The Prospect of Kitchen Design and Technology
What will the kitchens of 2030 be like? If you are expecting some Jetson-esque smart appliances and automated cooking—you’re not far off.
Recently, several trade shows have featured concept kitchens that highlight the future of one of your favorite spaces in the home. The concept kitchens at Design and Construction Week and the International Consumer Electronics Show—both held in January 2015 in Las Vegas—focused on livability and streamlining for the busy lifestyle.
Futuristic Kitchen Design
Integrating livability, or universal design, means thinking through a design and approaching it with common sense. Some of this prediction is driven by the growing need for multi-generational design. The numbers of households that include several generations is growing at a rapid rate. This type of design must simultaneously cater to the elderly, children, and everyone in between.
Universal design is also very much about letting go of long-held kitchen design traditions that just don’t make sense. Homeowners are already beginning to question why they have to bend over to get dinner out of the oven—and they are ready to do something about it.
The kitchen of the future will incorporate many more user-friendly features:
• Multi-level countertops so everyone is comfortable using the kitchen
• Media worked into the design of the kitchen for an increasingly connected population
• Appliances moved to more accessible areas
• Less over-the-counter cabinetry for a more open and accessible work space
• Lighting that highlights the backsplash and puts light where it’s most needed
The goal with all of this is to bring functionality and beauty into the same space. It is possible for them to exist together. Talented designers spent so long bumping up style in the kitchen that the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. But designers are emphasizing a balance instead of one or the other.
Futuristic Gadgets for the Kitchen
Panasonic presented several gadgets for the kitchen of the future that stuck with the universal design theme. Just like a concept car, many of these gadgets will never make it into the market, but some of them will. Are you ready for the future?
Think of a cooktop without burners. You simply set the pot down anywhere on the surface and you’re off. This concept provides you with extra cooking surface and doesn’t limit you to specific sizes of pans.
Many people stay away from cooking because they don’t want to spend more than a few minutes in food prep. But you may be running out of excuses in the future. A self-stirring pot frees you up for other important duties so you’re not locked into that risotto for an hour.
Hate cooking in the summer? Or maybe you worry about little fingers finding their way to hot surfaces. Induction cooking was featured as a concept in the kitchen of the future. The surface doesn’t get flaming hot, but can grill a steak effortlessly.
The countertop is an important space that has been overlooked for far too long. It is finally starting to come out of hiding with universal design and elegant materials. Granite countertops became popular in the last couple of decades and are still going strong.
Natural stone is the perfect material of the future because it hits the mark with a balance between beauty and functionality. Quartz and natural quartzite are gaining popularity and quickly joining granite as a favorite kitchen countertop material.
Quartz surfaces are composite of 93% quartz and 7% resins and binders. They are tough and virtually maintenance-free. They come in several colors for excellent design flexibility.
Natural quartzite is harder than granite and resists scratching and chipping like a champ. They are more sensitive to etching and regular sealing is recommended to keep countertops looking good.
The Panasonic concept kitchen included a countertop feature that provides storage for small appliances beneath the counter with access through the top of the counter. This clears off the counter and provides more work space. Storage and work space will be major priorities in the universal kitchen of the future.
Future kitchens are moving out of the box—the icebox, that is. Instead of a traditional refrigerator, concept kitchens had refrigerated drawers that provided much better organization than traditional fridges. Drawers have better storage than cabinets and this change will make refrigerator storage more efficient.
Technology permeates every corner of your existence. Your future kitchen will embrace it whole-heartedly. From wireless appliances to high-end music systems, the kitchen will really be the center of the home.
Companies like Samsung and Panasonic create their products to interface with each other. That combined with the right apps and you’ll be able to do just about anything. You can play music in your kitchen from your phone or get recipe suggestions based on what’s in your fridge. Laptops, tablets, and phones will integrate seamlessly with your futuristic kitchen technology.
What would you like to see in your kitchen of the future? Join the conversation below to add your ideas.