Kitchen designers and product manufacturers gathered at the Cosentino Manhattan City Center earlier this month to hear the results of the 2017 Global Kitchen Study, a survey of the global trends and projected function of the kitchen of the future. Nearly 850 industry professionals from around the world contributed their predictions to the online study, which was conducted by Cosentino Group’s research firm, the Silestone Institute.
The results proved that the evolution of the home kitchen is largely influenced by geographic, economic and social changes. Silestone’s findings on kitchen use, layout and trends of the future were presented in New York City alongside a panel of experts, including designers Susan Serra and Patricia Moore, architect Marc Kushner and hospitality specialist Jo-Ann Makovitzky, who shared their responses on the kitchen that’s to come.
Personalized Kitchen Profiles
The standard kitchen is an idea of the past. Those surveyed anticipate the kitchen will become just as personalized a space as the rest of the home, outfitted for the specific client and how the space will be used.
The panel broke the consumer down into a few example profiles: the healer, who uses the kitchen to de-stress and desires a joy-filled hub for socializing; the top chef, who requires a professional-grade kitchen to re-create television’s Master Chef; and the infrequent chef, who rarely uses the kitchen and would splurge on new-to-the-market products like lowering faucets and adjustable countertops to conceal the space when it’s not in use.
A Growing Connection
Nine out of 10 professionals surveyed in the Global Kitchen Study claim the kitchen will become a more significant room in the home in the next 20 years. And nearly all respondents believe the kitchen will continue to be a space that’s open and integrated with the rest of the home. For social influencers, connectivity to internet and device controls beat out smart appliances and sustainable equipment as the leading technology anticipated to affect the current kitchen model.
“Mobile devices mean architects don’t have to be technologists anymore, because technologists are updating the technology we use at a much greater speed than architecture can keep up,” says Kushner.
Yet technology doesn’t remain a top priority in kitchen renovations, with professionals citing functionality and design as the top requests for change. In fact, U.S. residents give precedence to structural elements like walls, flooring, cabinets and countertops when redesigning.
Panelists and guests continued the dialogue on trends in an open discussion, questioning how the growing importance of local food sources will affect the kitchen. “People are getting away from buying boxed foods and instead are creating kitchens that keep fresh foods,” says Makovitzky. “If don’t have as much processed foods, kitchens change, because you don’t need pantries and as much storage space. It’s in, cook and eat.”
Hub of the Home
The general consensus of respondents in the Global Kitchen Study is that the kitchen will be reinstated as the home’s central hub for family interaction and leisure. As all members of the family begin to gather in the kitchen, designers will be forced to consider it multigenerational use. And as the space integrates with the rest of the home, the standard, functional kitchen will require a greater focus on design. Serra even predicts that elements of the kitchen will begin to be viewed as furniture as opposed to appliances.
“I believe aesthetics and function have to be equal players at the start of the design process,” she says. “Form doesn’t have to follow function.”