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The kitchen doesn’t overcook ideologies


The kitchen doesn’t overcook ideologies

May 24, 2021

By Anurag Yadav

Everyone needs the same thing and designers have to create the perfect answer for all affordability.

Despite the socialist breast-beating with all its righteous indignation, the lot of the mass build market doesn’t seem to take off in the way it should in that segment. The reason is mostly empty rhetoric and merely a vain pursuit of theoretical verbosity instead of pragmatic and reality-driven solutions.

In its ideological opposition to anything that seems to serve anything above sustenance levels, scant attention is being directed to the segment the so-called liberal ideologues seem to espouse. What seems to be forgotten is that the growing expression of social mobility in housing development is also in relation to the socio-cultural transformations advanced by neo-liberalism.

Having fed on a diet of opposition to neo-liberalism, the do-gooder philosophy dwells merely in its own exhibitionist luxury of conspicuous consumption of lofty philosophies. The kitchen, in any space occupied by users of any financial status, defines the spatial and cultural typology of the Indian architectural landscape.

In practice, open-plan design has always been a stage for a quiet struggle between freedom and servitude. From times when being ‘tied to the kitchen’ reflected both the uniqueness of the female members of a family to their subconscious suppression, fine changes in kitchen design have mirrored social attitudes. When it changed to a place for ‘entertaining guests’ from merely ‘cooking for the family’, one aspect has dominated this space – the importance of cleanliness, tidiness and sheer visual sanity. While the open-plan kitchen offers a connection to living spaces for home monitoring and management, it exposes the entire living space to a cocktail of smells and sounds that might not be as appetising.

No wonder designers now step back and pay greater attention to the symptoms of open-plan excess by focusing on dignified and efficient storage and masking the cleaning area with as much panache as possible.

It’s not just about food, as the family gathers around the open kitchen charging personal devices, connecting laptops and connecting TV besides a whole gamut of appliances turns necessary. Mixers, juicers, blenders, pots, and such items need to be hidden away when guests come calling.

Whether it is for the upwardly mobile, the arrived swish set or the struggling, though not necessarily low brow, economically stressed family, tidying up the space seamlessly and in a jiffy is a huge issue. The ideologues of the proletariat might even seem comfortable with a messed up kitchen look since it underlines the need for constant struggle under bourgeoisie oppression but they are changing.

Now every kitchen wants to be a wannabe high-end one. In India, the open kitchen plan was initially a luxury for the servant-run upper-class homes but they soon became evolved into a social aspiration for the expanding, individualist middle class. The problem with proponents of the cause of the economically weaker sections is their wards themselves seem to clamour only for the high-hanging fruit. But if the kitchen is not big, it gets even smaller with the opening into the living area as the wall where one could put their cabinets or fridge or ‘cupboard’ simply disappears.

It is here that the intelligent designer proves her relevance and where the socialist exits in resigned exasperation. The desire, need and significance of right design cuts across all social barriers, levels and backgrounds. The price tag could be different but the right module, the relevant schematics, ergonomics and storage options, not to mention proper plumbing and ventilation defines the beauty of the space.

Ignoring the need for good design in the rush to simply deny market forces for ideological differences will just not do anymore.

"While the open-plan kitchen offers a connection to living spaces for home monitoring and management, it exposes the entire living space to a cocktail of smells and sounds that might not be as appetising."

Anurag Yadav

Consulting Editor

Kitchen Ideas