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New Guild Workshop Mission Statement

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Firm Profile :: Mission Statement

Non-Standard Kitchen, Casework And Millwork Design

The last four decades have seen the implementation of standardization in kitchen and casework design. Industry standard sizes and methods of embellishment have simplified the design of kitchen and bath layout. CAD (computer aided design) software has eased the burden upon kitchen and bath designers to a degree unmatched by any other aspect of home design. Home owners have benefited from the unprecedented degree of options available to them from hardware and insert manufactures such as Blum, Compagnucci, Knapp & Voight and Rev-A-Shelf.

32mm system hinges introduced the American market to the 32mm system casework standards developed in Europe. These hinges simplified the manufacture of corner cabinets, introduced frameless pocket doors and allowed larger and longer cabinet doors. Implementation of the 32mm system standard permitted casework manufactures a wide range of choices in high quality hinges, drawer slides and inserts.

Healthier dietary habits have resulted in larger and more organized kitchens. The kitchen has changed from a place to prepare sustenance to a center for entertainment and fellowship. The kitchen, for many, has become a place where we can express our individuality, a place where we dispel the sameness in our lives. This need to demonstrate our personality illustrates the inherent weakness of standardization.

Standardization is the archetype for uniformity. Orthodoxy deplores variation, and as a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to demonstrate individuality within shrinking parameters. By nature, manufactured kitchens are uniform boxes set in a pleasing or useful array. Larger kitchens magnify this conformity. The limitations of embellishment available to standardized boxes, becomes obvious in larger kitchens.

The primary means of enhancement are horizontal trim and vertical pilasters. Addition of brackets or corbels, ornamental rails and feet can mitigate the feeling of flatness intrinsic to standard boxes. Though, as kitchens become larger, these adornments become less integrated and start to look more like appliqués.

Technology is an integral part of our lives. The more we embrace technology the greater the demand for uniformity. Technology is impersonal and the more we conform the greater the nostalgia for simpler times or the promise of a future not yet born. We long for the home we grew up in or dream of future promise.

Kitchen design, then, needs to reflect this requirement for history, for pride of place. It is incumbent upon the kitchen and casework designer to reflect both the intimacy of yesterday and the hope of the future. This requires the designer to develop a vocabulary of methods, textures and materials capable of embracing both technological innovation and our need for personal intimacy. We, as designers need to standardize the non-standard.

How we implement these non-standard tools without losing the cost benefits of standardization, is the challenge we face as we forge our businesses to withstand the rigors of the future. Education and organization are the keys to this implementation. We can no longer rely upon "that's how we've always done it" to assure our future viability.

The exquisite lines of fine antiques, the pleasing simplicity of country furniture, the timeless proportions of old buildings, are a direct result of the tools, methods and skills of our forefathers. Understanding the basic principles of proportion and the methods used by these craftsmen can be distilled to a basic vocabulary of lines, shapes and methods that are applicable to today's design requirements.

Conversely, knowledge of contemporary materials, methods and trends combined with a continuing familiarity of current and future technologies and innovations will assure that we are prepared to advise clients that yearn for yesterday but demand tomorrow. Old world craftsmanship with new world technology must be the precept upon which we build.

The Salons of London, New York, Paris and Rome in the 19th century were the drivers of technological change and innovation in home decoration. Many became assured of their own certainty, ossified and faded, unable to change to an ever evolving world. It is incumbent upon us to not repeat the same errors and embrace and be ever vigilant of the evolution about us.

The New Guild Workshop endeavors to present the historical referents, proportions and methods as well as the technological innovations, products and materials required to remain viable in a constantly changing and evolving market.


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