. The Living Kitchen features Sub-Zero and Wolf’s premium refrigeration and cooking appliances in their natural habitat, the kitchen. The appliances are displayed and outfitted with beautiful custom cabinetry, counters and floor materials just like they would be in a home; except in a dealers’ showrooms. It is a far departure from the standard “units in a row” approach to appliance displays.
Working directly with Sub Zero’s marketing team, Zingg has created a turnkey approach to its store-within-a-store concept. Zingg attributes much of the success of the endeavor to the design firm’s hands-on approach to all phases of design, development, implementation and installation. The Living Kitchen is a modular design made up of a finished ceiling, floors, walls, lighting, graphics and accessories. “They (The Living Kitchens) have been very successful in terms of presenting SubZero/Wolf’s product, which are the high-end of kitchen appliances, both cooking and refrigeration. Their products really look best when they are built into the kitchen environment, that is how they are meant to be experienced,” explains Mark Zingg AIA, Owner of Zingg design Inc. “And it is our goal to create a retail space where customers can visualize how the products are going to look in their own homes.”
Zingg has been building these show rooms for the past five years, and has completed about 100 of “The Living Kitchens” in the United States and Canada, each ranging from about 1600sqft to 2000sqft in size. “We’re hoping to eventually build 400 of them across the country,” says Zingg, whose firm is currently working on five “The Living Kitchen” showrooms in Australia.
“If you have ever been to an appliance store you know how uninspiring they can be. They are usually way over lit and badly designed with lots of bland, hard surfaces,” says Zingg. With The Living Kitchen the design objective was to create a more serene, residential feel. To achieve that Zingg uses a lot of high-pressure laminate from Laminart, Wilsonart and Formica, which is good for the price point of the project and holds up very well in the highly demanding retail environment. For the vertical surfaces and built-in boxes Zingg favors a cherry wood design, which he feels makes a good contrast to the stainless steel surfaces of the appliances. It really “pops” off the wall and is good for creating a warmer, homier feel. HPL is also specified for the horizontal surfaces, including fire-rated HPL from Wilsonart that is used to build pull-out range drawers.
The trend in residential kitchen design is moving toward individual furniture pieces surrounding the cabinetry. Zingg predicts furniture grade finishes and free-standing cabinets that are up off the floor on pedestals will be the new style in modern kitchens; allowing the room that is traditionally the heart of the home to blend more easily into the rest of the house. And not just for appliances, but also sinks and counter tops. To create more of an “armoire effect” for displays Zingg has been experimenting with painted MDF finishes, particularly to give more of a separated, stand-alone look to “The Living Kitchen” showrooms.
“There are a lot of neat things out there for the kitchen,” says Zingg, “and with the advances in materials and surfaces it is possible to build out any design you can imagine.” For “The Living Kitchen” project the design objective was to create an innovative store-within-a-store experience. One that allows customers to explore Sub Zero/ Wolf appliances in an intimate setting where they can not only touch the products, but also feel how they fit into a home. Zingg Designs has masterfully created a multitude of kitchen scenarios that inspire homeowners to conceive their own dream kitchens. And they have built them in a way that is replicable and able to withstand the abuse of a retail environment without showing wear and tear. “The Living Kitchen” is truly a revolutionary retail concept.
Complete a questionnaire to receive a complimentary 1-year subscription to Surface & Panel, the only magazine focused exclusively on the design, manufacture and marketing of panel-based furniture and casegoods.
fill out the questionnaire