When the regional winners representing Northern California and Hawaii were announced for the 2013-14  Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen Design Contest this June, all of us at Riggs Distributing Inc. were thrilled as our region had not one but two regional winners. Over 1,400 designs were submitted globally with each entry featuring one major Sub-Zero and one major Wolf appliance, the competition was fierce among the best of the best. We are thrilled to share the inspiring designs from our regional winners.

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One of these two winners, Monique Agnew, is a San Francisco based architect and is part of her own firm, Monique Agnew Architecture. Having worked with numerous residential and commercial projects on both coasts, and Aspen Colorado, she has previously worked for Ike Kligerman Barkley, Michael Graves, and Robert A.M. Stern. Monique became interested in architecture while working on archaeological sites in the Middle East and Africa during her time at the University of Maryland School of Architecture for her Bachelor’s degree in architecture. She continued her studies at Princeton University, receiving her master’s degree and accepting the Alpha Rho Chi award upon graduation. Monique grew up in the building industry through her mother’s work as a general contractor.

In our conversation with Monique, we asked about her insights into kitchen design:

Riggs: Where do you find design inspiration?

MG: I get a lot of energy of from contemporary art, especially sculptural work that utilize three dimensional programs to develop the piece. It makes me think anything is possible. Architecturally I’m inspired by many styles, but particularly clean Functionalist architecture from the 20s and 30s.

Riggs: How do you approach the design process?

MG: I start a project by listening to what the client goals are. It’s important to know at the beginning what the “must haves” are for a client in all aspects of the design. In the initial phase I’ll also do a lot of quick hand sketches with a client to go through different possible ways to achieve the design.

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Riggs: What makes your aesthetic stand out amongst other designers/architects?

MG: My work stands out because of how thoroughly I resolve the detailing of a project. In whatever style I happen to be working in it’s important that all the details are worked out seamlessly.

Riggs: What is the greatest value you provide your clients?

MG: I make sure the client gets the most out of the building process. By providing design options along the way the client gets exactly what they want and more.

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Riggs: What is your biggest challenge as a designer/architect?

MG: These days architects are expected to be nimble. The speed at which we communicate sets a high expectation, from how fast an idea can be integrated into a design to how fast that design then gets built.

Riggs: What does the Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen Design Contest mean to you?

MG: It’s an exciting way to get to see so many outstanding Kitchen designs in one venue. It’s also the first time I’ve won anything so it’s a real honor to participate.

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Riggs: What are some of the current design trends?

MG: Clients are not married to a particular design style; they want to combine different influences into a cohesive whole. They also want the latest gadgets integrated into their projects.

Riggs: Where do you see kitchen design going in the next five years?

AG: Kitchens are becoming more automated and programmable. We’ll be seeing even more smart features and not just in the appliances, like self-cleaning countertops and floors. Also, maybe not in 5 years but sometime in the future artificially intelligent robots will be making our meals for us.

Schedule and appointment at Riggs Distributing Inc. to learn how Sub-Zero and Wolf appliance can be the perfect fit in your own kitchen. See our list of events to learn more about Sub-Zero and Wolf. Want to see more designs, see them all on our Facebook page and give us a like!