What’s the kitchen of the future?

Increased adoption of ‘open’ kitchens, pressure on space, and variety in cooking methods are some challenges manufacturers and designers must face

The Ceramica kitchen style is characterised by Neolith ceramic shutters on aluminium frames that impart ruggedness and durability.

By: Rajesh Ahuja

Traditionally, kitchens have been private spaces where usually the women of the house prepared meals. Over the last few decades, however, kitchens have become social spaces where families spend time with each other and also entertain guests.

This has led to the concept of open kitchens, wherein the cooking space blends seamlessly into the living space, making it a talking point of any home. Manufacturers, architects and interior designers have to take into account these lifestyle changes, and due importance has to be given to the kitchen during space planning.

Not only should the kitchen be designed to be a space for cooking d storage, it must be conducive to socialising as well – and the look and feel has to complement the aesthetics of the rest of the house.

Increasing product awareness on account of travel abroad and exposure to various culinary styles from various countries has created a desire to experiment with different cooking styles and methods, apart from the food that is prepared on traditional gas stoves.

New materials

This necessitates the use of a variety of cooking appliances that can combine functionality with space-saving and aesthetics. There is steam cooking for health freaks, traditional ovens for roasting and baking, microwaves and ovens for quick heating and certain types of cooking. People want to experiment with all the choices!

Most European kitchens use particleboard for the carcass. Since Indian kitchens use too much of water for cooking and washing, most consumers and architects prefer plywood, which has higher water resistance than particle boards or MDF.

For counter-tops the widely accepted material in India remains granite, since it is easily cleanable, available in a wide range of colours and economical.

There are different shutter materials for kitchen cabinets like MDF, plywood, glass, acrylic, real wood, etc. Just like for carcass, plywood still remains a popular choice for base cabinets.

However, glass shutters are more frequently chosen for wall cabinets, as it is see-through for higher visibility, and reflects light, making the kitchen bright.

Another innovative material that is trending today is Neolith, which is being used for countertops as well as shutters. Developed in Spain and popular all over the world, it is low maintenance, scratch- and UV-resistant – but it does fall into the high-price category.

Magic solutions

As living spaces get smaller, the storage functionality has become very creative. There is zero wastage as every inch is used. Corner units like diagonal deep corner drawers have become a big hit with their clever design to use the available space. There is a special type of storage for everything these days.

You name it and it is there – plate holders, lid holders, canister organisers, innovative dustbin units, space towers, and cling-film dispensers, among many.

Add to this the technology of the likes of soft-close and Servo-drive automatic opening and closing, and you’re looking at the kitchen of the future.

There are different types of finishes like lacquer (PU painted), veneer, laminates in matt and gloss, glass and acrylic. Everybody offers these; but the difference is in the colours and textures.

Making the right combination of different finishes is also important, and an expert in design knows how to make a great combination. For example a combination of acrylic and textured laminate could make an awesome kitchen, but you should know how to match them!

Rajesh Ahuja

The writer is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Saviesa Homes, and a veteran of the modular kitchen industry in India with 25 years’ experience. He partnered with the pioneer, Mr SnehalVasani of Kitchen Grace, and later turned Sleek Kitchens into a widely accepted and acclaimed brand in the country.

 

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