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The kitchen is commonly referred to as the heart of home, and today is often the largest room in the house and one that people invest in. But what will it look like in 25 years?
On 10 November, Cosentino hosted a presentation and discussion at its Alexandria showroom, with leading industry experts providing insights about the kitchen of the future. Holly Cuneen, Deputy Editor of Habitus magazine, hosted the panel, which included Vanessa Feo Kutsch, Head of International Communications, Cosentino Group; Jacquelene Symond, Director, The Colour Agency; and Felix Halter, Chef Swiss Embassy, V-ZUG Brand Ambassador.
Vanessa Feo Kutsch, Head of International Communications, Cosentino Group
According to a report produced by Silestone Institute, the kitchen of the future will be a multifunctional, hyper-connected and health-focused space. Vanessa presented the results of the report, “Global Kitchen: the home kitchen in the era of globalisation,” which compiled the main design and usage trends for the future kitchen, looking at sustainability, health and wellbeing, technology and social evolution.
The Institute asked the opinion of 17 experts, including chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz and Gastón Acurio; Harvard anthropologist Richard Wrangham; architect Piero Lissoni; industrial designer Patricia Moore; and other notable figures in sociology, nutrition, technology and sustainability. It also carried out surveys at 842 points of sale in stores in eight countries across the world (Australia, Brazil, Spain, United States, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom and Sweden) to better understand the kitchen’s function in the home and trends in equipment and design. So what will that look like in 25 years?
The kitchen will be a hub of activity and gathering place in the home. Beyond cooking and food preparation, the kitchen will primarily be a space for family and friends to spend time together. It will also be a place for eating, and will function as a place to work (professional, school and surfing the internet). Specific to Australia, 74.2% of respondents said the kitchen would become more relevant as an activity and meeting place in the house. 100% believe it will be used as a space to spend time with family and friends; 90% as a space to eat in; and 58% to work, do homework or surf the internet.
The survey asked whether the kitchen would increasingly form part of an open space between the dining room and living room, and 67.7% Australian respondents agreed it would. This was a lower percentage than the accumulated global results, however it likely reflects that Australian architecture is more advanced, as the kitchen, living and dining area is often an open-plan space already.
Technological changes are undoubtedly going to affect kitchen design and use. Topping the list for Australian kitchens is faster and more efficient methods of cooking, and appliances and faucets that save energy and water, which reflect the Australian lifestyle and values. This will take the flexibility and sustainability of materials into account, while also ensuring durability, safety and hygiene.
Industry professionals also placed a high value on connectivity and smart appliances. Countertops will have functions and properties that allow consumers to cook directly on the countertop, to control appliances, connect to the internet and adjust the counter’s height and width. They may also be used to weigh food and ingredients, provide nutritional information, absorb liquids and self-clean. In essence, benchtops will become more intelligent and intuitive.
Felix Halter, Chef Swiss Embassy, V-ZUG Brand Ambassador
Chef Felix, who also catered the event, spoke about the crossover between professional and domestic kitchens and encouraged audience members to embrace technology. As the brand ambassador for V-ZUG, he spoke about the combi-steam cooker and its ability to cook food in a healthier and more efficient way. According to the results of Silestone Institute’s report, Australians want kitchens to be more time and energy efficient, and smart technology, such as the combi-steamer, can help achieve that.
Jacquelene Symond, Director, The Colour Agency
After flashing back to the futuristic kitchen of The Jetsons in the 1960s, specialist colour consultant Jacquelene spoke about human-centred design in the kitchen. This will become increasingly important to our health and wellbeing given the pace and stress of modern life and how it will continue to evolve. “The kitchen as the centre of the home will almost become a social responsibility for those designing it,” Jacquelene said. Kitchen designers will thus need to cater for an aging population, multiculturalism and a more educated population.
The panel concluded with a Q&A and questions from the audience. Holly asked how we design a multifunctional kitchen and the panel agreed that Australian designers are already doing so; it will be from a technology perspective that the shift will be seen. Vanessa elaborated about how some of these technologies already exist, but the issue is how the manufacturer integrates them into surfaces. It will also be the early adopters who help shift them from a customised to standard product. “Embrace technology!” Felix concluded.
Cosentino would like to thank Holly Cuneen, Deputy Editor of Habitus magazine for hosting the panel, along with our panelists Vanessa Feo Kutsch, Head of International Communications, Cosentino Group; Jacquelene Symond, Director, The Colour Agency; and Felix Halter, Chef Swiss Embassy and V-ZUG Brand Ambassador.