Attending the 2008 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) was an eye-opening experience for Richard Anuszkiewicz, then a sophomore design student at Virginia Tech. Not only did he decide then and there to focus his career on kitchen design, but he also set another lofty goal. “I vowed someday to design my own kitchen at KBIS to inspire others,” he recalls.
Ten years later, the Annapolis-based designer accomplished just that when German manufacturer Liebherr asked him to create a kitchen showcasing its new state-of-the-art refrigerator line at KBIS 2018, held last January in Orlando.
No stranger to the limelight, Anuszkiewicz was one of KBIS’s inaugural “30 Under 30” designers at the 2013 show and frequently speaks nationally about one of his favorite subjects, “fashion-forward” design. He readily accepted Liebherr’s challenge and got to work designing a luxury kitchen that would reflect the caliber of the company’s new product.
“We incorporated some stunning finishes and a few design details that frankly have never been done before,” he says. Built around a multi-tiered island with an integrated banquette, the kitchen featured refrigeration “armoires” in aged bronze and exotic eucalyptus and a custom dining table with brass accents. Likening the space to a concept vehicle that “pushes boundaries,” Anuszkiewicz explains, “I wanted to change consumers’ perceptions of what a kitchen should or could be.”
What sparked your creative concept?
Liebherr’s new refrigerator is called Monolith, which means “carved from one piece.” I used that definition as inspiration for my room. It’s very rectilinear and has a simple overall geometry. For example, the island’s multi-tiered surfaces look like they’re carved from one piece.
What kind of statement did you want to make?
I’m very inspired by vehicle design. In my mind, I relate this kitchen to the idea of a concept car in which I would showcase exotic materials and execute them in interesting ways. I wanted to evoke a masculine quality with finishes that are dark and moody, but there was also a hint of glamour and an overall provocative nature.
Describe a game-changing element in the space.
For quite a while, I’ve wanted to do a bronze refrigerator. But what makes it special is that it’s actually a 30-inch refrigerator and a 24-inch freezer that read as two completely symmetrical units. A lot of clients need more refrigerator than freezer space, so on the 30-inch door, I ran a “reveal” line that reads as a door edge. This refrigerator, with the leather-stitched handles, was one of the most talked-about elements of the kitchen.
What makes a successful kitchen design?
While the kitchen of yesterday was strictly a utilitarian space, the kitchen of today is so much more—it’s where people congregate, gather and entertain. So I approach a kitchen very much as I would approach the interior design of a room. It’s too literal to think you have to use one finish throughout the space. A sophisticated kitchen has to be well-curated and collected.
How do you ensure that materials play well together?
I’m passionate about materials and mindful about layering a palette with beautiful textures. To me, a successful space should have a harmonious effect and everything should feel balanced. Nothing should hit you in the face.
I also love to mix metals. In this kitchen, I saw stainless steel as a neutral and used the bronze hue for warmer pops of color.
What trends are on your radar?
I love white marble and I think it’s forever classic, but conceptually, we’ve seen it before. I wanted to show people at KBIS that you can do a dark counter as well, and it can look just as phenomenal.
As much as brass has come full circle, I feel that way about bleached and cerused woods. We’re using them a lot in our work. We’re also seeing a lot of textured and geometric tiles.
What are your favorite sources of inspiration?
I push myself to rely on outside inspiration because I want my work to be as original as possible. I can’t say that there’s one source I always go to because it’s so random for me.
I find inspiration in music. And Instagram is a resource where I look at different fashion houses—my top three are Balmain, Tom Ford and Gucci. Tom Ford is my hero in artistry; I would love to be the Tom Ford of kitchens someday.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of being open to the world around you and realizing that you could be walking down the street and it could be the color of a flower in nature or the way a song strikes a certain mood. You can truly find inspiration in all things.