How will the kitchen of the future look like? It will be invisible!
The overall tendency is moving towards smaller living spaces, with the challenge of making them more flexible and multifunction.
Analyzing what was on display at Milan Design Week 2018, the answer is quite extreme: a totally invisible kitchen.
When not in use, all the elements that make a kitchen disappear, leaving an unsuspected space where kitchen and living blend perfectly.
But how to create an invisible kitchen? Let's go in order...
One of the most invasive kitchen appliances is certainly the fridge. Not anymore.
In an invisible kitchen, the fridge is integrated into a built-in to blend with the surroundings.
Would you have said that one of the doors below is actually a fridge?
In open-plan kitchens, faucets can be another visually disturbing element.
But now there are innovative push/pull faucets that can be lowered when not in use. Even more, there exist options that allow concealing the entire sink cavity. These go from manually sliding a cover over the sink, to motorized systems that read gestures and trigger the sink base to move up and down automatically.
Both methods leave with a larger surface that can be used for functions other than cooking.
Hoods are another definitely chunky item in a kitchen.
But – in the kitchen of the future – the hood sits flush with the worktop and can be raised with a motorized system only when needed, doubling as backsplash and task light.
Alternatively, there are hoods that don’t even need to be raised (my favourite). Their suction power is incredible and it effectively traps cooking smokes directly from the pan.
How to make kitchen cabinets disappear? What if they became a design feature?
It’s the case of these wooden cubes that – extending into a wall niche – create hidden storage while dressing the wall as an art piece.
And voilà, an invisible kitchen becomes decorative at the same time!
In the design of a hidden kitchen, the whole concept of worktop deserves a separate point, as it goes a long way in integrating kitchen and living spaces seamlessly.
Worktop space, cooking area, dining table, desk… all of these functions can happen on the very same surface! Induction technology is what makes it possible. In particular, induction areas get hidden under the worktop level, making the actual hob totally invisible.
And here you have it: open-plan kitchen, dining room, home office (and even retreat for your cat) all in one place!
A word on safety. Since induction technology heats the pan while burners stay cool, these worktops can securely be used as dining table or desk.
Open-plan kitchens are always a great solution when the available space is very limited. And there are also some extra-small-scale options to achieve an invisible kitchen.
At Milan Design Week 2018, the Japanese Sanwa Company has presented this fully equipped mini-kitchen.
When not in use, the faucet is folded down and the whole worktop closed with a cover. All is left is a handy desk, that can even be adjusted in height!
Invisible kitchens may not be a choice for everyone. But for sure, they make the most of the available space. And when that's limited, this can result in an overall more liveable home!