February 2020

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 | 21 Architectural Hardware The hottest architectural hardware trends are all about keeping things simple by STACEY MCLACHLAN F orget about making a splash: the height of luxury in 2020 is all about subtlety … even when it comes to architectural hardware. Today's hinges, pulls, drawer systems, and entrance hardware are all about smart designs that keep discretion and sophistication in mind. Think compact storage, almost-silent closure systems, and sleek and subtle glide rails. As living areas get smaller, kitchen planners have new challenges to tackle in terms of space manage- ment and storage. Smartly designed products that address this lack of square footage are going to be front and centre of customer's minds moving for- ward – like the vertically designed storage system from Blum. "The new Space Step plinth solution allows you to use the space right up to the ceiling and gives your customers easy access to the next higher storage level," says Frank Sansalone, product specialist for Blum. It's just the new normal to have less space. "New real estate realities pressure architects to review interiors," says Véronique Dion, marketing co- ordinator for Richelieu. The perfect example is the ever-popular open-concept kitchen. With no wall separating the living room, dining room, and kitchen, the kitchen island becomes more of a cen- tralized piece of furniture required to respond to all the different needs of the people in the same house- hold. "It needs to be a place to prepare meals, a place to do work, a place to do homework, a place to eat at, in an open environment, with different needs at dif- ferent moments for different people," says Dion. This focus on the island is exactly why Richelieu introduced its Opla-Top countertop extension mech- anism, installed in the same space usually occupied by a drawer and hidden behind a hinged panel: once the mechanism is pulled out, the surface adjusts to the same height as the counter, effectively creating an additional 20 inches of work area. As cabinet fronts get thinner in an effort to keep the weight of solid material drawers down – "Thinner fronts are a new trend we're seeing in Europe," says Sansalone – hinges and hardware designs are adapting to accommodate the unique challenges of thinner materials. Take Blum's Expando T hinge, for example, it's designed so that steel teeth bite into hard fronts to achieve a secure hold, or nylon components can anchor it into softer panels. It's innovation allows for expanded creativ- ity. "Our Expando T fixing method for thin fronts of eight millimetres or more is suitable for many different materials, allowing you to deliver excep- tional design ideas," says Sansalone. Even for furniture hardware, multifunctionality is trending. "The end-user seeks to meet differ- ent needs, while saving space in the interior, like with the foldaway bed/sofa or desk combo," says Dion. Richelieu offers options like the Okey Dokey table base mechanism, which allows you to con- vert a coffee table to a dining room table in a snap because, as Dion points out, "Multifunctional equals space-saving." Soft-close hinges are not a new concept, but the design continues to be tweaked and improved by the industry's leaders. Blum's popular Blumotion opens 110-degrees to work with thicker doors, with clock- like precision, offering greater scope for designing fine furniture without compromising form. And for those whom soft-close isn't high-tech enough, Blum also offers electric openings for drawers and upper cabinets with its Servo-Drive line. Salice's complete range of lift systems and sys- tems for flap doors offers a solution for every home or office. The Silentia+ series features a 105-degree opening with integrated soft-close mechanism that features twin silicone-oil dampers housed in a hinge cup. A simple switch controls the decelerating effect. Häfele's hardware solutions are another cutting- edge option, particularly the Free family of flap fittings. Allowing a cabinet door to be lifted, swiv- elled, tilted or folded, the unique functionality of the Free hardware means that the entire contents of a cupboard are easily accessed. "An added bonus is that even in narrow, galley-style kitchens activity never stops for a swinging cabinet door," reports the Häfele website. "Some versions can even open and close with the touch of a finger." Feather-light move- ment, multi-position stop, push-to-open tech and soft closing … these fittings are designed to give any kitchen an invisible boost. From modern, linear styles to traditional models with detailing offered in chromes and nickels, to new, warm metallic finishes like honey bronze, champagne bronze, and chocolate bronze, most pull and knob collections offer a diverse selection to allow design- ers next-level customization. But despite the wide range of offerings on the market, trends still bubble up. "Metal is always dominating," says Dion, though she notes that natural materials like wood, leather, and crystal are gaining traction. Contemporary, sleek pulls in gold or other warm metals are also popular for 2020, as are matte black finishes. Blum's new onyx-black finish is right on trend with this surge of interest in black accessories, following in the footsteps of the plumbing and appliance industries. "Dark furniture radiates sleek elegance, inside and out, and hinges in onyx black discreetly complement furniture and create visual impact," says Sansalone. AccessSMT has new products coming down the pipe that address a variety of style personalities across North America. "We get to see the spread of trends like Polished Chrome door hardware start on the west coast and slowly work eastward," says Sean Greenhill, business development for AccessSMT. He, too, has noticed the increased interest in matte black hardware – "It's really become a mainstream A Soer Touch Taymor Slip Stream lever from AccessSMT. Opla-Top countertop extension mechanism from Richelieu Hardware. Blum's Expando T hinge.

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