Filippo Bombace kitchen designs speak of (and to) their homeowners through order and simplicity

The most basic thing in the design of a kitchen is to listen to the needs and wants of the client. Obviously.

For Rome-based architect Filippo Bombace there is no more essential a factor in the design of a kitchen than the client. Having come from a creative family of painters, decorators and architects, Filippo possesses the empathy of an artist, within the problem-solving mind of an architect. From the needs of the client comes a design that is simple and linear. For Filippo, pure design relieves the cognitive burden on the homeowner, making the home a convivial sanctuary, free from the distractions that fill our over-stimulated public lives.

Pure design relieves the cognitive burden on the homeowner, believes Filippo. © filippobombace.com

Pure design relieves the cognitive burden on the homeowner, believes Filippo. © filippobombace.com

A principle that I always strive to preserve from the beginning is a sense of order. But, order and simplicity should not necessarily be confused with minimalism.

In essence, the more closely the client is listened to, the simpler the design. The simpler the design, the more fluid the process. Indeed, if looked at carefully, many of Filippo’s creations have the hallmark elements of “essential design”.

What is essential design? In essence it is a philosophy rooted in subtraction. The mandate is to focus on the purpose of a design by way of reduction of material and styling. The more essential you can make a design, the less “designed” it appears.

 “An essential design is a white kitchen. Monochromatic, very simple, designed around a single module. It could also be richer, more colourful, but still everything has to be managed with a sense of order.

: An essential design is a white kitchen. Monochromatic, very simple, designed around a single module. © filippobombace.com

An essential design is a white kitchen. Monochromatic, very simple, designed around a single module. © filippobombace.com

The point of essential design is to avoid imposing any sort of styling direction on the client. The focus is always on order. According to Filippo simplicity can still be found in the richness of baroque interior, so long as there is a clear sense of order.

It’s not true that Filippo Bombace is a minimalist architect. No, I’m an architect who strives to keep things orderly.

So, would Filippo consider this drive towards design simplicity and orderliness, his “signature style”? As is common with many of his craft, he doubts that he has a signature style at all. Instead he looks to his clients for direction. However, this unrelenting client focus could very much be the point:

I’m often told that I never impose my ideas; that I’m a designer who talks a great deal with my clients. Who listens. I think that by listening closely to my clients that I achieve a design that the client feels is very personal. Perhaps that is my signature style”.

Though doubtful of the notion, certainly one can see elements that point to a signature style in Filippo’s work.

If I have one rule for my designs, I try as much as possible to use modules to create a rhythm.”

Inevitably, Filippo returns to a series of essentialist elements in kitchen design. He rarely uses handles for example, preferring instead a smooth look with a low base. If the space is very small he often suggests a very simple, linear design. According to Filippo, there is always enough space to find an opening that will allow the kitchen and living space to communicate. A pass through for instance, can be made at little expense. It increases the sense of unity between people in a home, and the conviviality of the kitchen.

Find an opening that will allow the kitchen and living space to communicate. © filippobombace.com

Find an opening that will allow the kitchen and living space to communicate. © filippobombace.com

The kitchen is never an isolated project in itself, but always an element of the total home design. It is the mother of the house; its heart. It’s the place where the family gathers and so it requires special attention.”