Hayden Price, Contract Design Manager
Q: Tell us about your employment history and how you became involved in the kitchen industry – was it all part of the plan?
A: All through my school years I had a strong interest in art, design and computer aided design. This, I think, was mainly due to my dad’s influence as an architect. I went on to college to study graphic design and from there went on to university where I obtained a degree in graphic design. This gave me a keen eye for detail and the fundamental skills required for computer aided design.
I began looking for suitable employment and noticed an advert for a kitchen designer with BK Nolte Contracts in the local paper. I applied and was lucky enough to be appointed – the rest is history. I love what I do and during my 10 years at BK Nolte Contracts I have worked my way up through the ranks to my current position of Contract Design Manager.
Q: Talk us through a typical day heading up such a busy design department?
A: No two days are alike and my days are often made easier as we all work together as a team. My role involves co-ordinating the designers to ensure they are following the clients brief, designing to the correct standards and ensuring they are on track with deadlines. I am also always on hand to answer any queries my colleagues may have. In addition to looking after my team, I need to keep on track with my own tasks. Occasionally, we are asked to follow ‘like for like’ plans and copy our competitors ideas. These projects can often be mundane. I prefer to educate my team and pass on my knowledge to encourage them to create their own designs. BKNC is a leader not a follower. I like to open up the communication channels and offer our clients ideas based ‘around’ their brief rather than to their exacting specification – kitchen design shouldn’t always be about planning boxes on walls. It’s about creating that certain type of style and feel to the kitchen.
Q. How can contract kitchen buyers and specifiers make your life easier?
A: In an ideal world, we would prefer the client to supply us with just the information relating to the kitchen design rather than full floor plans and information on the entire site. However, I completely understand the reasons behind this procedure. If we did receive less documentation, it would enable us to turn the quotes around much quicker and would avoid the need to sift through irrelevant information, which can often be quite a time-consuming process. It goes without saying that we always require minimum plot quantities and kitchen design-type quantities, perhaps in a schedule, a set of white-line kitchen layouts are useful too.
An indication on budget is also key so that we know which product range to quote. BKNC have a wide range of products ranging from entry level right through to very top end and everything in between! An idea on budget can help enormously and means that we can offer a quotation based on the client’s taste and budget from the outset.
Q: What trends do you see emerging and what do you feel is going to be the next big design trend in kitchen design?
A: We have noticed an increase in demand for kitchen designs based on a more ‘rustic’ aesthetic. The use of stone effect and textured doors partnered by copper or bronze handles, taps and splashbacks is becoming a popular choice. This combination gives a more natural feel to the kitchen and makes it a much warmer and inviting space. This trend has yet to fully make its mark in the contract market as a whole but I often find that the contract sector is at least 18 months behind the retail market on some trends.
Some clients are getting bolder in their kitchen offering and are now welcoming the incorporation of open units and pocket boxes in the design. These options have been a trend in Germany for some years now. It creates an open, airy feel to the space and helps to provide a seamless transition from the kitchen to the living areas. This is a particularly important feature in open plan properties.