KBB - December 2011 - (Page 12)

Editor’s Note Nature and Nurture In the last chapter of Boomerang, author Michael Lewis leaves the economic foibles of Europe to contemplate those much closer to home— namely, the precarious finances of California and two of its struggling municipalities San Jose and Vallejo. Phil Batchelor, the latter’s city manager, attributes his municipality’s bankrupt state to something deeper. “He didn’t view the city’s main problem as financial: the financial problems were the symptom,” writes Lewis. “The disease was the culture.” Lewis goes on to describe the culture as one where self-interest is allowed to run amok without much consideration to long-term consequences. When asked to venture an explanation for the rise of such a culture, Dr. Peter Whybrow, a neuroscientist at UCLA, offers this: “The human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in an environment defined by scarcity. It was not designed, at least originally, for an environment of extreme abundance.” What does this have to do with kitchens and baths? Perhaps not a lot, except this talk about behavior and environment did remind me of some thoughts I had on the built environment while touring the city of Barcelona. I was there as part of a press group invited by Cosentino to take in the architectural splendor of one of Spain’s most celebrated cities and ultimately to visit the company’s headquarters in Almeria. As we followed our tour guide through the narrow streets of Barcelona, admired the period details on façades, windows and doors and whisked in and out of its many historical treasures, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to have grown up in such a city. Did carrying on one’s everyday life in the midst of ancient reminders shape one’s sense of self and citizenship? Did living in closer quarters or having to cross longstanding public squares on a daily basis make one more aware of one’s membership in a community and therefore more inclined to ponder decisions based on “the greater good”? Of course, where we live, work and play is but one factor in a host of many that determine our makeup as individuals and as a nation, and yes, Spain, too, has its share of economic woes. But as Lewis points out in his book, the different ways in which the various European countries are dealing with their crises are revealing of who they are as a people. Besides, to wonder about the impact of a city’s design—its architectural history, scale and layout—on the worldview and self-identity of its modern-day citizens is kind of compelling and keeps me interested in what I do. No less compelling is extending those thoughts to kitchen design. Sure, socio-economic factors have effected changes in how our kitchens look and function. But in turn, can they affect and change how we live and—permit me this note of corniness; we’re in the midst of the holiday season, after all—love? Do today’s open kitchens encourage a more egalitarian attitude about gender roles? Does including an arts and crafts area for kids strengthen family ties and boost child development? I’d like to think so. Continued on page 16 12 + K BB December 2011 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - December 2011

KBB - December 2011
Contents
Online Contents/News
Editorial
Show Director’s Note
Road to KBIS
Web Savvy
Consumer
2011 K+BB Product Innovator Awards
Trends
Products
Design
Breathing Room: A Kitchen Moves Past “Green 1.0”
Linear Nature
Practice
Ad Index
Favorites

KBB - December 2011

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