Designers are applying architectural principles and technological features to create kitchens that are as big on function as visual statement.
Kitchens, today, are more sophisticated, state-of-the-art and versatile. But what does it take to design a commercial kitchen, which maximises space, provides an ergonomic area and does not require high maintenance? “Clever zoning, sound control and a cohesive spatial approach are all key factors, while designing commercial kitchens,” says Matthias Hemeier, manager, SieMatic division at Mac Al Gurg.
The size of a restaurant kitchen should be proportional to the size of the restaurant or to the number of seats in the restaurant. While this may differ depending on the concept of the restaurant, having an appropriate-sized kitchen greatly improves efficiency.
Contemporary kitchens have evolved to become better integrated with the rest of the interiors. Updates in technology, right from kitchen furniture to gadgets and even smaller details such as door hinges, have influenced these spaces and the way they are designed.
The latest VVD kitchen by Dada, part of the Molteni&C Group, showcases the modern kitchen evolution with great flourish. Created by renowned Belgian designer Vincent Van Duysen, who brings an architectural approach to the project, the collection is an amalgamation of technical finesse, functionality and understated design details.
Van Duysen reinterprets the recessed handle detail in a modern and sophisticated key, working on the contrast between the slim side and end units and the considerable thickness of the worktops, interrupting the linear worktop with stone sink bowls. Large pull-out trays, open-ended drawers and under-top trolleys enhance the utilitarian aspect, without compromising on the aesthetics. Discreet details such as the built-in LED strip light, and the innovative pivot hinge that allows the door to open 180°, making the internal space more usable, are some of the features that highlight the ergonomically-influenced design of the kitchen.
Van Duysen places much importance on safety in kitchens too. “Protection is something very important that we all need and that is something that I translate into all my projects – architectural and design work,” he says, emphasising the connection between ergonomics and safety in kitchens.
TESTBED FOR TECHNOLOGY
Kitchens are increasingly becoming one of the prominent interior spaces for new technological innovations. From appliances to fixtures, new trends are transforming kitchens not just visually, but also functionally.
“At SieMatic, we’ve merged technical advances with design, leading to cutting-edge concepts. With users becoming increasingly used to charging devices in the kitchen, we’ve incorporated USB ports within the drawers,” says Hemeier.
The German kitchen brand has also introduced such features as electronic opening, creating hands-free door solutions, as well as a patented light rail, which offers multiple lighting functions with easy configurations and control.
EXPERIMENTING WITH STYLE
Following the bathroom trends closely, kitchen designs too have been exhibiting a penchant for new colours on fixtures. In addition to matt black, Hemeier says that brushed aluminium surfaces are the newest trend. “Gold bronze or nickel are being used widely as accent colours. Another trend is continuous grain matches in veneers especially for kitchen islands,” he says.
Apart from colours, designers are also experimenting with new materials and textures, in a departure from conventional typologies. While granite has long been the preferred choice for kitchen countertops, recently other contenders such as Quartz have been dominating the space.
Italian manufacturer Boffi’s K collection has been reinventing kitchen design for years. Its latest edition, K21, designed by German designer, Norbert Wangen, offers more customisation possibilities, with new wall solutions, finishes and additions to the upper units panelling system, as well as wooden peninsulas, all fitted with ergonomic features. “The K21 model is distinguished by functionality and absolute harmony. Due to its versatile design, it can be used in both domestic environments and public areas,” says Wangen.
“Kitchens are becoming more of an extension of our lifestyle. A lot of attention goes into the design of these spaces and the selection of finishes and furnishings right from lighting to flooring, cabinetry and countertops. Global trends for 2018 indicate that designers and customers are experimenting rather than sticking to safe staples and neutrals. Owing to its durability and style, Quartz is becoming more in vogue when it comes to countertops,” says Eddy Abou Khalil, general manager, Cosentino Middle East. “There also seems to be a shift in preference towards matte over glossy finishes.”
While warm wood tones and stainless steel continue to be widely used in kitchen cabinetry, this year’s trends reveal concrete as one of the popular choices for those inclined towards industrial surfaces. Snaidero’s minimalist, handle-free cabinets signal the same architectural approach as seen in the VVD kitchen by DADA. Modular styling with flexible ways to mix and match the various components is another prevalent design trend, especially important for commercial kitchens, where the space may need to be periodically reconfigured to accommodate any changes to the menu or the dining concept.
With many restaurants making kitchens the focal point of their interior, it becomes even more pertinent to showcase it as an extension of the rest of the space and brand. Spatial architecture aside, the sheer availability of materials, styles, colours and textures, make kitchens a design highlight on their own within any project.