Pick up any kitchen planning guide – trade or consumer – and it won’t be long before you come across a reference to ‘the working triangle’. And, of course, whilst successfully cracking this design conundrum should be near the top of anyone’s list, it’s good to remember that it’s not just immoveable objects – appliances, cabinetry etc. – that will help you attain triangular triumph.
As we all know and appreciate, kitchens are increasingly multi-purpose areas that span everything from food preparation to weekend partying. Size aside, ticking quite so many boxes is a tall order for any room in the house – but it can be done. And the key, I believe, is to consider not just physical fixture and fittings, but also what you might call the scheme’s ‘sensory’ elements. I’m talking about lighting, sound, vision and generally ‘setting the scene’.
Furthermore, those aspects can actually be used to zone a kitchen’s layout – creating clear, designated areas for different activities – whilst avoiding partitioning the kitchen unnecessarily. Giant steps in accessible, affordable technology that synchronises lighting, sound, vision and even the control of appliances allows even modest kitchens to raise their game – and for designers to effortlessly deliver ‘kitchen lifestyle’ solutions that are user-friendly and easy to install.
Having one or two control ‘points’ – for example, one on an island unit, another alongside an eating area – is sensible. And from those areas, everything – from task, ambient and main lighting to activating extraction – can be controlled by touch alone. You can floodlight prep areas, whilst leaving an ‘entertainment zone’ more softly lit; accent features such as restored beams and brickwork or pull a few optical illusions with low-level lighting.
So, when it comes to designing your next kitchen, think beyond fixtures and let the march of technology give you a helping hand – your customer will thank you for it!
Allen Hartley is Taptile’s Brand Manager