Valcucine's open-source project to inspire sustainable kitchen designs
By Nick Lavars
March 25, 2014
Italian design firm Valcucine is looking to turn its showroom at next month's Milan Design Week into a collaborative space by seeking out 10 budding designers to workshop sustainable modifications to its Meccanica kitchen concept. The "Kitchen Becomes Open!" project is set to take place over six days and will fundamentally be an open-source venture from start to finish. Participants will work with a team of experts to develop ideas and ultimately make them freely available for distribution and modification.
Meccanica is a kitchen concept engineered by Valcucine and produced by its sister company Demode. It is made with an emphasis on sustainability using 100 percent recyclable iron frames and plywood panels. The structural elements are bound by mechanical joins, meaning there is no glue involved and the kitchen can be disassembled with 80 percent of it able to be re-used.
The Kitchen Becomes Open! project will see 10 participants from around the world work with Valcucine's technical department in partnership with Arduino alongside professionals from Milan-based design studio dotdotdot.
"I'm sure that the meeting of these people from different countries with different experiences and profiles will create the energy and synergy to surprise," Daniele Prosdocimo, Communications Manager at Valcucine tells Gizmag. "The profiles of the folks that answered our call amazed even the jury."
The participants will develop ideas and prototypes for new accessories, structures, modifications and digital add-ons for Meccanica, the success of which will depend on how well they align with Valcucine's ethos of creating innovative and sustainable kitchen designs.
Valcucine has planned a series of meetings and debates throughout the workshop, which will be open to the public and feature guests with specialist knowledge and experience. While the company is expecting the unexpected from participants, Prosdocimo says it has identified several elements of the Meccanica concept that are ripe for innovation.
"At the moment the junctions answer only to mechanical issues. Can they answer even to functional needs? Extensions? Hanging systems?" Prosdocimo asks. "The iron frame is just a pipe to support the structure but can it become something more? Accommodation for the lighting system or wires?"
Other areas of the kitchen design that the company says could provide the basis for creative modification include integrating the counter top with the frame system, customizing the surfaces of the wooden doors, and the way appliances interact with the construction.
The workshop commences on April 6 and runs up until April 11, with the works then exhibited at the Valcucine showroom at Milan Design Week 2014 on April 12 and 13. Following the exhibition, executable files of the project will be made available under creative commons licensing, allowing the modification and creation of projects based on the original concepts.