Europe’s largest kitchen and bathroom buying group for independent kitchen specialists, DER KREIS, actively promotes young talent in the kitchen industry. In 2009, the DER KREIS ANJA SCHAIBLE STIFTUNG foundation was set up to inspire, excite and attract young people into the specialist kitchen and design industry1.
Together with kitchen specialists and partners from the kitchen industry, the foundation initiates and encourages study projects at universities and colleges that focus on the kitchen, and all of its facets. The most recent projects, exhibited at LivingKitchen in Cologne, saw students from three universities in Germany2 develop ideas for the kitchen of tomorrow.
In order to gain a broader basis for developing their ideas, a survey was conducted on the needs and desires of future kitchen buyers3. Key survey findings include:
- A preference for a family kitchen was identified among respondents under the age of 25
- Around 60 per cent of respondents preferred to cook with others
- Roughly two thirds believed that controlling cooking elements by touch was useful
- Over 60 per cent of respondents stated online recipes were important or very important to them
The projects resulted in two very different concept kitchens, the ‘connected’ and the ‘solid-wood’, which were both displayed at the exhibition.
The connected kitchen
This concept creates a space for experience, where the consumer can use technology to play games, watch films, as well as cook and communicate with real and virtually connected friends. The connected kitchen follows the assumption that most people enjoy cooking in the company of others. The kitchen is therefore T-shaped, allowing people to cook while facing each other.
The solid-wood kitchen
The aim of this design was to create a cooking space in which all of the essentials are readily to hand, just like the classic workbench used by a carpenter. The use of natural materials and solid wood make the kitchen highly energy efficient. For example, the ‘Eco-Cooler’ operates without electricity. Water condenses on the earthenware slabs and the subsequent cooling effect creates the optimal conditions for storing fruit and vegetables.
Bill Miller, Managing Director, Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG), part of DER KREIS, comments: “It is vital to understand what aspects of the kitchen are important to young people, to create a more knowledgeable and creative industry, and raise professional standards. The kitchen of tomorrow project unearthed two very interesting concepts, along with key statistics from the survey, which we hope will be beneficial and influential to our members when designing kitchens in the future.”