The Unfitted Revival: a move to simpler, more democratic kitchens
Updated: May 2
Our new design ‘coalition’ between freestanding furniture and built-in pieces – in other words, a modern update on the unfitted kitchen – is being finalized in our UK studio now for Decorex, an interior design show in London (September 29- Oct 3rd). Custom-made pieces that fit the unique dimensions of each client’s space will be balanced by freestanding furniture whether, vintage, recycled or off-the-peg. We want our kitchens to be relaxed, well-furnished rooms where you feel at ease.
When I first developed the idea of the unfitted kitchen in 1984, it was a protest against rigid, wall-based counters in a single finish. The new, modern unfitted kitchen is a negotiated settlement between the two. The truth is that it’s hard to use only freestanding pieces to make a highly efficient culinary centre, but it can be done with size-specific pieces. What’s new to our current design thinking is that the social activities of eating, gathering around and multi-tasking on the table are now considered of equal importance in terms of space allocation. The civilizing aspects of good interior design need to be hard wired into the ergonomics.
We see the customer as a joint designer and collaborator, not just for supplying their personal requirements for the brief, but also assisting us with all aspects of the décor and finding vintage pieces we can incorporate at the heart of the design. The end result should not feel like a visit has taken place by a kitchen cabinet salesman, more like a passing ergonomist who is a space provocateur with a secret interest in long lunches and a passion for art. That does not mean in-your-face design from our end. Our furniture should give pleasure but be modest and easy to live with. Our plate rack prototype below illustrates our intentions.
Tell us what you think about our conspicuous, non-consumptive approach to kitchen design.