Redefining kitchen design – new world technology and old world values
Every day new technology provides us with faster and better ways of impacting all aspects of our lives; we cannot live without these new advances, yet the complexity of it all had made us yearn for the simplicity of what came before.
The “Connected Home” has become a fashionable buzzword. There is a greater connection on so many levels – connection to technology, connection to the earth and connection to one another. And with the kitchen becoming the embraced hub of this connectivity, kitchen design has never been more exciting.
We are utilizing technology and innovation, seamlessly incorporating the most fundamental use of the kitchen; domestic is back in style and kitchens are multi-functional. It’s no longer just a kitchen. It’s a Live-Kitchen, Social-Kitchen, Smart-Kitchen, Working-Kitchen, and Family-Respect-for-Food Kitchen. And most importantly, we are ‘Living’ in the kitchen.
As we all know, the faster life gets, the more important ‘time’ becomes. With clever kitchen design, we are more conscious of how we use this meaningful space. We are returning to the kitchen, and with purpose. Fast food is out, and thoughtful slow cooking is in. We are growing our own produce, whether in gardens, planters, or window pots. We are spending time in this redefined room, sharing conversation, food preparation, cooking and living together.
This year, at the trade show Eurocucina in Milan, evidence of this direction in kitchens was consistently featured by all the industry leaders. Trends supporting kitchens that are adaptable and conducive to socializing were seen throughout. Kitchen islands, expanding into tables or sliding open exposing grills and cooktops with seating around allowing for communal and collaborative cooking. The overarching theme was being able to cook while entertaining and socializing with friends and family within the space. Styles were comfortable, welcoming and uber-functional.
Fresh herbs and micro greens, artfully and organically displayed on decorative shelving, beneath LED lighting, took the gardening trend to a new level by encouraging food preparation of home-grown produce, even if natural light is limited within your space.
And installations of LED lighting was shining its light in expected and unexpected spaces. Strip channel lighting within cabinetry gables and open shelving, illuminating the insides of drawers and activated upon opening, or by remote. Creative lighting to feature transparent shelving that appeared invisible, sporting colour blocked cookware that seemed to be magically floating within the cabinetry. The beauty of this application was that the décor was actually everyday used items; practical and tastefully placed.
The predominant trend, however, was the resourceful use of vertical space within the kitchen, allowing this multi-functional room to remain steam-lined and uncluttered looking, yet filled with all of the necessities of a kitchen. In particular, kitchen backsplashes were being used as stylish storage, with sliding doors, or motorized panels concealing and revealing, dishes, utensils, pantry items and small appliances – all beautifully organized, easily accessible, and out of sight when not in use. While most only used the minimal depth along the back of the counter, other systems retracted down, within the back depth of lower cabinets. An inventive use of space that’s typically difficult to reach.
And lastly, cutting-edge technology is taking the modern kitchen to a whole new level. With the installation of reactors in an over island hood, which automatically interface the countertop below, kitchen islands are being transformed. With the touch of a finger, activate induction cooking, select temperatures, operate small appliances, connect to online resources, read mail, watch cooking videos, charge electronic devices and so much more! Imagine a kitchen island that can cook and chill food, and then when not in use becomes a normal countertop, without any external knobs – innovation at its best… and easy to keep clean!
It’s so inspiring to see this blending of ideology that will enhance lifestyle, our connectivity and allow the next generation of kitchens to be innovatively designed and lived-in organically and purposefully.
JANICE FEDAK is a Designer, Trend Researcher and Speaker. She has a diverse background in Colour & Design and creates impactful and artistic residential, commercial and retail spaces.
She is the owner of Janice Fedak, Colour & Design in Toronto and shares her forecasts and inspiring insight through her training seminars, presentations, and design consultations across North America.