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The past, present and future in kitchen design


The Frankfurt Kitchen was the first kitchen design that made the modern kitchen accessible to the working class living in apartments.Electrolux’s “New Generation” kitchen range in the 70s reflected the consumer’s taste for bright, vibrant colours with colours schemes like poppy red.The Ebony kitchen range reflects current tastes and trends with a high-contrast design that makes striking contrasts with bold, dark colours.The futuristic Heart of the Home concept by Electrolux is an intelligent, amorphous cooking surface that adapts to a user’s needs, be it for a cooking stove, a table, a bar or even a kitchen sink.

It’s the steel and glass heart of every home, the place where your family creates meals, shares life experiences and socialises with both relatives and friends. Like its users, the kitchen has undergone many evolutions in its history, to the relief of time-strapped homemakers everywhere. It may sound charming today, but starting a wood fire and spending the next three hours cooking dinner from scratch on a daily basis is something best left to history.

As with the many modern inventions, busy professionals have the 19th century industrial revolution to thank. The introduction of water and gas pipes have made kitchen sinks and gas cookers possible.

However, it was not until the development of the Frankfurt kitchen in the 1920s by Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky that modern home cooking became available to the working class. The kitchen, built for social housing projects, not only made having a modern kitchen affordable, it finally separated the kitchen as a room. Prior to that, the small size of a typical worker’s household meant that the kitchen was where they lived, dined, bathed and even slept.

Frankfurt Kitchen

Photo credit: Wikipedia

By the 1930s, streamlining was in fashion for consumer goods, and kitchens were no exception. A product was no longer sought after purely for its function, but for its shape and design. Anticipating this trend, Electrolux hired leading industrial designers. This led to the launch of the L300 refrigerator in 1940. Designed by Raymond Loewy, also known as the creator of the Lucky Strike package and Studebaker Avanti sports car, the L300 became a huge success. It featured a then-cutting edge streamlined, modern look with spring-assisted doors, rounded edges and cream colours giving the appliances a clean feel.

Consumer insight was further utilised in the 1950s to integrate the first countertop dishwasher in homes. The D10, nicknamed “The round tin”, was launched in 1959 and designed to be installed without the need for major kitchen renovation. Consumers were also looking for cellar or pantry-type cabinet in their apartments, which led to the design of the SP111 refrigerator. This made the fridge a substitute for the cellar, where items like jams and juices would be stored.

Continuing the trend of streamlining and minimalisation, Electrolux designer Carl Otto created fridge and freezer models with straight edges in 1961. By the 1970s, however, vibrant colours were in vogue in kitchens. The Electrolux “New Generation” design line offered copper and “poppy red” colours.

New Generation

Increased awareness of environmental sustainability also led to the creation of the first CFC-free refrigerator by Electrolux in 1993. CFC is a chemical compound that is known to contribute towards ozone depletion.

Today, high contrast kitchens such as the striking Ebony range launched in 2010 are in vogue in both Europe and Asia. From simple white or similarly light colours, contemporary kitchen designers are finding increasing demand for kitchens that can also serve as a social centre for the home. Bolder, darker colours, glass cabinets and appliances designed to stand out as a design statement combine to give such kitchens a timeless yet stylish feel.

Ebony kitchen

The kitchen continues to evolve in step with human lifestyles. Two trends that can be expected in kitchen design is the increased incorporation of advanced, yet intuitive technology in appliances and consumer cooking appliances whose results can match those in professional kitchens.

The future of kitchens is constantly in motion. As this ”Heart of the Home” kitchen concept by Electrolux shows, Electrolux looks to move ahead in order to open the door to tomorrow for you.

Heart of the home

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