Most of us can't afford to have European designers outfit our kitchens with custom-fitted cabinetry, countertops, and décor. I know I can't. But at this year's EuroCucina kitchen show in Milan, I got to spend six days in a fantasy land of vibrant color, exotic wood, and gorgeous lighting.
The show floor is a cacophony of visual stimuli. Even someone like me—someone who usually bargain-shops for housewares at Target—can get caught up in the intoxicating atmosphere.
But while the kitchens themselves might be out of reach, and a ticket to Milan isn't exactly cheap, you shouldn't fret: We've collected photos of some of the most beautiful kitchens in Europe for your viewing pleasure.
Italian design house Snaidero offers a range of styles, from avant garde to modernist with a vintage twist. It's also one of the few on this list that's readily available in the U.S. (as long as you live in New York, Chicago, South Florida, or Hawaii).
Miton, which has been referred to as "the Ferrari of kitchens", embraces a wholly modern take on interior design. Banks of sleek cabinets, giant slabs of wood, and elegant lighting defined its kitchens at EuroCucina. But while they showed a typical tendency toward minimalism, these spaces still offered plenty of details that add a human touch.
Since 1959, Team7 has been producing handmade, built-to-order wooden masterpieces in Austria. And since 1980, it's been all about eco-consciousness. All of the company's products are made of solid, sustainably harvested wood, glued with formaldehyde-free glue, and finished with only natural oils.
In business since 1974, Composit describes its new "Noisette" kitchen as contemporary classicism. "No futuristic settings or dull modernism, but a comfortable and nice kitchen, where living and working is a pleasure."
Minacciolo showed off several of its "shabby chic" designs at EuroCucina, including its Minà multifunctional island with trademark red spigot-style knobs, "English Mood" country kitchen, and "Natural Skin" series. By far the biggest draw was an island under a perpetual rain shower, covered in rust.
The slogan plastered all over Arrital's display at EuroCucina was "k_culture." The k, of course, stands for "kitchen." Like many other designers, its kitchens were distinctly modern, and often distinguished by unusual light fixtures.
Armani / Dada
What happens when arguably the biggest name in Italian fashion hooks up with one of the country's best kitchen design studios? You get some really nifty sliding furniture. The Armani / Dada booth was one of EuroCucina's most undeniably stylish, and also one of its best-attended.
Based in Waldstetten, Germany, Leicht has been making premium kitchens for more than 80 years. At this year's show, the company's Xtendplus interior blinds, which can transform the space above the countertop from open cabinets to a smooth wall. It's undeniably cool, as are several of the company's other kitchen concepts.
From just one glance at Rossana's logo—molded from shiny golden metal with a heart for the "o"—it's easy to tell it's not quite as obsessed with the whole sleek minimalism thing as some of its Italian peers. Most of Rossana's designs are elegant and timeless, but the kitchen on display at EuroCucina was also a little bombastic, and maybe even a bit 80s-retro in its flashiness. Check out those lights!
One of the key architects of what came to be known as "Italian Design," Schiffini has had a remarkably long run since it started making kitchens in the 1950s. Its displays at the show were some of the brightest and friendliest, looking to bridge the gap between high-concept modernism and smart livability.
Lando's roots are in traditional Umbria- and Tuscany-style furniture, but in the last decade and a half, the company has branched out into more contemporary design with lovely results.
Anything but modern, La Cornue has built its considerable reputation on never changing its designs or construction methods. With only a few exceptions, the cabinetry and appliances it sells are exactly like the items you could have bought 50 years ago. Retro is always in, after all.