The essential kitchen - getting back to basics
A casual and unexpected place to perch
What is the essence of a kitchen? Sociability and living comfortably, and then usable surfaces, storage, and cooking equipment. I have recently been thinking how we could get back to the kitchen’s core and what this might be.
Sociability is created by a) providing plenty of opportunities for eye contact and b) places to perch and relax that are built-in, sometimes in unexpected places and with different types of chairs or stools, for people of all abilities. And space for doing hobbies, laptop activity and general all round chilling, reading dancing or repairing a bicycle.
Surfaces – or the planes in the space, the table tops and countertops – matter a lot. They do the basic work organising the space, both directing us around it and structuring it. As well as delineating the room into spatial zones they generate light reflection. My current focus is to think in terms of tables, conjoined or not, replacing solid masses of cabinetry and central islands: this makes for a subtler, lighter variant of the traditional layout. By dispensing with a lot of units you can liberate your kitchen space and it will still work beautifully and leave more room for breathing, more physical space.
The best kind of storage is a large walk-in pantry. It also has the advantage of being cheap to make. Smaller items can be housed in drawers linked to surfaces, small tools hung from a gantry, with the remainder to hand on open shelves. Family furniture and collected bits and pieces add personal touches to this living kitchen.
In two of our recent projects, one open plan and the other a smaller integrated, living room kitchen, we used minimal cabinetry (walk-in pantries were embedded into the architecture), hidden but effective ergonomics and the quality of the artisan work gave both a sense of spaciousness and tactile pleasure.
AMERICAN WEST COAST DESIGN TALKS
I recently returned from speaking in five US cities to kitchen, interior designers and architects on The Kitchen Instinct. During my visit I noticed the economies in these cities are thriving, the optimism we associate with America still in evidence. I observed a continuing interest in new ideas, in particular the possibilities offered by digital technology.
I ended my tour talking to the Smart Kitchen Summit, on The Disrupting Kitchen, to an audience of tech experts in Seattle at SODO Park. The event consisted of informed discussion panels on a wide range of topics, all of which can be found on the website, www.smartkitchensummit.com; Here's my presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWKf6L6BMQ4
And thank you Seattle, Portland, Houston, LA and Scottsdale, including the team at Bond Events for your generous hospitality, enthusiasm and great feedback.
Financial Times article: 'Home kitchens reliving the 70's swing.' 'Graphic prints, bold colours and unusual textures are back, with a 21st-century twist.
Sunday Times piece on Felix Dennis: 'Pinball and pinups in Felix's house of fun'.
Country Life interior design inside stories released May 6th. Hawkhurst Kitchen featured.
Recent news and press
Now on the newstand - our Richmond kitchen (see Portfolio/UK) is featured in KBB Review in the April issue. It is shown on the front cover, as we show above.
William Sitwell, editor of Waitrose Kitchen invited Johnny on his Soho Radio. Tune in... www.mixcloud.com/sohoradio/biting-talk-with-william-sitwell-200115
http://www.adelto.co.uk/a-living-space-in-which-you-swim-cook-and-eat-by-johnny-grey/ Out of the box thinking.
Video of recent projects: Cambridge Pool House
Irish Times article: an end to identikit kitchens! Kitchens are not just labs for cooking - they need personality
Houzz article: kitchen of the week in Richmond (see our UK Portfolio)
Beautiful Kitchens Sourcebook: enjoy working in your kitchen - with soft geometry
Interior Design Today: an intuitive way with kitchens. (Scroll down to page 66)
Grand Designs: talking about woods (page 123)
Posted by Johnny on May 5th, 2016
1956 in a terraced house in Kensington and my mother decides she needs a proper-sized fridge for her growing family (three at that point, soon to be five). In post-war Britain fridges were small, furn...
Posted by Johnny on May 5th, 2016