Dave Strachan has over 40 years’ experience in the fields of building, interiors, teaching, and architecture. Working closely with graduates and students, he urges them not to overlook the relationship of storage to housing. In his view, specifying the right cabinetry is crucial to a building's performance.
New Zealanders can learn some valuable lessons from cultures that have had to grapple for many decades with the issue of limited space. "Reducing sizes of dwellings is becoming more important as we try to intensify residential areas," he says. "The Japanese have a great record of making use of small spaces with well designed cabinetry."
Dave advises students to investigate the function of each storage unit in kitchen spaces and elsewhere. Yet this focus on functionality need not lead to a blandly utilitarian outcome. As he says, storage is a combination of aesthetics and function. "It must be designed, based around items to be stored, yet use materials and systems to enhance the feel, and to suit the project."
For many clients, the kitchen is the heart of the home, with a plethora of storage requirements. Dave believes that smart design can make all the difference here. So what future considerations would he like to see in the kitchens of New Zealand? "How to make small, efficient, cost-effective and durable kitchens for lower cost housing without compromising aesthetics and functionality."
To meet the challenge of designing for small spaces, Blum offers a range of solutions including the Space Tower Legrabox pantry solution. For more economical projects, Space Tower built in the Tandembox drawer system is a suitable option
In the end, Dave says, it will always come down to a balance between being fit for purpose, price, quality and back up from suppliers. By focusing on the pragmatic storage requirements of each design, architects such as Dave Strachan and kitchen hardware innovators such as Blum are injecting fresh thinking into Kiwi homes at all levels of the market.