Is Kitchen Design Getting "Too Precious", Too Refined?

Showroom MilanKitchen showroom in Milan/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

On the BuildBlog, they wonder if kitchens have become "well, a bit too refined."

Does anyone actually buy these kitchens with the intention of cooking in them? ...a kitchen is meant to be cooked in, and when the function of a kitchen is superseded and replaced by design fetish, it fails.

They establish their design philosophy, which includes:

1. The kitchen is not an art exhibit.
A kitchen is intended for cooking and eating. It’s that simple.

2. Accept the evidence of life.
A well designed kitchen should be able to visually and functionally accommodate a stack of cookbooks left out on the counter, a bowl of fruit waiting to ripen, the remnants from last night’s cocktails, and Johnny’s half eaten monster cookie. We’re not suggesting that this allows the inhabitants to simply leave everything out wherever they like. A well designed kitchen should have a place for everything to go at the end of the day, but it should also accept the evidence of life.

Kitchen MilanMilan Kitchen showroom/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Now I am not certain that these kitchens wouldn't look just fine with the right cookbook or bowl of fruit, and I am not sure any kitchen looks good with Johnny's half eaten monster cookie. I do imagine that someone could cook in these kitchens perfectly happily. The Build Blog continues:

3. Embrace weathering.
A kitchen should look different after a decade of being lived in. The handles will patina from repeated use. Certain end-panels may fade a bit from direct sunlight. Wine rings may stain the countertop and remind you of that fantastic dinner party. A weathered kitchen is the sign of a life well-lived. (more principles here)

I am not so sure; I look at the rings on our 15 year old counter and wonder what idiot put a hot pot down there. I look at the finish on the doors and wonder why anyone would put a wood cabinet face under a sink, I will never do it again.

Valcucine InvitrumValcucine/Promo image

If I had the money (and few do for these kitchens) I would jump at the Valcucine; I wrote a couple of years ago:

If one was going to build the perfect kitchen you might want it to be made of a material that is easily cleaned, like glass. You would expect it to ship flat-pack to reduce transport costs. You might make it so that there are no glues, just mechanical connections so that it could be easily taken apart and reassembled in a different form.

I get enough evidence of life, wear and tear by looking in the mirror. I don't need it in my kitchen. What do you think?

Is Kitchen Design Getting "Too Precious", Too Refined?
The bloggers at Build think they have, and create their own set of principles worth noting.

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