Minimalist Kitchen Covet | Four International Designers

  • We asked four international designers to share insight on their signature minimalist approach to kitchen design – from what materials they can’t look past, to the importance of top-quality appliances.

    There’s no better way to understand minimalism in kitchen design than by speaking to the masters; Belgian designers Pieter Vanrenterghem, Thomas Meesschaert and Mathieu Luyens, and Dutch designer Niels Maier. These four international designers are no strangers to the spotlight when it comes to their restrained aesthetic and how it frames – and enhances – the lives of their clients. 

    To coincide with the launch of the Belling Design Collection by the British kitchen appliance brand Belling in Australia, we’re honing in on how minimalist kitchen design can be anything but spare. In this feature, each designer articulates their definitive approach to kitchen design and how they create a timeless and functional hub in the home that’s tailored to their client. 

    In partnership with Belling

    JUMA Architects

    Architecture and design studio JUMA Architects are known for their firm handle on warm Belgian minimalism. In their latest residential project, which happens to be the home of JUMA Architects directors Mathieu Luyens and Julie Van De Keere, the studio combined a rich material palette of dark timber and travertine in the kitchen; natural stone being what they describe as at the heart of their country’s design aesthetic. 

    JUMA Architects director Mathieu Luyens maintains that while they don’t have a definitive aesthetic across each kitchen project, differing in materials and details, they are all tailored intrinsically to their client. They commonly lean on wood for the kitchen cabinetry and say that while many don’t dare to use natural stone because it’s more fragile, they love the inherent quality of the countertop. “You have to find the right balance between beautiful, but fragile materials and functional use,” Mathieu says. 

    When selecting appliances for the kitchen, Mathieu says they can’t look past a combi-steam oven. “A combi-steam oven is a must-have in the kitchen,” he says. “As far as I’m concerned, you only need one appliance in the kitchen,” he adds. “No need for two ovens; just one high-quality combi-steam oven.” It’s in this vein, Mathieu says one high-quality kitchen appliance can do the job of three.


    Fellow Belgian architecture and design studio TJIP are experts in maximising space and harnessing natural light in small environments. They are confident minimalists, reworking spaces with a less-but-better approach that informs custom features such as shelving to become clever concealers of objects and appliances. 

    TJIP director Thomas Meesschaert says it’s important that a kitchen blends with the general atmosphere of the home. By carefully studying a kitchen space, they aim to propose a logical plan where circulation and organisation are key.

    When it comes to materials Thomas says they’re never ‘standard’ in their projects. Each project is tailor-made, translated by form and material,” he says. “But we do think it is important to propose the right materials; we prefer materials that age and give a patina to the home.”

    For Thomas, the kitchen encapsulates the soul of the home. “People come together in the kitchen, to cook and to eat, but above all, to share stories with each other,” he says. Ultimately he believes that creating a warm, cosy and accommodating feeling by keeping all of the interior elements pared-down marks the key to success in his custom kitchen design. 

    TJIP know that selecting top-tier appliances such as the black self-cleaning 60cm Built-In Pyrolytic Oven – Belling Design Collection can enhance the way people live and experience their kitchen spaces.

    Pieter Vanrenterghem

    Belgian designer Pieter Vanrenterghem’s design process is always client-led. As a luxury kitchen designer, Pieter dedicates himself to organisation and functionality and from here, looks to create beauty through alignment. 

    When it comes to materials, Pieter is strict on those that offer the home a sense of humanity. Steering clear of the kitchen being perceived as a showroom, Pieter looks for warmth and craftsmanship in his kitchen design. “We try to use materials that fit our studio’s design story and that are part of the design of a whole project,” he says. “I prefer natural stone because it has the feeling you can do anything.”

    Pieter says if there is one definitive thread in all of his kitchens, it’s integrated kitchen appliances. He prefers ‘neutrality’ and appliances that resemble his refreshingly minimal and clean attitude to design. Quality is something he will never compromise on – because as he puts it, “a happy cook prepares fine food”.

    The designer typically selects appliances based on how often the owners cook. “Some people have no time to cook; others are true chef’s,” he says. “So we do really try to find out how the people live in and use the kitchen; the combination of these two things next to our design attitude makes the kitchen fit for a client.”

    The Belling Design Collection’s Built-in Ovens such as the 90cm Built-in 11 Function Black Glass Oven are for those who Pieter describes as a ‘true chef’ and enjoy the home cooking experience, with an appreciation for clean and minimalist design.

    Niels Maier

    Dutch designer Niels Maier is not one to stray from a monochrome palette. Working predominantly with heritage homes, Niels examines how light interacts with a space, characterised by a crisp palette and minimalist opulence. 

    Niels says his studio focuses on concealment, specifying appliances that seamlessly blend with this scheme. When working with clients he always recommends a large worktop, usually made from Corian or stainless steel – or natural materials such as stone. To create both a functional and inspiring kitchen design, he focuses on ensuring every component including appliances reflect this ethos. “Form and function work best in premium appliances and perform best in my design,” he says.

    The Bright White House by Studio Niels

    Niels Maier says form and function work best in premium appliances – a prerequisite for the best kitchen projects. Cue: the 60cm Built-in ReadyCook Oven that combines an all-black aesthetic with easy-to-use technology, including an intuitive display with ReadyCook and more than 150 recipes in their automatic cook program.

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