When architects Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson set up their practice in Los Angeles, they found themselves a bit more than a stone’s throw from their native Iceland. But this clever kitchen in their family residence serves up a taste of home in fine fashion. Dramatic colors and textures evoking the Land of Fire and Ice include a matte black island wrapped in volcanic orange Corian and liquid rubber floating stair treads in a startling glacial blue. The entire exterior perimeter of the house is outlined by a border of lava rock.

Bold good looks notwithstanding, the design is also space-saving and planetfriendly. All finishes are non–off-gassing, and maple bar stools with backs made of recycled tires tuck neatly into the island when not in use. “The recycled rubber is great for kids and stands up to wear and tear,” says Ingjaldsdottir. The kitchen, which spills out onto a heated patio for outdoor dining, is oriented to capture daylight and breezes, thus reducing the need for artificial light and climate control. In late afternoon, the raw concrete floors absorb the sun’s warmth and store it for nighttime comfort.

Entrant/Architect: Minarc, Santa Monica, Calif.; Builder: Lannen Construction, Los Angeles

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.