The Kandya Trimma kitchen. Designed by Frank Guille – but did it inspire IKEA?

I love cooking, which also means I’m partial to a kitchen.  Often the antiques I buy are kitchenalia.  This particular large “kitchenalia” item I won’t be buying, (auction here – ends 17th April 2016 – at 18:51 BST, was a snip ay £109 when I posted this)  but I think the design is fab.

1950's Kandya Kitchen
1950’s Kandya Trimma Kitchen currently on eBay in the West Midlands (as of publication date)

It looks in great condition for something that has been in use for half a century (so I suppose more vintage than antique).    It is by Kandya, (A Middlesex firm – although I wonder if they manufactured in High Wycombe?)  and was the Trimma design by Frank Guille, inspired by his passion for 1940’s and 1950’s Scandinavian makers.   The principals behind the Trimma kitchen were a precursor of the fitted kitchen we buy now in diy stores.

I have very vivid memories of sitting on the kitchen worktop in the 1960’s watching my mum make breakfast for my brother and sister before they went to school. I don’t think it was this design, but it has the feel of it.

Most of these were fitted in the 1950’s and 1960’s – and ripped out in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  So this is an increasingly  rare chance to get your hands on so much of it and so complete. Indeed his works appears in very grown up places – like this Trimma unit listed by Bonhams.

Trimma Unit courtesy of Bonhams
Trimma Unit courtesy of Bonhams

Loads of people love them.  Jane Foster blogs  about breathing some new life into some Trimma units which she bought at a car boot in Brighton. Made Good deals in them – and adds loads of similar furniture to their home. Dana in Fort Worth in Texas also sells his pieces. As she tells us

From 1960 to 1992, Guille was at the Royal College of Art, first as a lecturer, then as a senior lecturer and finally as head of the Furniture Design department.

But the  most fascinating post is from the Baseline blog – who visited Frank at his home in 2011. (the picture below is their copyright)

Frank Guille Designer - picture copyright Baseline blog
Frank Guille Designer – picture copyright Baseline blog

They were really inspired by meeting him:

His holistic approach to design and quality was evident and present in the day-to-day objects and furniture throughout his home –designed and produced by Scandinavian designers such as Hans Wegner, Erik Magnussen, Tapio Wirkkala, Iittala, Ikea –– simple, minimal and functional a house was full of inspiration.

It’s fascinating that they say he was inspired by IKEA –  they didn’t start producing furniture until the late 50’s. Who knows, perhaps IKEA were inspired by his designs.

One last thing… Why am I writing about this in a a Birmingham antiques blog?  Well it caught my eye – you can see why….


and as a child of the sixties this design is very evocative fro me.  is that good enough a reason, I think so but also the auction is in Shropshire and I’m interested in anything within about 50 miles of Britain’s finest landlocked second city.

Update – it sold for £1111.11  – funny number!


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