IDS07: Small Fridges Make Good Cities

Concept spaces by various designers were linked together as an exhibit at IDS, with Toronto's Donald Chong getting the kitchen. And what a gem of a kitchen it is. When one looks at architectural magazines and even TreeHugger, kitchens have become high tech wonders; ads show monster appliances, triple ovens and fridges big enough to park a cow in. When you enter Donald Chong's kitchen you see wood, food and warmth. The fridge is a small, undercounter unit- this is a seasonal kitchen, responding to the marketplace, the baker, vegetable store and neighbourhood vendor. You don't need a big fridge when you are committed to fresh and seasonal. You do need storage; Donald is standing in front of a wall of beautiful objects and ingredients.

It is a combined kitchen/ dining area with center island/ dining table is surrounded Hans Wegner chairs, with depressions carved in for still lives of fruits and vegetables. Lumber for flooring, structure and ceiling is reclaimed from Urban Tree Harvest- local city trees that have been blown down or reached the end of their lives and replaced.

At one end there is a very high-tech free-standing "kitchen workbench" sink and range unit by Bulthaup, but it is a brilliant choice, providing the sophistication that these functions need while looking like a piece of furniture rather than part of the structure.

On the other wall from Donald, space is provided for the preserves put down in the fall, in this case by Toronto chef Jamie Kennedy. Above the preserves, doors act as louvres to control the light levels, admitting more in winter.

It is a serene and beautiful space that is perhaps the most comfortable kitchen I have ever been in. The warmth of the reclaimed woods, the glow of the preserves and the whole concept of the big urban kitchen with the small fridge just made it sing. Congratulations to ::Donald Chong. at ::Interior Design Show

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