‘The Essential Kitchen’ with Kevin Henry: Exploring the Boundaries Between Space and Functionality

With space at a premium, imagine a kitchen without boundaries or barriers, an environment free from conventional thought and restrictions, a kitchen created to successfully achieving the delicate balance between form and function reflect the needs and lifestyle of the modern homeowner. 

The new “kitchen matrix” allows for maximum usage of space with the focus on utilization and optimization of the interiors and exposed work areas, allowing the homeowner, apartment dweller or loft inhabitant to maximize the usage of the space at hand. Like the Roman God Janus, who could see the past and future at the same time, the modern kitchen is centered on the duality of purpose and space.

The new approach to kitchen design is to challenge the way we look at space, so we may better understand the problem. As designers, we must move away from a one-dimensional approach to kitchen design and began to think of the kitchen as a multi-dimensional canvas. The static, cluttered, restricted and unchanging kitchen of the past must now evolve into a living stage, a place where it is possible to create an environment that alters old beliefs about space and structure and infuse new concepts that reflect the needs of today’s modern homeowner.

Today’s kitchen has grown far from its primary function of food preparation to that of “the social center of the home”. In the modern kitchen, the family, both nuclear as well as tribal, still gathers to share, rejuvenate and commune together, but the walls have come down and this once hidden and secluded place is now part of a larger social arena. It serves as a meeting place, a dinning room, a home-office, a place to do homework; it can even serve as a hide away for quite reflection, as well as a place to gather for family fun and social entertaining.

The modern kitchen, in its new domestic role, finds itself reflecting a family lifestyle based on the sharing of traditional roles and functions. The living area embraces the kitchen as a multifunctional arena, were food is prepared, people talk, homework is finished and where family and friends sit by a modern hearth to bath in the warmth of community.

Today’s kitchen is open to the rest of the home, and as such, the kitchen now must function on several levels, from food preparation to social interaction, from entertainment center to living-room. More furniture, than cupboards, the modern kitchen must blend seamlessly into the living areas of the home,

(Kevin Henry is the Executive VP of Bazzeo LLC as well as a writer, speaker and environmental activist. He can be reached at kevin@bazzeo.com or you can read his blog at www.theessentialkitchen.blogspot.com)