KBB NTG special achievement award

KBB Review Awards – Special Achievement Award

19 Mar 2015, by Renee Mascari in Awards, Design, Education, Uncategorised

My delight at the recognition of the foundation degree in Kitchen Design

By Renée Mascari

19th March 2015

I have just returned from London after attending the KBB Review Retail and Design Awards 2015.  This year’s awards ceremony turned out to be a particularly special one for me as the The KBB National Training Group and the team behind the Bucks New University Kitchen Design Foundation Degree were awarded the KBB Review Retail and Design ‘Special Achievement Award’.

KBB NTG special achievement awardWhen I took on the post of CEO to the NTG I was passionate about developing amongst other qualifications, a degree in Kitchen Design.  What I did not realise was just what a long and winding road it would turn out to be!  What I did know was that a Kitchen Designer required skills that should be formally taught leading to a qualification worthy of the expertise required to deliver good design, good practice and good business.

The long and winding road led eventually to the National School of Furniture Industry Board where both Johnny Grey, members of the NSF board and myself stressed the need for this degree! Industry partners and academics took two years to develop the FDA and the outcome was a complete leap of faith by Bucks New University, launching the programme in September 2014.  The year Kitchen Design became a profession!

Collecting this award on Monday evening was a very proud personal moment and recognition from industry that all those many years and hours spent driving to this meeting and that meeting, reviewing modules, nagging big corporates to sponsor bursaries, presenting and promoting the course have not been in vain.

Kitchen design is not just about planning where to position cabinets or worse still about selling cupboards, it is about creating design solutions for individual lifestyles, understanding why we even need a kitchen.  Different cultures have different needs and customs that need to be factored in, today’s kitchens are social spaces filled with high spec technology, sound & vision, lighting.  We have to consider that people are living longer and therefore need a kitchen to function and perform in a much more sustainable fashion but still retain style and trend.

kbbraw15006I have been designing kitchens for almost forty years and in my opinion it is impossible to ‘fall into’ the role of a kitchen designer, not in today’s market with today’s consumer and today’s high tech products.  To say “Well I have been doing it for 30 years and I don’t have any formal training and I have managed” is short sighted and narrow minded!  I regularly teach courses on kitchen design and I learn something new from every session I deliver.

As professionals we need to know whom Phillipe Starck, Karim Rashid, Zaha Hadid and Pininfarina are, after all they are amongst the world’s most prolific industrial designers and lead the way in innovation for both the kitchen and bathroom industry. Our degree students will be introduced to them through study, expand their knowledge of creative innovators, inspire them to explore design and innovation. All of this can only go a long way to making sure the kitchen industry does not remain in a time warp but evolves and grows in innovation and technology to keep up with worldwide product design and demand.

So world, look out for the new brand of design led creatives; disciplined designers with structured talent – advocates for industry education!

What’s not to love about kitchens?!!

  • Alison Shreeve Reply

    As part of the development team at Bucks I’m delighted that our efforts have been recognised by this award. As an academic I knew nothing about the kitchen industry, but I’ve learned so much! It’s been fantastic to work with key industry professionals and to share in their passion. We have a fabulous group of students who are working with us to make the course, which until September only existed on paper, a living reality. Thanks to those brave enough to take the first step and to our wonderful supporters and tutors.