Pace, pleasure, provenance. Three words that sum up the Slow Food movement, which currently attracts 80,000 people and food producers worldwide. The manifesto, written by founder Folco Portinari in 1989, offers much sage advice that can be applied to how we live in and use our kitchens.
The insidiousness of doing everything in a hurry particularly diminishes the pleasure of cooking. Designing a kitchen to ensure you expend care while prepping and cooking is one of our studio’s key philosophies and easily applied to all kitchen design. We describe this as creating a sense of order by using ‘dedicated work surfaces’. We limit the length of surface to single tasks with connected storage for tools and height of counters, sequencing activities to a different piece of furniture or location where there is logical flow or body movement. This leaves space on the fringes of the culinary zone for French doors into the garden, a friendly piece of furniture, perhaps an antique dresser, a bigger table, rocking chair or a fireplace.
We encourage pre-meal activities as a sociable process so that you can chat with others whilst you cook, look out the window, listen to music or simply pause for a moment without a cupboard or wall three inches from your nose. We therefore locate cooking and prepping facing into the room so that eye contact is possible, ensuring that ‘suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from (those) who mistake frenzy for efficiency’ quoting from the Slow Food manifesto.
The pleasure of eating is enhanced by the expectations and beauty of the food when arranged and laid out before eating. We provide a raised food bar or servery, narrow and long, that is easily accessible to the cook and the prospective diners. It can also serve as a buffet point for self-assembly meals with small bowls of different preparations or performs as a leaning post for visitors to chat holding a glass of wine, with the option of perching below on a high stool.
Provenance so important to food, applies equally to physical things. Knowing where your furniture is made, being able to see it constructed, using eco-sourced materials, good craftspeople and in preferably smaller, well-managed workshops, applies the Slow Food principles to the making of things.
You need someone to bring all this together and ensure the kitchen space creates well-being and this is where the ethical designer steps in. Its where design can work its magic in tune with the new mood of the times, inspired so appropriately by the Slow Food movement.