If you have a “Kitchen Porn” board on Pinterest, and your idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon is drooling over showpiece ranges and luxe dishwashing drawers, then welcome to your new favorite place to go.
And, best of all, it won’t cost you a thing.
In the sleek, contemporary lobby of the new Fisher & Paykel Experience Center in Costa Mesa, visitors are welcomed with a cup of New Zealand’s famous kawakawa green tea and a tradition of kiwi hospitality. The thinking: If you can’t get to New Zealand, the famed high-end luxury appliance company will bring their products and the culture that inspires them to you. (How high end? There are no prices on the website.)
Located next door to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the 6,500-square-foot experiential showroom is designed to introduce builders, designers and consumers to the Fisher & Paykel brand through an immersive, sensorial experience by exploring the appliances in modern kitchen vignettes, attending cooking demonstrations and product training, and tasting New Zealand-inspired food, or kai, prepared by the center’s full-time chef, Rob Wilson, formerly the executive chef at Montage Laguna Beach.
At the heart of the both the showroom and the company philosophy is the Social Kitchen, an open space with a large communal table and well-designed culinary work spaces that encourage relaxed, informal gathering and socialization.
“Most people in North America know us for our refrigeration and for our DishDrawers,” said showroom manager Gina Lathrum, referencing the refrigeration solutions and dishwashing drawers that have earned the company accolades, “what they don’t know is the depth of cooking products we have available, and the different sizes and configurations.”
With an ambitious eye toward competing in the crowded premium market space alongside brands like Wolf, Sub-Zero, Thermador and Viking, the Center will showcase 108 appliances from Fisher & Paykel and the company’s outdoor kitchen collection, DCS. Products not physically available on site can be viewed virtually via life-size, interactive digital screens.
“There are so many decisions to make when you are designing a kitchen,” said Mark Elmore, general manager for design integration, “it can be overwhelming. We want to help simplify and streamline that process.”
One thing you can’t do at the Experience Center is make a purchase.
“We don’t sell directly out of the showroom,” said Lathrum, “we wanted a very non-pressured space. We want people to experience the products and then we can refer them to our retail network throughout Southern California.”
The Costa Mesa Experience Center
Where: 695 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and by appointment
Info: fisherpaykel.com, (855) 372-1934
Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome