By Linda Parker
After discovering that some of our favourite companies in the kitchen and bathroom industry are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2022, we couldn’t help but think it would be great to celebrate their achievements by featuring them in this month’s story. Happy Anniversary from The Kitchen Think team!
AGA is celebrating its centenary year in 2022. The iconic heat storage oven/cooker was designed in 1922 by Swedish physicist Dr Gustaf Dalen, who was also a Nobel Prize winner. His aim was to create a cooker that was economical, clean, easy to use and easy to run – in contrast to the time-consuming, rather dangerous and dirty range cooker his wife struggled with! Thankfully he came up with a cooking concept that was to change the way people cooked … The AGA was originally available in Cream, and then AGA De Luxe models were introduced in blue, green, grey and white, and the chrome-plated domed lids were introduced as well. In the 1960s oil and gas-fired versions were introduced as solid-fuel became less popular, with customers wanted cleaner and convenient energy sources. New developments over the years introduced the smallest AGA, the Freestanding Module at 60cm, designed as a companion to a regular multi-oven AGA that offered extra capacity and an alternative to the heat-storage mode. The latest models are the AGA eR7 Series, powered by electricity and offering sophisticated enhanced control with touch-screen operation.
Craven Dunnill is 150 years old this year, and they’re known world-wide as a leading global specialist in the manufacture of decorative ceramic styles with traditional three-dimensional pattern and rich, deep colour tones. I’ve featured their tiles in several magazine articles over the years, as I’ve always been a huge fan of the intense colours, details and patterns. Original production methods are still used, with hand decoration and a passion for quality. MD Simon Howells says ‘On this 150th year, I am proud of our passionate workforce, our unrivalled portfolio and our commitment to British craft. We have a responsibility for the preservation of hand skills, craft education and excellence in British design and are working towards amplifying these stories of our history to inform the next 150 years’. Above, Gillian Crumpton, Peter Howells, Adrian Blundell and Simon Howells with the original Certificate of Incorporation from 9th February, 1872. Gillian Crumpton is Head of Interpretation & Exhibitions at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and says ‘The 150th anniversary is a great opportunity to highlight the partnership between the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and Craven Dunnill Jackfield Ltd’. The factory, now the home of the Jackfield Tile Museum was built in 1872 by Craven Dunnill & Co and is the most complete Victorian tile factory in the world.
Shaws of Darwen was founded by Arthur Gerald Shaw on 14th February 1897, celebrating the 125-year anniversary of the company, which is the oldest manufacturer of fireclay sinks in Britain, this very month! Each and every Shaws sink celebrates British craftsmanship and is handmade at the Shaws factory in Darwen, Lancashire, using traditional slip casting, glazing and finishing techniques that are passed down to through the generations since the company was established. Each sink has a stamp on it’s base with the name of the master craftsman who created it, and to commemorate the 125th anniversary, a stamp with a unique 125 mark has been designed. The kitchen and bathroom sinks are produced using a slip casting process, the blend of English and French clay is poured into a mould, and when the basin is at the stage where it’s dry enough to be handles it’s removed from the mould and trimmed and shaped by hand. It’s then dried for up to 40 hours before being glazed twice. The resulting surface is impermeable and heat, chemical and stain resistant – meriting a lifetime warranty. Above: The Shaws of Darwen Gallery Butler Sink 800 in Wild Grass Blue, from the new Gallery Collection which combines history and heritage, with inspiration from nature. The pattern is applied during the glazing process so will not change or fade with time.
The Shaws of Darwen Butler sink in Metallic Gold would be at home in a traditional or contemporary setting, bringing a fresh, modern look to what is usually considered a classic kitchen item.
It had to be done! This is the heart-shaped concept sink from Shaws of Darwen, marking the Valentine’s Day 1897 establishment of the company. It’s not in production so far, but we will definitely let you know if the decision is made to make it available!
It’s also the 290th anniversary of the German brand Zwilling, with the design of the Zwilling Intercontinental 20cm Chef’s Knife. It’s a limited edition of 2900, with 200 available in the UK, with an individually numbered blade and a handle fashioned from Bocote hardwood. Definitely one for the super-keen chefs, or perhaps as a gift, as it’s presented in a beautiful beech box.
And now for some new releases! This is the new porcelain surface, Black Beauty from RAK Ceramics. These tiles come in three very workable formats, 120cm x 240cm, 120cm x 120cm and 60cm x 120cm – so they can be used for dramatic full-height tiled panels in shower schemes as well as for streamlined islands and wall panels.
For a brand-new kitchen scheme or as an affordable update to an existing kitchen, the new Rawling Pull-Out Tap from Caple should fit the bill. The hose easily swivels, making it super-easy to rinse fruits and vegetables, fill vases, rinse down the whole sink, and to wash large or bulky cookware. It’s a mix of chrome and matt black finishes, has a single lever ceramic valve, stands 528mm tall and has a reach of 241mm.
The new Gala design from Lifestyle Kitchens is a classic Shaker style, available in six colours, include the striking Indigo Blue, shown here. The other shades are more subtle; Oyster, Grey, Cashmere, Dakar and Grey Slate. All however can be used in combination with Indigo Blue -perhaps for a central island. Glazed cabinets and a large selection of handles, including oak and walnut options, make this affordable range very stylish indeed.
Spring and summer looks are reaching the stores now, and it seems that lots of us are busy planning outdoor updates for our back gardens. This is the Koral sofa set, with throw, planter, cushions and crockery, all from the Spring/Summer 2022 range at Habitat.