Counter Space: How The Modern Kitchen Evolved

snaidero folding kitchen

Snaidero folding kitchen, 1968

Suzanne Labarre of Fast Company's Co.Design writes a wonderful article about the new show opening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York: Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen. The show traces the development of the kitchen as a modern, efficient "domestic conveyor belt" post WW1, into the modern age where "kitchens kept expanding -- and so did the amount of junk inside them. New products were supposed to make life easier on housewives, but often they had the opposite effect; more stuff just meant more upkeep."


Frankfurt kitchen image via MoMA

The show includes a reconstructed Frankfurt Kitchen, designed by Grete Schütte-Lihotzky for public housing in 1926. Labarre writes that "The layout was meant to empower women; the faster they could finish their domestic duties, the more time they'd have for factory work and leisure."

Core 77 claims that it is "the first of its kind" (and dates it to post WWII, probably a typo), but in fact it was based on Christine Frederick's work sponsored by Ladies Home Journal starting in 1910. According to Ellen Lupton and J. Abbott Miller in The Bathroom and Kitchen and the Aesthetics of Waste,

Frederick's book The New Housekeeping was the theoretical "bible for the designers of the modernist "Frankfurt Kitchen." Functional details include pullout work surfaces, a built in rack over the drain board and legroom for sitting down while working."

More at Co.Design
More in TreeHugger on Kitchen Design:
Kitchen Design for the Future: Whirlpool's Green Kitchen Concept
The Best Small Kitchen Designs for Cooking Large and Living Small
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