From cooktops on casters to remote control machines, these three prototypes rethink the kitchen.
1 EtKøkken by Mette Schelde
At its most basic, says Mette Schelde, “food preparation has not changed since we emerged as a species. You can still make a great meal using good ingredients and basic cooking tools.” Just three elements – fire, water and a chopping block – frame all of the primary tasks in every kitchen.
For EtKøkken (Danish for “a kitchen” ), the designer separated these functions into three free-standing stations, each defined by a circle of its material framed in blackened steel: oak for the chopping block, marble terrazzo for the basin, and a distinctive criss-cross pattern in steel for the gas cooktop. “I was inspired by the shape of a fire pit,” she says, “where people can gather in 360 degrees.”
EtKøkken’s atavistic combination of wood, stone, fire and water belies a thoroughly modern take on the kitchen. The fire and chopping block modules sit on casters, which allows them to be repositioned as needed; and to adapt on the fly, depending on the task at hand or the number of people in the room. The semi-portable units can accompany nomadic owners from city to city, or simply move from indoors to out – a refreshing take on an ancient scheme.
2 Collaborative Cooking by PJADAD
While Mette Schelde embraced the concept that cooking has remained fundamentally unchanged since prehistory, Petter Johansson Kukacka and Christian Isberg set out to radically change it. Working with a chef and a programmer, they developed Collaborative Cooking, a digital machine that aims to revolutionize the process. The scaffold is loaded up with compartments, tubes and motors that enable as many as five chefs to remotely combine up to 35 ingredients, control temperature and stir, in a sensory-rich display that could double as performance art. When a chef assumes control of the system, an auxiliary box lights up and records each move on a printout.
3 ChopChop by Dirk Biotto
Inspired by his own grandmother’s physical limitations, industrial designer Dirk Biotto adhered to the universal design philosophy of inclusion when he imagined his ChopChop workstation, considering daily cooking tasks from the perspective of a person with reduced mobility or strength. The result is two efficient, compact modules where everything is placed within reach; as well, the height adjusts for sitting or standing. Thoughtful details include an embedded grater, a wedge that stabilizes food for one-handed cutting, a hose for filling vessels where they will be used (to minimize heavy lifting), and a sink that slopes upward to help with pulling objects onto the counter.