Very soon we will be announcing the winners of the Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest. We received so many great entries from around the country! Our judges definitely had their work cut out for them. And speaking of judges, an illustrious collection of esteemed designers from across the U.S. agreed to take the time to review the contest submissions and select the winners. This year’s judges are:
- Jeffrey Blum
- Robin Burrill
- Oscar De las salas
- Paula Kennedy
- Martin Spicuzza
- Chip Blankenship, President and CEO of GE Appliances
Over the next few weeks, we will profile each Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest judge. Our third profile features Oscar De las salas from Scottsdale, Arizona.
SRFD: How did you become interested in design?
Oscar: At a young age I found myself submerged in the world of creativity, and my outlets were many.
It was the creation of anything new and interesting which called my attention; perhaps the availability of suggesting or coming up with an answer (or answers) to a problem. From watching my aunt run her design studio in Barranquilla, Colombia, and helping her to select the right fabrics for her hundreds of Carnival designs, to the simple solution of picking the colors for the walls of our family’s newest real estate acquisition, to the design of a dinner table layout or even to the selection of china and flowers for one of our family dinner parties.
I knew creativity was my line of work, so after working on multiple U.S. Embassies in South America, I completed my studies as an architect but with a special focus. After working in multiple aspects of architecture and design, I chose to master in architectural interior design, and I’ve been practicing for the last 23 years with an intense spotlight on lifestyle.
A well-designed space is a storyline where nothing should need to be spoken for the user to understand what is happening, or to recognize your design intent. Design is a language where silence is your best ally. I am not attracted to designs that require extensive verbal justification.
SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.
Oscar: I am currently working on an interior architectural design tenant improvement project at the Phoenix Convention Center. The result will be an approximately 3,000 sq. ft. multi-functional event space, in which we established as a “design approach” for the intent of the space to be unobtrusive and ethereal, so any type or variety of event can be well-served by the space.
The space incorporates a continuous undulating wave-shaped ceiling 10 to 12 feet high (on it’s soft ridge line), a white stretched canvas lighted with indirect LED lighting, ripple fold white gauzy drapes from floor to ceiling to soften street views, grey and soft white striped flooring – staggered in perpendicular bands – and the combination of frosted glass walls, mirrored walls and bidirectional mosaic and mirrored tile accents to complement, give the space that “cloud-like” like look we are looking for.
In contrast, a single red tone on the bar area’s elliptical ceiling that is set slanted from 7 to 8 feet and encrusted with little jewel crystal star shaped lights, draws guests to bar area where drinks are served.
Perhaps the element that wraps the space to be inviting is the mixture of small triangular stools in a durable microfiber grey and bone color, with alternating small tables made of soft maple in the same shape, placed together in the central space like a vertebrae. The result is a modular seating and table option attached like a long spine in the middle of the space, which can be detached to create separate seating settings.
To label and brand the space, the name “MONROE” (the bar’s name) will be spelled on white acrylic letters on a repeat setting on the window sill facing the street, with one word being red, while the rest will be ultra white.
This project is expected to be complete in record time. This is a very unique space, and a project I am looking for guests to enjoy and for patrons to use in many, many different ways.
SRFD: A trend you’re over?
Oscar: The glass-tile and tumbled travertine combination, or cheap tile glass, or anything Tuscan-ish. (This is what I consider a ‘developers’ interpretation of what Tuscan style is, of course). Oh, and concrete horizontal surfaces mixed with ultramodern cabinetry – yuck!
SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?
Oscar: Bi-dimensional tile, solid panel frosted glass, mirror backsplash or a single full marble slab backsplash unify and expand the space, in modern settings. I am also in love with transitional white subway tile with grey grouting, and traditional soft textured tile mixed with hand-painted tile.
Waterfall edges on any horizontal surface make me happy.
LED indirect lighting, soft lighting and anything ethereal, and any modern materials in white, grey or frosted finishes.
SRFD: What are you looking forward to about judging the design contest entries?
Oscar: Interior designers and architects are a source of creativity and through these experts, incredible solutions can be found.
As a judge, I am looking for not only for the most jaw-dropping visually stimulating unique design (no matter what the style is) but I also need to see a design with a high level of practicality; I look for excellent use of the triangulation of space, in case of “U” shaped kitchen, (with or without island), a perfect layout in a typical “L” shaped kitchen, or a convenient and handy layout in simple modern galley shaped space.
What I look for is an aesthetically pleasant kitchen space that is multi-functional in which the user is able to thrive, function effectively day-to-day and the design supports a welcoming and appealing space for the day to day “get-ready-to-work-fast” person, the family with a baby and a dog, the stay-home-housewife, the-senior-living-alone, the socialite, the bachelor, or the family Thanksgiving dinner, or the family that constantly entertain. I see these main concepts as complements to the already beautifully designed and leading edge Monogram line.
Since I am the “designated” chef in my house, in essence, I look for the stunning beautiful visual project with a balance of intense and creative use of space with an easy, user-friendly design.
Hear more from Oscar at What Would Oscar Do.