Monochromatic Kitchens: 3 Design Strategies with a Single Color

Monochromatic Kitchens: 3 Design Strategies with a Single Color

Tetrys 607 Apartament / CR2 Arquitetura. Image © Cris Farhat 3in1 / batlab architects. Image © Norbert Juhász Jade Residence / E/L Studio. Image © Pepper Watkins Apartament in Korydallos / Plaini and Karahalios Architects. Image © Nikos Papageorgiou + 28

A monochrome environment is a space in which most architectural elements are of a single color. Although it is common for architects to design black or white monochromatic spaces due to its neutrality, it is possible to use almost any color to design a space, taking advantage of their infinite tones, undertones, and shades.

Choosing the right color composition for an environment can aid in executing design strategy, as we analyzed in the articles How Colors Change the Perception of Interior Spaces and How Color Affects Architecture. Exploring a series of constructed examples, today we will talk about three strategies through which color can make a difference: highlighting, unifying, and zoning.

Apartment XVII / Studio Razavi architecture. Image © Simone Bossi
Apartment XVII / Studio Razavi architecture. Image © Simone Bossi

1. Highlighting

Designing with a single color in the kitchen is a useful strategy when looking to highlight the entire space or any of its elements in particular. Through this means, it is possible to contrast the color with household appliances, accentuate special coatings, or emphasize objects, utensils, and accessories.

Contrast with Appliances

The architects of E/L Studio designed the kitchen of the Jade Residence using wood paneling and ceramic tiles on the walls, both in greenish tones, highlighting the appliances in black.

Jade Residence / E/L Studio. Image © Pepper Watkins
Jade Residence / E/L Studio. Image © Pepper Watkins

The side kitchen of Flat#5 project, the result of a partnership between Marcio Kogan, Diana Radomysler, and Luciana Antunes (Studio MK27), was designed to accentuate the materiality of the wood. Inside, the contrasting black chairs and lamps add a touch of elegance to the environment, connecting with the style of the living room.

Flat#5 / Studio MK27 - Marcio Kogan + Diana Radomysler + Luciana Antunes. Image © Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen
Flat#5 / Studio MK27 - Marcio Kogan + Diana Radomysler + Luciana Antunes. Image © Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

The Cobogó Apartment, designed by Lelalo arquitetura e design, presents a kitchen in which the floor, walls, counter, and carpentry are all black, contrasting with the stainless steel appliances. The wooden floor in the living room transitions into a granite floor in the kitchen, respecting its same layout and format.

Cobogó Apartment / Lelalo arquitetura e design. Image © Joana França
Cobogó Apartment / Lelalo arquitetura e design. Image © Joana França

In CR2 Arquitetura's Tetrys 607 Apartment, the appliances, taps, and accessories, in silver tones and finishes, contrast with the orange of the kitchen, which extends to the apartment's entrance door.

Tetrys 607 Apartament / CR2 Arquitetura. Image © Cris Farhat
Tetrys 607 Apartament / CR2 Arquitetura. Image © Cris Farhat

Special Claddings

The kitchen at Escu House, designed by Bijl Architecture, is a strong example of how a monochromatic kitchen can help highlight a cladding with a particular design - for example, tiles or wallpaper.

Escu House / Bijl Architecture. Image © Katherine Lu
Escu House / Bijl Architecture. Image © Katherine Lu

Objects and Utensils

The architects of TACO (taller de arquitectura contextual) designed the kitchen of the Monte House with a soft monochromatic palette in earth tones. Since no doors conceal the shelving, utensils and other stored elements stand out.

Monte House / TACO taller de arquitectura contextual. Image © Leo Espinosa
Monte House / TACO taller de arquitectura contextual. Image © Leo Espinosa

In the white kitchen of the Casinha project by Daher Jardim Arquitetura, the four wooden chairs add contrast and stand out in front of a kitchen that seems to disappear.

Casinha / Daher Jardim Arquitetura. Image © Haruo Mikami
Casinha / Daher Jardim Arquitetura. Image © Haruo Mikami

In A House for Four, Harry Thomson designed a monochromatic subtle beige kitchen, highlighting utensils and accessories in their open niches.

A House for Four / Harry Thomson. Image © Lenny Codd
A House for Four / Harry Thomson. Image © Lenny Codd

2. Unifying 

Opting for a monochrome palette can be an effective strategy for unifying the elements that make up an environment, making it a widely used option when looking to design a bolder kitchen atmosphere. In these cases, it is common for architects to take advantage of the infinite shades, undertones, and variations of each chosen color.

For those looking to create a warm and natural environment, the Skigard Hytte Cabin by Mork-Ulnes Architects serves as a good example. The house is mostly monochromatic, as all surfaces and furniture items are clad in the same wood tone.

Skigard Hytte Cabin / Mork-Ulnes Architects. Image © Bruce Damonte
Skigard Hytte Cabin / Mork-Ulnes Architects. Image © Bruce Damonte

And why not a kitchen with lime green tones? The 3in1 kitchen enclosure, designed by batlab architects, is unified from floor to ceiling by a lively green color.

3in1 / batlab architects. Image © Norbert Juhász
3in1 / batlab architects. Image © Norbert Juhász

For those who want to live in a calmer environment, blue tones are always a good option. This was the choice of the architects Plaini and Karahalios in their design for the Apartment in Korydallos.

Apartament in Korydallos / Plaini and Karahalios Architects. Image © Nikos Papageorgiou
Apartament in Korydallos / Plaini and Karahalios Architects. Image © Nikos Papageorgiou

100% white kitchens, if well kept, give the impression of intense cleanliness, which can be a desirable feature for a food preparation environment. The kitchen of the T Concept Apartment, by Itay Friedman Architects, is so seamlessly incorporated into the white walls that it can even go unnoticed, helping expand the sense of space. We noticed a similar effect in YCL studio's The White Triangles Apartment.

 T Concept Apartment / Itay Friedman Architects. Image © Boaz Arad
T Concept Apartment / Itay Friedman Architects. Image © Boaz Arad
The White Triangles Apartment / YCL studio. Image © Andrius Stepankevičius
The White Triangles Apartment / YCL studio. Image © Andrius Stepankevičius

However, it cannot be denied that its opposite - a totally black kitchen - can create a thoughtful and sophisticated atmosphere, as seen in the kitchen of the Tori Tori Santa Fe Restaurant, designed by Esrawe Studio.

Tori Tori Santa Fe Restaurant / Esrawe Studio. Image © Genevieve Lutkin
Tori Tori Santa Fe Restaurant / Esrawe Studio. Image © Genevieve Lutkin

For those who want a neutral color, but who want to escape black and white tones, it is possible to use soft grayish hues or opt for lighter woods. The kitchen in House 28, from the edwards studio, is completely clad in 9mm plywood.

House 28 / studio edwards. Image © Tony Gorsevski
House 28 / studio edwards. Image © Tony Gorsevski

3. Zoning

Some projects prefer to organize their spaces by separating them. Some use color to achieve this goal, enhancing this zoning through mobile partitions that open or close depending on the use of the kitchen.

Apartament in Korydallos / Plaini and Karahalios Architects. Image © Nikos Papageorgiou
Apartament in Korydallos / Plaini and Karahalios Architects. Image © Nikos Papageorgiou

NatureHumaine architects were very creative in designing a corridor with black surfaces, separating the white kitchen from the yellow stairs at Casa Canari.

Canari House / NatureHumaine. Image © Adrien Williams
Canari House / NatureHumaine. Image © Adrien Williams

We already mentioned the unified space of the 3in1 citrus kitchen. However, when looking at the apartment as a whole, it can be seen that its greenish tint also has the function of separating the kitchen from the rest of the interior spaces.

3in1 / batlab architects. Image © Norbert Juhász
3in1 / batlab architects. Image © Norbert Juhász

Finally, IDIN Architects architects chose to create a totally white kitchen for the JB House, which can remain hidden when not in use. Its mobile wooden panels come together to partition the kitchen from a large social space, in which soft wooden tones predominate.

JB House / IDIN Architects. Image © Ketsiree Wongwan
JB House / IDIN Architects. Image © Ketsiree Wongwan

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About this author
Cite: Migliani, Audrey. "Monochromatic Kitchens: 3 Design Strategies with a Single Color" [Cozinhas monocromáticas: 3 estratégias projetuais com uma única cor] 24 Jun 2020. ArchDaily. (Trans. Franco, José Tomás) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/941965/monochromatic-kitchens-3-design-strategies-with-a-single-color/> ISSN 0719-8884

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