Functionality and Social Networks Are Driving Kitchen Design


What’s in store for the future of kitchen design? Cosentino Group’s soon-to-be-released Global Kitchen Study hints at what we can expect—namely functionality, storage, and the growing impact of social media. The international research initiative—first developed by Silestone Institute in 2016 and driven by Cosentino—explores the evolution of the kitchen and its influence in the realms of architecture, technology, and health and wellness.  

Findings from the latest study, Global Kitchen: The Kitchen, the Heart of the Home, will be presented tonight during an event at the Manhattan City Center Showroom. The report marks the second in the Global Kitchen project, building on the original study, The Domestic Kitchen in the Era of Globalization. Research points to the kitchen’s regained position as an inviting, communal space that influences design choices throughout the home. 

“As the central core of the home, the kitchen is also the space that most explicitly reflects the changes and social transformations we are experiencing: It is an everyday indicator that projects our lifestyles, who we are, how we behave and how we evolve,” notes Francisco Martínez-Cosentino Justo, president of Cosentino Group, in the study’s introduction.

To create the study, researchers examined survey responses from 4,500 people in eight countries plus the Scandinavian region, as well as questionnaire responses from Cosentino’s Facebook community. To further contextualize the data, 23 distinguished experts drew on their respective disciplines to offer input, ranging from architects and interior designers to internationally renowned chefs and food historians. Countries and areas surveyed include: Australia, Canada, Italy, the region of Scandinavia, Singapore, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

While significant technological changes in the kitchen are still to come—respondents do not utilize smart-home technology widely yet—social media is making an impact in terms of the way people eat and design their homes. The study also notes a push toward kitchens designed to optimize function and comfort with sustainability and health and wellness in mind.

Here are some highlights from the study that illustrate how the kitchen reflects social changes and transformations:

—62.5 percent of respondents named functionality as the priority when renovating or redesigning their kitchen—surpassing other considerations such as cost savings, quality, or durability of materials, and design aesthetic.

—More than half of respondents—54.5 percent—use social networks for design inspiration when renovating or redecorating.

—Storage spaces and countertops are highly-valued elements in kitchen design. In terms of countertop composition, in the UAE and Spain, natural stone countertops are more common, while in the UK and Scandinavian countries, laminate countertops are more prevalent. Design choices also are heavily impacted by installations, such as those involving vents, water, and sanitation elements, as well as the spatial triangle between the stove, sink, and fridge. 

—The smart-home trend is not widely implemented yet, as 45.3 percent of respondents surveyed said they do not interact with any devices in their house using their mobile phones. Among users who do use their phones to interact with devices, television tops the list, followed by alarms and security cameras. Smart-technology has yet to majorly impact the kitchen.

—Sustainability is a mounting concern and the kitchen is a space that shows the breadth of efforts put in place to curb consumption. According to the survey, 35.4 percent of respondents said they recycle, by separating waste, followed by 21.6 percent who attempt to use fewer plastics, and smaller groups who noted commitments to reduce energy and water consumption.

“The modern house is constantly changing because our way of life is also being altered,” note architects and founders of the Sol89 studio, María González and Juanjo López de la Cruz, who were among the 23 industry experts offering input to the study. “These transformations can be caused by our changing schedules and customs or the price of housing, which determine the need to make the most out of the spaces in an efficient way. The kitchen’s design must be versatile in relation to the rest of the house and practical in its specific functions.”

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