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Neuroscience and kitchen design

October 17, 2008

Last week, I accepted the Simon Taylor Award for lifetime achievement in the kitchen industry. The Design Awards ceremony, held in London on October 7, was organised by Designer Magazine to recognise excellence in the British kitchen and bath industry. The Simon Taylor Award is presented to an individual who is judged to have made an outstanding contribution to kitchen and bath design.

 

I was asked about the design and position of the kitchen in the home of the future. My reaction to this was based on the role of neuroscience in design, a topic I have explored with John Zeisel, an American environmental sociologist.

We focused on identifying the key characteristics of living spaces that return well being – for the body and the brain. An example of the intersection of design and neuroscience is that different colours stimulate different parts of the brain, and designers can use a variety of colours to enhance mood in the spaces they create. Another example is designing a kitchen in such a way that builds in eye contact to increase sociability.

We are returning to our instincts in the need for light, connection to nature and recognition of sociability.
Last year, John and I wrote a paper on “happy kitchens.” This essay inspired Alison Beard, editor of the Financial Times House & Home section, to commission a piece from Catherine Moye entitled “All in the Mind.”

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