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Trendspotting in Spain with Cosentino

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Recently, my fellow Silestone Trendspotters and I were invited on a trip to Spain, hosted by global solid surfaces company, Cosentino, to check out the latest design trends and see firsthand their Headquarters.

Landing in the Barcelona airport, the floors are covered in RED Silestone! The perfect welcome to our trip, and introduction to the risk taking that Europeans are known for in design.

The next day we ventured toward Macael, Spain where the Cosentino factory is located. Have you ever stopped to think about where that beautiful marble or granite came from? We saw the mines where they are pulling marble out of the earth, and it is absolutely majestic!! Now, I have used Silestone product for years on the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and in client homes. Years ago at a tradeshow, I walked up to their Marketing V.P., explained the design process on the television show, and he said, “We’re in.” This is a young company, with A LOT of vision. They see opportunity, and take it. Working with them has been an absolute pleasure, BUT now finally seeing where exactly the counters originate, and how they got halfway around the world to us…makes me even more grateful and honored to be working with them.

The factory is clean. The employees are happy. The product is stellar…and they are always looking at new introductions for the industry. They are innovative, honest and REAL. Sitting at a round table, we faced the owner of the family run business, Paco Cosentino. He wanted our honest feedback as designers about his product. We spoke in English, his son translated to Spanish. We learned that he has kept his factory and business in Macael (a TINY town in southern Spain) because they all grew up there, and he wants to continue providing jobs and boosting economy in his hometown. They could easily have moved their process to the ports of Barcelona (6 hours north), putting more money in their pocket…but they’ve stood post in Macael, because they care about their roots, and where they are from. I LOVE IT!

During a group tour in Granada, we walked over Cosentino marble on the floor surrounding the Court of the Lions, right there in the heart of the Alhambra…one of the most historical landmarks in all of Spain.

We concluded the trip at some of the most fashion forward design showrooms in Barcelona, and I have a few trends to share with you on kitchen and bath designs:

– 1cm is the new countertop thickness. Simple, sleek, thin.

– No hangover. I mean overhang. (Making sure you’re paying attention). Mount the counters FLUSH to the face of the cabinet.

– Why leave counters for horizontal surfaces only? New trends are using materials like Silestone on the face of the cabinets, for an ultra clean, simple…yep, you guessed it…sleek look! It’s stunning!! Isn’t there enough chaos in a kitchen between the pots, pans, appliances and food? I am loving the idea of ONE finish for all. One for all.

– Do seams between slabs bug you? Well, why not make them serve a purpose? Use a stainless steel strip between slabs, and let the seam become a detail only you could have thought of. Fabricators and clients will think you’re a true artist!

– Spaces are smaller, so we need to be smarter. Multifunctional kitchen spaces are the key.

A few examples:

• With sliding hinges, you can use a counter piece or butcher block to cover your stove top when it’s not in use. The range is wasted counter space when you’re not cooking.

• Use the space below your counters, at the back of your cabinets, by dropping spices and canisters in a compartment below your counter surface! Clutter is tucked away, space is being utilized!

• Use bi-folding doors that tuck into a pocket to gain cabinet storage space. When not in use, close the doors, and this area of the kitchen is not an eye sore to the living space close by.

Thank you, Cosentino for hosting us on this venture, and special thanks to the Lorenzo Marquez of Cosentino and Jim Brodsky of Sharp Communications. Fellow Trendspotters and travel compadres are Mark Williams of Mark Williams Design in Atlanta and Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke of Mapcap Cottage in New York. To be in their company, was an honor and a blast!

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