I love the look and feel of a kitchen with open shelving. But it really only works as beautifully as seen in a magazine if you have a curatorial approach to the items in your kitchen. For those people who don't simply live off of Illy coffee and artisanal honey the thought of having all the goods exposed can be a little daunting. I like this system from the Italian kitchen systems designer Dada . This gives you that same aesthetic, with the option to hide things away. ie: if company is coming by and you don't have time to make sure all of your labels are facing forward, and your Tigger Mug is concealed behind your set from the MoMa gift store.
There are a lot of great details in this kitchen system, is is designed to the millimeter and it shows. One unique feature is the shallow shelving below the full depth cabinetry allows you to access the commonly used cookware items (which often look great exposed) but still give you the tidier option of pulling down the translucent covers. I like that it will just hint at the geometry of whats behind. It is also lit from the inside so it creates a really nice ambient light at night.
You could get a similar effect with frosted glass cabinet doors, but I think the appeal of open shelving is the clean horizontal plane it creates, and the fact that items are in sight and at hand when you want them. To get a similar effect, with a smaller price tag , you could install a shallow storage area below the cabinetry, concealed by a translucent material like 3form, that would slide horizontally rather than down into the counter-top, or hinge up like a garage door and stick magnetically bottom side of the shelving and cabinetry above. It could be really helpful in a small kitchen where counter top clutter makes the space feel even tighter, though for now my future fantasy kitchen will absolutely involve 13' high ceilings, plenty of light, and two cognac leather Arne Jacobson Chairs.