Kitchens transformed

The most important room in the house, the kitchen has always dictated the rhythm of the home, and its transformation over the years closely reflects our changes in lifestyle.

In 2010, New York’s MOMA dedicated an exhibition to this haven of good taste, demonstrating how this crucial room has borne witness to transformations in our way of life. ‘It’s about the vision of the role of women in the home, our relationship to food, political debates and methods of consumption’, the venue explained at the time. Contemporary open-plan kitchens have slowly replaced the smaller spaces of the 1960s – often hidden away at the end of a long corridor and outfitted with plastic – and now reflect the central role of the cook, the disappearance of the traditional housewife, and the modern taste for noble, ethical, environmentally friendly materials. In 2019, decorative trends in the kitchen can be summed by the word ‘authentic’, with all that that conjures up in terms of true, raw materials inspired by nature – such as the wood or quartz that provide the base furnishings – and the prevalence of colours linked to the earth and the plant world (ochres and greens) in backgrounds. Star tools Now the focus of attention in the home and well deserving of admiration, today’s open kitchens cry out for high-end tools that rival tableware itself.

For a long time, a distinction was made between cookware and more elegant tableware, the latter made from better materials. But as kitchens have opened up to the rest of the house, once-utilitarian sauce- pans, drainers and chopping boards have gone upmarket. For several years, designers and famous brands have been taking a fresh look at cookware, seeking, beyond its usefulness, that twist of elegance that allows it to stand out – to the point where a piece might go beyond the confines of the kitchen to colonise other living spaces.

Hence, Starck’s lemon squeezer is not seen in cupboards but takes pride of place among a home’s designer objects, Revol’s high-end, uniquely elegant casserole dishes are used as serving vessels at the table, and Tom Dixon’s marble-and-brass pestle and mortar has replaced chic figurines in the living room.

A direct descendant of these elegant objects, Grace Souky’s tray/board/serving bowl draws on the classic design repertoire to make the transition – in a flip of the hand – from the kitchen to the living room, where it fits elegantly into the decor at apéritif time.These hybrid objects also chime with the authenticity that people now seek in their cooking spaces, as well as with the stand-out kitchen utensils of the last few years, made from raw or noble materials such as wood, marble, ceramics or glass.

 

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