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Ikea Elevated: Kitchen Cabinet Fronts Made of a Surprise Sustainable Material

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Ikea Elevated: Kitchen Cabinet Fronts Made of a Surprise Sustainable Material

January 11, 2019

Who knew bamboo could look this good? Of late, we’ve seen an array of cabinet fronts designed to elevate Ikea kitchens. Ask og Eng’s of Oslo, Norway, are our latest favorites—and among the only to approach the challenge with high-style green design in mind.

Like so many small workshops, owners Kine Ask Stenersen and Kristoffer Eng tell us they discovered their corner of the market by creating something for themselves.”When we were renovating the kitchen in our first apartment, we were both very specific about what we wanted,” says Kine. Unable to find “beauty, functionality, and sustainability,” all at an affordable price, they decided to build what they were after.

It helped that Kristoffer is an architect. Kine, meanwhile, has a background in environmental geography. She’s the one who suggested applying bamboo fronts to Ikea cabinets. The idea worked, and several moves—and kitchens later—in 2016, they opened their workshop Ask og Eng, specializing in kitchens and accessories all of bamboo that’s been converted into wood-like panels. They offer bespoke services as well as an extensive line of fronts made for Ikea cabinets. Join us for a look at the latter—and stay tuned for more.

Photography courtesy of Ask og Eng.

 Kine and Kristoffer are currently in the process of setting up a big new studio and showroom in Oslo. Ask og Eng incorporates their two last names and translates as &#8
Above: Kine and Kristoffer are currently in the process of setting up a big new studio and showroom in Oslo. Ask og Eng incorporates their two last names and translates as “Ash and Meadow,” which Kine points out, “says something about what our ideology is based on.”

Bamboo Fronts for Ikea Cabinets

Ask og Eng&#8
Above: Ask og Eng’s A Collection is a group of handmade bamboo cabinet fronts designed to fit Ikea’s Metod cabinet system. They offer four handle options—three cut-out designs as well as reveal pulls—and eight finishes that give bamboo a surprising range of guises. The Stone finish, shown here, accentuates the vertical graining.
Ask og Eng&#8
Above: Ask og Eng’s Bean finish is dark brown with “subtle grain stripes that shimmer and change in the light.” All of the company’s Ikea fronts are sanded smooth, treated with pigmented oil, and then sealed with hard wax oil from Osmo to make them water- and spill-resistant. Because countertops are heavy and costly to ship, most customers source their own locally.
All of the finish names are borrowed from land and sky; this one is called Soil.
Above: All of the finish names are borrowed from land and sky; this one is called Soil.

The couple get their bamboo from “certified plantations” in Asia that follow responsible business practices. Not only sustainable but durable, bamboo is actually a grass that grows significantly faster than trees (it typically matures in four to six years, vs. 50-plus years for trees, and after being harvested, it grows back). “During growth, bamboo absorbs more CO2 than is released during production, which makes it CO2 neutral over the complete lifecycle,” explain the couple on their website. “And it flourishes without pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers.”

To achieve the horizontal Grain finish, shown here, the bamboo is &#8
Above: To achieve the horizontal Grain finish, shown here, the bamboo is “hard pressed, a procedure that leaves beautiful flowing streaks.” In the workshop, the fronts are “oiled with a hint of gray to ease the warm tones.”

All of Ask og Eng’s prices are on request. Kine and Kristoffer say a set of cabinet fronts for a small kitchen project averages €3,560, a medium runs €4,770, and a large kitchen is approximately €6,450. They currently only ship their fronts throughout Europe, but are open to requests.

À la Carte Kitchen Furnishings

Ask og Eng also offers a few smaller designs that make use of every scrap of bamboo. &#8
Above: Ask og Eng also offers a few smaller designs that make use of every scrap of bamboo. “We try to think about sustainability in every step of the process, and throwing away as little as possible is a key part of that,” says Kine, who notes that they can ship smaller items all over. The A9 Box Shelf, a slim storage alternative to over-the-counter cabinets, includes a brass hanging bar and can be made in custom sizes.
Designed to &#8
Above: Designed to “keep your glassware, plates, and other necessities in close perimeter,” the All Basic Shelf comes in three sizes and finishes.
Like all of Ask og Eng&#8
Above: Like all of Ask og Eng’s designs, the A3 Dining Table is made of bamboo; it has a gracefully thin top.
The table&#8
Above: The table’s three finishes include Snow, shown here. Tour Ask og Eng’s studio in progress and keep up with the couple’s latest on Instagram @askogeng.

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