At Element 5 Architecture, our work with custom home design brings us exposure to the latest in modern kitchen designs and keep us aware of the latest trends. Sometimes it gets to be too much to follow and has us going back to basic concepts: the kitchen as a gathering place for friends and family, where creativity occurs and the sight and smell of cooking inspires a casual atmosphere.
A recent news report by National Public Radio about soviet-era Russian kitchen design brings to light the important role kitchens have in society. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 the Russian government attempted to remove the kitchen from the home by designing all apartment blocks without kitchens. From 1917 to the mid 1950's urban Russian citizens were essentially forced to eat in communal cafeterias or combined laundry and kitchen facilities like the one shown below. The thought being that kitchens were where "people could gather to talk politics".
Imagine how society must have changed during that time, when all food is prepared the same for the populous. The current concepts of "foodie", "vegan" and "locavore" were far from the minds of society . Today we design kitchens with amazing features - built-in cappuccino makers, televisions, computers, hidden speakers, induction cooktops, steamer ovens. We carefully consider the work triangle, prep areas, ergonomics and social interaction. Today's kitchens can exceed $50,000 and are a major component of the overall cost of the house.