19 February 2020
The kitchen: the beating heart of any home. It’s not just a place for meals, it’s a place for getting together, laughing, getting cross and making up, working, relaxing, studying and falling in love … for living, basically. This is why in the future (but actually as of today), it will no longer be shut off or isolated from the rest of the house but will be an organic, fluid and flexible space – a place into which the living room faces and from which the appliances take a step closer to the outside world, a space designed to meld fluidly with the other parts of the home.
This will trigger a huge design revolution. Custom designing this space, taking care of the tiniest detail, taking on board the demands of a family as a whole, being mindful of looks and functionality (or rather, multifunctionality) and also all those emotional factors that will make the space destined for conviviality and wellness is, and will be, crucial.
Inevitably, the race is on for the most up-to-date technology, which will allow us to restock our kitchens and cook differently – connectivity, ‘smart’ devices, if not Artificial Intelligence, will not just make our online purchasing and food preparation simpler, they will shape a whole new way of relating to the environment around us, allowing us to cook, telephone, look at our computers or watch TV by simply touching the worktop. Kitchen living will thus be an opportunity for social interaction, dynamic and entertaining – we will be able to share recipes, swap tips and comment on them on social media, all from the same platform.
These factors will ensure that the new kitchens will become organisms that take on a life of their own, able to transmute and recreate ad hoc solutions according to need. The modern domestic hearth – the island – will see its role as a social aggregator and dispenser of essential needs change and increasingly become the live, beating heart of the space – units that look compact and impenetrable will reveal their multiple functions, as needed – from hyper-equipped laboratories of taste to contemporary family tables.
As it evolves into a single space, base units will be pressed increasingly into service; becoming deeper to make for easier working; elegant, versatile wall units or central islands will help integrate as well as mark out the different areas, foldaway kitchens for smaller spaces will make a comeback, and here too there will be no lack of wow effect. Particular attention is being devoted to kitchen finishes and to colour, with black&white no longer the order of the day but giving way to nature-inspired hues. We will see a combination of matte and glossy shades in alternating neutral shades and bright colours. Even gold.
Needless to say, domestic appliances will become increasingly connected, integrated, hyper-efficient and safe, intuitive and energy-saving. We will see fridges with transparent glass panels that enable us to see what’s inside and with display functions for recipes and videos, as well as food storage tracking to alert us to products nearing their expiry dates or running low, which they can then order online themselves; ovens will be able to judge the best cooking times for different types of food, without so much input; and there will be refrigerated units for home food deliveries. There will be a continuous flow of data, guaranteeing the seamless integration of all the appliances. This means that fridges and ovens will be able to “talk to each other” – the former will identify the available ingredients and the latter will come up with a selection of potential recipes. Professionalism and multifunctionality will also improve in terms of conserving and cooking food using the same techniques and technology as those available to star chefs. We will see domestic appliances that respect and maintain the nutritional properties, consistencies, flavours, colours and smells of food, balancing temperature, humidity and power.