Mario Mulea, senior designer at Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly checks in on his recent experience as a design competition judge…

Challenging as any design profession is and challenging as the economy can be, nothing is more challenging than getting a room full of designers to agree on anything. Being asked to judge a national kitchen and bath competition is truly an honor and further validates my value as a designer, an educator, and someone my peers can trust. The annual K+BB Design Awards recognizes outstanding residential kitchen and bathroom design, as well as kitchen and bath showroom design.

The day started with the kitchen competition where we viewed a slide presentation of the various entries. We went over the photos several times from start to finish to narrow the field down to the top four entries. A number scoring system was used, and I was surprised that most of us were on the same page. What really hit home with me was the fact that we were picking up and commenting on the smallest details almost in unison. The editor of the magazine commented several times on how she is looking at the same photos and does not see the things that we were seeing. It was at this point, for me, that reconfirmed that design is something that is innately part of what a designer is and that it comes from a place deep within the soul.

As we narrowed the field of kitchens down to the last two, it was attention to the smallest detail that won “the horse race.” The second part of the day was spent viewing the bath entries and going through the same process of narrowing down the field to a select few. Here it was made abundantly clear that just because a space might be smaller and may not include a laundry list of options does not make the space any easier or quicker to design. Once the field was narrowed down to the final three – Three I must add that were almost identical in color schemes and types of fixtures chosen — the clear winner was the one with the best sense of proportion and scale. After all, when we are designing for humans it is always about proportion and scale.

If you are going to ask me if I would be a judge again I would tell you that I have already put my name on the list—I will let you know how the next one goes! Winners will be published in the September 2012 issue of K+BB Magazine.

Mario Mulea

Posted by Mario Mulea in Kitchen Design, Trends, Musings  (See Mario’s Bio HERE


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