I’m so excited to have sat down with Reform—this incredibly cool company out of Copenhagen that works with designers to create these amazing cabinet fronts that go onto IKEA bases. I thought of them right away when working on my latest design project with my good friend Jessi Nadine, Zuhause. They make reinventing a space so convenient and look fantastic. Jessi loved how reminiscent they were of these built-in closets Jessi’s parents had, which were subtle, but really rounded out the room, so we ended up using Reform in the bedroom, master bath, and kitchen. We contrasted the custom Reform cabinets with these lovely brass knobs and it really proved how Reform’s minimalism caters to individual tastes and visions.
Read our interview with Reform below:
1. Tell me about how Reform started. What was the inspiration?
We’ve always been into design, architecture and interior design, so the impulse to work within these disciplines professionally was never far away. At some point, we realized that regular people, like ourselves, couldn’t really afford great design in their kitchens. On top of that, when we started out around five years ago, there was a distinct lack of options in the middle ground between low-cost and high-end kitchens. When it dawned on us that it was possible to add extraordinary design to IKEA’s basic elements and offer a price that was reasonable, it all seemed to come together, and we pretty much ran with that idea.
2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?
We have a modern perspective; as in timeless, Scandinavian and forward-thinking—with room for personality and bold, new ideas. We build on existing ideas and traditions, like our Danish design heritage, to establish the next level in craft and design. The aim is to push the boundaries of our industry while creating better environments for contemporary, everyday living.
3. Why Ikea? What is it like building a business model around another business?
IKEA’s basic elements are high-quality, durable products that offer a great and lasting foundation for realizing design visions at a price where regular people can play along. IKEA have always been very nice about the whole thing, so it’s actually been a relatively hassle-free and satisfying experience.
4. I love that you collaborate with different designers! How do you find the designers to collaborate with, and what is the design process like?
Thank you, that’s nice to hear. We’ve worked with a wide and varying range of internationally acclaimed architects and designers, and the common red thread in the selection is that each of these designers share our vision of pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo and breaking new ground – while also respecting the crucial importance of time-honored craftsmanship.
Our process is very accommodating. We’re very open to new ideas. There are certain restrictions when you work within a set framework (IKEA), so part of our job is explaining what’s possible within that framework. Discussing materials and options – while generally being a nice and encouraging partner – is central to the way we work.
5. What was one of your most unexpected collaborations or designs?
Each design brings new and unforeseen things to the table. However, one of our latest designs offered several surprises. Muller van Severen’s combination of HDPE, marble and brass was a surprising mix of materials and aesthetics that sounds like it might clash and look odd, but it worked out beautifully, and actually provided a fresh perspective on kitchens design. In the end, it turned out to be both surprisingly timeless and completely unlike anything else out there. Adding to that, it gave us a lot of positive publicity, so we had a few nice surprises with that design.
6. What’s essential in a beautifully designed kitchen to you?
Lasting craftsmanship and durability for everyday living as well as an uncluttered design that offers a calm and inviting environment for pause, reflection and contentment. Sometimes, a bit of wow-factor done in a tasteful way, which makes sense within the home, can be a great way to enhance your daily routines in the kitchen.
7. What is something from European kitchens you think American kitchens would benefit from?
Europe is made up of a vast amount of different and sometimes contradictory design styles, so it’s difficult to pinpoint a common denominator – at least in terms of kitchens. If we focus on Nordic or Scandinavian kitchen design, we’d say that modern, clean lines, timeless woodwork and a general focus on whittling things down to their essence are styles and values that most kitchens, including American ones, could benefit from.
8. What kitchen design trend are you most excited for, for 2020?
After a long period of design minimalism, it seems as if people are finally ready to welcome more expressive and colourful elements into their lives. As mentioned above, we love design that simplifies to let the essence shine – and that will likely always be a part of Reform – but it’s nice to see brave designers (like Muller van Severen) experimenting with colors, textures and aesthetics. Needless to say, the way that forward-thinking designers (like Lendager Group, the designers behind our circular UP kitchen) are boldly venturing into new territory with sustainable design that proposes visionary solutions to the challenges we face in the years to come is a new direction that we’re thoroughly excited about.
9. What’s next for Reform?
We’re moving to Berlin! Or at least the founders of Reform are. We see a lot of potential in Germany, so it makes sense for us to have a strong presence there.
We also have some exciting designs in the pipeline by big name architects—which we can’t talk too much about at this point, unfortunately. Suffice it to say, that we’re very excited and that it’s an interesting time for Reform, design-wise.
Other than that, our goal is to grow the company in an organic way that meets our lofty level of ambition while staying true to the original qualities that made us excited about Reform when we first started out.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about beautiful cabinetry from Reform at Zuhause and make sure to check out all of their beautiful cabinet fronts.