November 23, 2004 Whirlpool Europe has unveiled a vision for a new style of built-in kitchens that are more highly integrated and lifestyle oriented than those currently available. Entitled "in.kitchen: design landscapes for a new built-in experience", the design concepts are glimpses of possible domestic environments that could be achieved in the near future through well-orchestrated partnerships within the kitchen industry.
The built-in kitchen is a business model that was created in the 1960s, but has changed little since then. Built-in kitchens mirrored the family structure of the period - with women firmly still identified as the main users of the kitchen - which was seen as a functional room within the house. Today's kitchens must offer different strategic services to family members with continuously changing lifestyle patterns, including optimal performance and speed. They also reflect the trend since 2001 of people wanting to "nest" in their homes in what has been dubbed "hiving", or 'cocooning", with people multi-tasking in the home and integrating many multi-media devices into the hub of then kitchen for increased functionality.
"Today the kitchen is a temple of conviviality, a space that is increasingly more integrated in our daily lives," said Alessandro Finetto, Manager of Whirlpool Europe's Global Consumer Design group. "We carefully considered user requirements, emerging lifestyles and technologies, the evolution of domestic spaces and changes in business paradigms in creating in.kitchen.
"We analysed the entire process of meal preparation and consumption, together with the relationship people have with space and food throughout their domestic life, to create more highly integrated systems that provide multiple solutions to today's demanding lifestyles."
in.kitchen was the third instalment of a biennial, visionary research and design initiative led by Whirlpool Europe's Global Consumer Design group. Previous projects include Macrowave - which examined alternative uses of domestic microwave technology, and Project F: Fabric Care Futures, which explored the future of fabric care. http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/