Study Probes ‘Kitchen of the Future’

TORONTO — The kitchen, besides cementing its traditional role as the “nerve center” of the home, is destined to become a multifunctional space, disappearing as an independent room as it evolves into “a hyper-connected space for leisure, work, health, relaxation and well-being.”

That’s the key conclusion of the “Global Kitchen Report,” an extensive international study examining the major global design and usage trends expected to impact kitchens in terms of usage, design, products and features over the next 25 years (see related Editorial, “Getting ‘Smart’ About the Home“).

The study, conducted by the Silestone Institute of surfacing supplier Cosentino, was unveiled this summer during presentations in Toronto and Montreal, and featured the perspectives of renowned architects, interior designers, professors and celebrity chefs. More than 800 kitchen and bath design professionals from eight countries (Australia, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain, Sweden and the U.S.) participated in the survey, according to Cosentino.

The study concluded, among other findings, that the kitchen will “regain its traditional title as the center of the home, a title that has been slowly stripped away over the decades.”

The Silestone Institute forecasted that in 25 years the kitchen will be “a social and health-focused space (spurred on by the spread of healthier cooking methods, home-grown or zero-mile produce); a place for connecting with others (socializing, working, etc.) and with homeowners’ surroundings.

“The kitchen’s transformation will require input from architecture and interior design professionals, sociologists, nutritionists, and environmental and energy efficiency specialists,” Cosentino said.

Other key findings of the study were as follows:

  • Efficiency, Flexibility and Sustainability: When it comes to designing kitchens, “the efficiency and energy efficiency, flexibility and sustainability of materials will all be considered, without compromising their durability, safety and hygiene,” Cosentino said. “Countertops of the future will allow us to cook directly on their surfaces, incorporate connectivity and serve as a control panel,” the company noted, adding that “these countertops will also manage tasks like weighing and calculating the nutritional value of food, absorbing liquids and cleaning.”
  • Connectivity: The kitchen’s connection to the internet and devices (tablets, mobiles, computer, wearables, smart appliances and the like) “stands out as one of the major technological developments in the medium to short-term (future), ahead of sustainable solutions in water and energy conservation and waste management,” Cosentino said.

“The rapid advancement of technology, connectivity and smart appliances will make not only shopping, cooking and laundry easier, but also [assist with] the relationship with [people’s] surroundings, enabling us to use the countertop to cook, make phone calls and even watch television,” Cosentino said.

“This will professionalize the space, either through greater access to equipment that until now has only been available in the catering sector, or by expanding knowledge and the growing interest in food, nutrition and foodie culture,” the company concluded. 

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