Kitchen Countertops Part IV – Concrete & Stainless Steel | Finale in a series of introductions t
In the concluding chapter of our series, we will look at two underrated countertops that ought to be more popular than they currently are in Singaporean homes – Concrete and Stainless Steel.
Concrete as a design element for home décor (think candle holders and planters) has been trending for several years. The material itself of course has a much longer history of being used in the construction of buildings and large structures. Used extensively by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, famous for his emphasis on the beauty of simplicity and physical experience, concrete’s raw quality exemplifies a sense of tranquillity and character that is in line with his intent for people to easily experience the spirit and beauty of nature through architecture.
When Lamitak launched its concrete inspired laminates five years ago, they named the two variations Tadao and Ando.
Concrete “Tea & Coffee” Cup Planter via Mothology
Cement Architectural Plant Cube Planter Via Mothology
Functional Concrete Cloud Via Gessato Designed by Frenchman Betrand Jayr and manufactured by Lyon Béton
Concrete, or cement screed, is relatively popular amongst homeowners and commercial proprietors who favour raw industrial designs. Concrete kitchen countertop, however, is not commonly used in Singapore. Concrete is extremely versatile and can take on many different colours, shadings, patterns, and sheens to suit most kitchen styles. It creates not just modern edge, but natural warmth. For added personalisation, decorative glass, stones, seashells etc. can be embedded. Concrete countertops can be poured in place or fabricated off-site and installed later.
Decorative inlay by Sunset
Concrete, similar to other natural materials like granite, marble and wood, are naturally porous and require professional sealing prior to installation. They would also require re-sealing and waxing, but the frequency of this depends on the sealer used and your preference for the level of shine.
Martin Steininger developed the Concrete Kitchen for his Vienna-based company, Steininger Designers, sharing another way that concrete can be used in his innovative concrete kitchen space. The Steininger kitchen showcases this hygienic, heat resistant material with kryptonite-inspired strength in a brand new light.
Marry concrete with wood for a warm and inviting kitchen or pair it with stainless steel for a cool, sleek look.
When stainless steel kitchens are mentioned, professional kitchens in restaurants will inevitably come to mind. There is good reason why professionals choose stainless steel – they are resilient to almost anything. Stainless steel has a non-porous surface, which means that it is resistant to water, stains and bacteria. It is also heat resistant. The countertop will heat up in the area where the pot or pan is placed but the heat does not travel along the length of the counter and it cools down rapidly.
The metal is also flexible and can be moulded to many designs, including incorporating backsplashes and sinks without any edges that will trap liquids and bacteria. Coupled with its non-porous nature, this material is a breeze to clean.
However, it does have its shortcomings. Its flexibility also means that it is not immune to dings and dents. This can be prevented to a certain extent by using hardwood and a tight installation but they cannot be prevented altogether.
Stainless steel countertops can be very noisy as the metal does not absorb impact as stone and wood do. The noise level can be reduced with mats and other protection.
Scratches and fingerprints are also inevitable and more obvious on shiny polished finishes. Scratches and prints can be camouflaged slightly by opting for hairline finish instead. Over time, these scratches and dents will add character in your kitchen, creating a tapestry of memories.
Despite its flaws, and every countertop has a set of their own flaws and favourable points, stainless steel remains an ideal countertop for its hygienic properties which is an important consideration for the place where we prepare food to feed our family.
Incredibly sleek, Free Steel Multisystem by Euromobil guarantees durability with its 100% recyclable fingerprint proof brushed AISI 304 stainless steel.
The stainless steel kitchen equipment fuse perfectly with the stainless steel cabinetry by Robert Passal via Architectural Digest. The entire ensemble stands out distinctly against the blackened-steel backsplash.