Kitchen Trends and Material Innovation

Nadia Hursky on February 17, 2012

Kitchen trends encompass more than simply finding new ways to entertain the consumer. Trends identify underlying human needs and the desire to better humanity. European kitchen trends include the use of materials such as concrete, aluminium, marble and timber. These trends are moving towards nature, and towards social and ethical manufacturing.

Toncelli and Valcucini—two favourite Italian companies—lead kitchen trends with innovative material productions. They generate, produce and execute inspiring kitchen spaces with a dedicated team of creative employees, craftsmen and new technology and machinery. Using materials like concrete, aluminium, marble and timber, their work is considered luxurious, and typically expensive.

Crisp Concrete

Cement has been defined as the material of “New Renaissance” of modern design. "A material with unlimited possibilities, able to shape and emphasize even the most boldest and most original idea’s and projects". Toncelli Kitchens.

Below are some examples of their work.

Kitchen Trends concrete doors


concrete door detail


concrete kitchen island

Beautiful, minimal and bold, concrete captures the essence of shape, structure and form. This look works well when combined with other textural elements.

Light Aluminium

Kitchen trends also reflect social and environmental issues. Valcucini developed a range of lightweight, de-materialised doors that demonstrates their overall philosophy, embodying health, environmental and social ethics. Their recycled and durable products emphasise de-materialisation—cutting the amount of material and energy use to a minimum.

"….profit becomes the end product of an ethical, cultural and technological process and not the primary objective of a mere economic speculation". Valcucine Kitchens

The below photos show part of the Riciclantica range. The aluminium door panels are only 2mm thick, the frames made from structurally-resistant aluminium. The accurate detailing displays a heat- and water-resistant door that is environmentally friendly. Riciclantica uses advanced technology to avoid screws and hinges for even less material use.

aluminium kitchen doors


vaccine aluminium doors

The aluminium doors are lightweight and sculptural. The doors are 100% aluminium and are completely recyclable.

Majestic Marble

This new concept of luxury defines opulence. Crafted from marble, Toncelli’s creation is extraordinary. Their bold and beautiful marble kitchen uses only the finest elements crafted by experts. The cost of this trend is prohibitive to most, but its look influences many to create their own look in tribute to Toncelli’s inspiration.

"The ordinary gives its stability to the world. The extraordinary gives its value". Oscar Wilde

marble kitchen cabinetry


marble kitchen door detail

This marble kitchen is detailed with elm wood cabinet interiors and leather sides.

Textured Timber

Mother Nature is directing kitchen trends back to the basics. More textural timber finishes are becoming available with both visual and tactile appeal. This creates a deeper emotional response. We are drawn to things that look hand-made and crafted, rather than machine finished. We yearn to discover the beauty and soul in nature, and to introduce it into our home environments.

The above kitchen from Toncelli shows the elegant contrast between made-made concrete and natural timber. The timber looks hand sawn and adds warm and texture to the space.

textured timber kitchen

This kitchen–from the Noce Tattile range by Valcucine—evokes a sense of nature and warmth to the kitchen with the texture of the wood and tactile surfaces.

timber kitchen doors

When we acknowledge that trends that are more than fads, we understand underlying human desires. These kitchen trends show a move towards nature, a move towards the majestic, and a move that encompasses deeper social and environmental ethics. Feel inspired by concrete, aluminium, marble or timber in your new kitchen design.



  1. Michael S says:

    Hi Nadia

    I loved this article and would love it if you could share your best estimates of what some of these kitchens may have cost the owners. I realize it would be a huge generalization, but it would be great to have a ball park to think about…

    Thanks again

    1. nadiah says:

      Hi Michael

      These designs don’t come cheap, as a ball park I would say atleast $80, 000 and upwards 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    I like the modern, sturdy look of cement. Do you have any ideas for adding cement to a tiny kitchen without overpowering it?

    1. nadiah says:

      Hi Kathy, perhaps as a benchtop?

  3. Jacqueline says:

    I’m kind of an old fashioned girl, so most of these wouldn’t be my first choice for my own home, but I tell you I would be very impressed to walk into someone’s house and see any of these kitchens. I especially love the bottom one, it has a nice warm feeling and yet is very modern at the same time. Beautiful!

    1. nadiah says:

      Thanks for your comments Jacqueline 🙂

  4. Janice says:

    Hi Nadiah, love the website. I like the idea of a concrete bench top. What are a few pros and cons for using concrete as a bench top in the kitchen.

    1. nadiah says:

      Hi Janice

      The pro’s of concrete are it’s appearance and it’s finish. This can also be a it’s downfall if the trades people installing the bench top do a bad job (it can be quite hard and pricy to get it right).

      All the best

  5. Kairi Gainsborough says:

    I’ve seen concrete used as floors, walls, and countertops, but seeing it used on drawers is a first for me. I actually really like the look. The only thing I would be hesitant about is the fact that concrete can stain and I might scrape my fingers on it. While I do like these new ideas, I’m pretty set on choosing wood cabinets with a high-gloss finish.