You must not buy a kitchen without getting an architect or designer’s advice to help bring the finished product together. On the other hand, the bespoke kitchen places demands on the customer in the process, believes Piet Rose, who has seen many failed kitchens.

“You can buy an expensive kitchen and install it in your house. The difference in getting an architect in to advise on your new kitchen is that you will see how the kitchen submits and plays into the space.”

Piet Rose is a qualified architect and owner of Multiform Lyngby.

Piet Rose is owner of Multiform Lyngby and a qualified architect.

Architect and interior designer Piet Rose draws in particular on his background in lighting design, urban planning and industrial design when he designs kitchens. Photo: Kasper Kristoffersen

As he says, as an architect he has a vision of the way we live and the way we beautify the world. Because despite it being “just” a kitchen, when customers walk in the door then it’s “the most important room in the house”: at least here in Scandinavia.

Which is why he challenges his customers about what they need as well as what they think they need for this, the most important room in the house, when they come to him.

“The customers quickly notice that I challenge the ideas they come in with. I note their dreams, and I take them into account. But I take the chance and the risk of challenging the customer’s ideas in order to obtain the best result. I guide them through a complicated process to ensure we assess all the possibilities.”

But why challenge people if they know what they want?

“Because it’s important! After the first hour’s meeting we’re already talking about the garden, how you get in and out of the house. Should it be opened up? I visualise the possibilities and limitations, which is my obligation as an architect and consultant.”

“All the panel plates in the black kitchen island are only 6 mm and made with vertical, black quarter cut European veneer, as opposed to the horizontal direction of the veneer on the drawer fronts. This creates more dynamic between the large solid fronts and the somewhat thicker, honed Nero Assoluto granite from Zimbabwe,” says Piet Rose.

A (somewhat) painful labour

We’re sitting in Piet Rose’s mother’s studio. With sparse light coming from the north, so you can see the different nuances of colour. As too much light makes colours look flat, he comments.

Piet Rose wants us to take what he calls “kitchen architecture” seriously. We don’t spend enough time deciding on the lines and details in the kitchen, and if you haven’t gone through the entire process of creating a kitchen with an architect, then you have not got the right kitchen, in his opinion.

“Many kitchens are failures. Naturally, the customer has wishes and dreams and ideas about colours and functions, but the needs are not properly analysed: they’re not reviewed and discussed. And they need to be, if the kitchen is to have an architectural quality that resonates with the rest of the house, the period, life in the house and the functional needs,” he says.

The dark surfaces are broken by solid maple drawers and an architect-designed solid maple knife block, which is specially developed for the customer’s exclusive Japanese Seki knives. The exquisite light-coloured hard maple thus matches the light brick ochre tone of the walls.

“I look for solid, long-term holistic solutions, that go beyond the customer’s own interests. Solutions that you can have faith in even if you sell the house. I like to call it “objective sparring”, once we have considered all the possibilities and weighed them up. In industrial design, interior design and handicraft there has be a little pain, some suffering. This is just an expression for the creative process. The joy comes afterwards, when the small scale includes the grand design.”

Many people want help

There are many people who would like help with the creative process, where a Multiform architect or designer helps them to create a unique kitchen.

In a questionnaire carried out by Multiform, over 60 percent of respondents answered that they would like help to fit their kitchen. This figure increases to more then 70 percent when the respondents earn more than DKK 60,000 a month and are ready to invest more than DKK 250,000.

It is predominantly experience that is requested, but advice on a holistic approach and help with planning is also in demand. As a qualified architect specialising in urban planning, Piet Rose sees parallels in the balance between large lines that create calm and hierarchy and the small detail that can make a kitchen into something extraordinary.

His point is simply that when you buy a kitchen, you’re not just buying a collection of modules and putting them together. You go through a creative process, where you alternate between the urban planner’s boulevards and your own wishes for a specific tap fitting, for example, until you finally get the kitchen that’s right for you.

Do you think it sounds artistic and slightly complex? This is Piet’s defence for you getting the ultimate kitchen once he has sat down at the drawing board.

Piet Rose is a qualified architect and owner of Multiform Lyngby

The entire kitchen island, including the fully-integrated Silgranit sink and Quooker tap, is in black tones. This creates a delicate, tactile interplay between matte steel, African granite, the grain of the oak wood and the shiny hob. Photo: Kasper Kristoffersen

All possibilities at play

“I make it difficult for myself because, if I remove choices and make it easy, then it won’t be as good. When you work hard, go into detail, analyse back and forth, then you end with a satisfactory whole,” he says.

Also at the meeting with the architect at Multiform, you have to choose whether the handmade drawers should be manufactured from oak – either natural or black stained – or maple.

“When I sit at meetings with customers, we can get tired of considering colours, symmetries, proportions, diversity and whether it should be Corian or Angola granite for the worktop. It can feel tough, but afterwards the mood is wonderful!” he remarks.

“Things fall nicely into place after such a process. As a customer, you’re in no doubt whatsoever. And you’ll remember that in a year, in five years and in 50 years.”

The bespoke kitchen has been designed by architect Piet Rose, Multiform Lyngby
The house is from the ’60s and was designed by the architect Jørgen Bangsbo for himself. Slate was popular in Danish households in this period, which is evident in Piet’s design of the kitchen island. The kitchen is however only one aspect of a complete renovation of the house, which architect Thomas Mathies has been responsible for.
Piet Rose works in Multiform’s showroom at Lyngby Station, but all Multiform showrooms offer qualified assistance in designing your kitchen so the small scale includes the grand design.
This article has been published in Danish daily Børsen and written in collaboration with Christian Bartels with photos by Kasper Kristoffersen.