Design genius behind the scenes

Designed by Cube Dentro, this award-winning, highly-functional kitchen space features a rich material palette and showcases both elegant functionality and symmetry with its surrounds.

Attention-to-detail, both in terms of the finished design and the consultative build process itself, won Auckland-based Cube Dentro two high-level National Kitchen and Bathroom Association (NKBA) awards during 2018, including the supreme NZ Excellence in Design Award.

Cube Dentro’s Leonie Metge looked to Milan for inspiration when designing the award-winning space, drawing upon organic, textured materials in order to marry hand-crafted ambience with architectural functionality and cleverly hidden elements. 

“Our brief was to create a kitchen suited to a professional couple who enjoy entertaining and have an appreciation of architectural design,” says Leonie. 

The centrepiece of the kitchen is a cantilevered limestone benchtop that teams handcrafted vertical timber cabinetry with flat-plate stainless steel. 

The clients’ vision was for the kitchen to fit seamlessly within the architectural styling of the home which is why I selected materials such as the vertical timber panelling to the island, stained textured veneer to the back wall and scullery, flat plate stainless steel and the cantilevered limestone benchtop sitting upon a matt black Dekton island bench.” 

Leonie says the principle challenge was to create a large, highly functional kitchen with multiple working zones that weren’t apparent upon first sight. Large pocket doors and fully integrated appliances form the main elevation, that when opened, reveal the inner workings of the space. Directly adjacent to the main kitchen sits a scullery, which can be accessed without interrupting the workflow of the kitchen itself 

The client – an architectural design and build company – wanted vertical lines within the interior of the new home to act as a continuation of the exterior form of the home, which was designed to draw upon its surrounding environment at Karaka Lakes, south of near Auckland. The kitchen is situated within an elongated room that opens up to an extensive deck forming a large open plan entertaining area with an outward view to the nearby lake. 

The Excellence in Design Awards judges described Cube Dentro’s design as compelling and praised the synergy between the kitchen and its surrounds.  

Expansive views outward from the kitchen - which opens to a large deck – are augmented by a unified view back into the home from outside, with the symmetrically-battened ceiling above the kitchen mirrored in the ceiling of the bedroom directly above on the first floor, and which is also visible from the deck.  

In addition to the top prize, the outstanding workmanship demonstrated in the Karaka Lakes project also earned Cube Dentro the Supreme Kitchen Manufacturer 2018 Award, with the judges describing the work as "well-executed behind the scenes". 

The NKBA is the only specialist organisation in New Zealand dedicated to connecting homeowners with passionate and experienced kitchen and bathroom design professionals. 

The NKBA provides leadership, direction and education for the kitchen and bathroom industry and hosts the preeminent national Excellence in Design Awards. The judging panel for the 2018 awards included notable designers Glen Johns, Davinia Sutton and Mark Bruce, along with field experts Angela Fell from Resene, interior design consultant Toni Brandso and homestyle Magazine editor Alice Lines. 

Photos Kallan Macleod

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