“Very unconventional” are the words YSG Studio principal Yasmine Ghoniem uses to describe her Sydney studio. Drawing on her nomadic childhood and time spent in the Middle East, the designer seeks out a sense of adventure in her interiors as a way to find “a different solution to an everyday problem.”

YSG Studio’s latest project, the Fantales Kitchen, in collaboration with Laminex, takes a future-focused approach to what kitchen design looks like in 2021 and beyond. The nostalgia-tinted kitchen reflects a shift in how we live and how the spaces in our homes now intersect for relaxation, work and play. Named after the iconic Australian lolly, smooth caramel tones, textural wood grains, and pungent blues and reds capture an exploration of space, texture, colour and form, in a way that feels equally classic and current. 

In this kitchen closeup, we speak with Yasmine about carving out the ‘soul’ of a home, her sculptural experimentation with laminate and what the current times have taught her about design.

Produced in partnership with Laminex

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The Fantales Kitchen invites a warm and cosy experience through grounding ‘spice’ tones and textures. Yasmine says she sought these colour injections, that intend to bleed from the kitchen to the living and study zone. 

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YSG Studio set out to experiment with the dexterity of laminate as a material, as seen through the woodgrain finishes.

The Brief

Yasmine says the Fantales Kitchen had to step up to the demands we’ve placed on our homes in the past year and a half. As arguably the most hardworking space in the home, the kitchen needed to fulfil a brief for flexibility and durability through Laminex laminates. Described as ‘fit for purpose’, the kitchen accounts for new ways of dining, storage and places to cook and prepare food, while engaging in close dialogue with the adjoining living and study areas. “If the recent times that we are currently living in have taught me anything, it’s about being flexible, and that is really key moving forward into the world of residential design,” Yasmine says.

The Inspiration

The Fantale Kitchen’s design features come alive through Yasmine’s dreamlike descriptions; a space “dipped into a pot of sweet, warm caramel”, where petite round timber drawer pulls call on “caramel buttons”. “Blue summer skies” are revealed behind cabinetry doors, while the island bench was inspired by the hull of a wooden boat, to “float beautifully in the centre of the room”.

Yasmine credits painter Mark Rothko as a source of inspiration. The artist’s Colour Field paintings, “where multilayered tonal combinations and contrasts drive strong emotional reactions”. It’s also the practice of painting more broadly that Yasmine sees as closely aligned with her design process. “It’s like looking at a painting, flat on, going, “oh, it needs a bit of red out here in the corner’,” she says. “That’s literally how I look at an interior, more like a piece of art. You’re placing the colours where you think your eye’s going to jump next.”

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“I wanted to capture the essence of ‘afternoon delight’, that warm, cosy time of day when the sun filters into the home and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be, because the world seems to stop in that golden moment.”

 

– YSG Studio principal Yasmine Ghoniem

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YSG Studio selected an Oliveri sink and Astra Walker tap in a stainless steel finish.

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YSG Studio chose Laminex Moroccan Clay Natural finish from the 2021 Laminex Collection for the benchtop and curved splashback. Laminex Burnt Ochre was used for the cabinetry and post-formed handles. Each door-pull was crafted from MDF, shaped into its curved profile on a spindle moulder, sanded back and then laminated in a flow-through post-former.

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The Palette

The Fantales Kitchen taps into a soothing, grounding palette inspired by the natural world, as we do in times of uncertainty. “Earthy tones inspired by the warm shades of ochre, terracotta and sand are a key feature as are rich greens and bursts of sky blue which charge the space with energy and optimism,” Yasmine says. The designer selected ‘spicy’ new shades – Laminex Burnt Ochre and Moroccan Clay – from the 2021 Laminex collection that form the foundation of the kitchen. 

In the spirit of YSG Studio’s approach to design, Yasmine wanted to experiment with laminate as a material. “Choosing to explore more sculptural qualities with laminate was very purposeful. Our interiors are very sculptural. This was a great way to really illustrate the dexterity of this product,” Yasmine says. The Laminex Milkwood Natural finish and Danish Walnut Chalk finish impart organic tactility and pattern through this application while pushing boundaries through the curved and cantilevered island. “Allowing the textural appeal of woodgrain laminate to be fully appreciated, we mismatched tones and grains for a tapestry-like appeal on all the surfaces,” Yasmine adds.

Yasmine says the island is her favourite aspect of the kitchen “because it illustrates that the island doesn’t have to be a customary square, rectangular or capsule shape.” For “sass”, the chunky dowel footrail gives the impression of being out at a bar.

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Laminex Danish Walnut in a textured chalk finish forms the curved base of the bench’s cantilevered counter with a jigsaw connection anchoring the base to the eucalyptus-toned floors. A chunky dowel footrail and fixed custom stools give the feeling of sitting up at a bar. 

The Experience

The YSG Studio team set out to achieve a warm and cosy experience, feelings that Yasmine says stem from family life. “I wanted to capture the essence of ‘afternoon delight’, that warm, cosy time of day when the sun filters into the home, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be because the world seems to stop in that golden moment,” she says. A depth range in the space comes from working with more than one colour and letting the deeper block colours – Laminex Moroccan Clay and Burnt Ochre – define the L-shaped joinery. “The room has a cosy, cocooning vibe; I like to think of it as ‘ground spice’.  But the red and blue colour pops add a little street cred,” Yasmine laughs.

The Result

The Fantales Kitchen is as much a reflection of YSG Studio’s ‘think different’ approach to design as it is the diversity and flexibility of materials she worked with. “YSG interiors have a carved, sculptural appeal with gentle bulges, rounded edges and inter-connected spaces, and I’ve managed to achieve all this with the laminate to great effect,” Yasmine says. “Above all, I hope the kitchen encourages people to unleash their creative intuition – avoid a monochrome outcome and play around with colours to achieve complimentary clashes.”

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Choosing to explore more sculptural qualities with laminate was very purposeful. Our interiors are very sculptural. This was a great way to really illustrate the dexterity of this product.”

 

– YSG Studio principal Yasmine Ghoniem