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Glamour vs Functionality: The Pragmatic Approach to Lifestyle Kitchens


Glamour vs Functionality: The Pragmatic Approach to Lifestyle Kitchens

September 4, 2023

The panellists discussed the evolution of kitchens and various kitchen design trends in Delhi-NCR.

The kitchen has transformed from a simple cooking space into the heart of the home—a multifunctional hub where families gather, entertain guests and create cherished memories. As the demands of modern living continue to evolve, a pragmatic approach to lifestyle kitchens has become increasingly essential. The integration of aesthetics and functionality creates a balance between style and purpose catering to users’ unique needs and preferences.

Impact of Lifestyle Changes on Kitchen Design

Talking about how lifestyle changes have influenced the design of kitchens, Swanzal Kak Kapoor, Design Principal & Co-founder, Saka Studio added, “The materiality and the visuals have definitely changed. The big change is that 20 years ago the people who were not entering the kitchen themselves have now started taking active parts in the cooking. They were earlier not concerned with how the kitchen looked beyond functional requirements.”

She further added, “Today, it is very uncommon for people not to go into the kitchen. This has given importance to baking and other specialised areas of cooking where they take an active interest. And, these are the sections where the high-tech gadgets and appliances are making their mark.”

Kitchen as an Activity Area

Kitchen is now kitchens becoming an extension of the living area. “Kitchen is increasingly becoming an activity area. It is becoming a place for families to come together. So, we intend to put baking areas, teppanyaki etc. For example, in our home, we have a rotating chef system. There is a regular chef who does the cooking on a regular basis. And, every once in a while, we have a super speciality chef who focuses on different cuisine like Nun cuisine, Japanese cuisine or a Kolkata maharaj etc coming in and preparing specialised dishes. And, that becomes a nice activity to get involved in a joint family. Even in apartments, we are putting pizza ovens. Nowadays, even teenage kids want to bake certain things. And, parents join them in assisting. This again becomes a nice activity,” shared Ashmit S Alag, Principal, Transform Design.

Panellist discussed various kitchen design trends in Delhi-NCR. Photo Courtesy- Gnosis Media Pvt Ltd

Customisation and Detailing

Sabeena Khanna, Founder & Principal Architect, Studio KIA shared an anecdote about the customisation and organisation of kitchen storage in a kitchen designed by her many years ago. “The family didn’t want to have glass or plastic jars for storing dals, rice and other pulses. It was a semi-modular set-up where these items were stored in pull-out drawers. The front is made of glass so that the user can see the depleting levels of the item stored and order accordingly. It was run by the servants with the mother-in-law and the two daughters-in-law overseeing the activities. Each of them had specified duties. There was a blackboard provided for writing up menus, task assignments and dishes finished. Everything was nicely organised. That was a smart kitchen designed differently many years ago.

Multiple kitchens in Residences

From being confined to a closed space run by servants earlier, the trend of open kitchens has really caught on. The kitchen becoming an activity area has also played a big part here. Having separate dry and wet kitchens has become common. The requirement for multiple kitchens is even higher in multi-generational homes.

Talking about the complexities of designing kitchens for a multi-generational home, Smita Datta Makhija, Partner, Avesana shared, “The kitchen layout is planned by understanding the aspirations of the family members and their complex needs. The multi-generational families have the maximum complexities in kitchen design. Sometimes, you have to work with food preferences like veg and non-veg and different people wanting to eat different types of cuisines. Also, the relationship and power dynamics within the family impact the design of the kitchen.”

She further added, “Everyone wants their own space. Here, the main kitchen is almost always run by the servants unless we are talking about the younger generation. When you have elderly people in the house, often there is an additional compact kitchen which is more like a pantry next to their bedroom. Having members with diverse personality traits and preferences to come together and have a meal and yet have their privacy of eating their own meal is the real challenge.”

The panellists discuss how kitchens are becoming an extension of the living area. Photo Courtesy- Gnosis Media Pvt Ltd

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Kitchens in Farmhouses

Farmhouses have become a part of lifestyle nowadays. Talking about how kitchens are designed there, Sheetal Rakheja, Managing Partner, Aeon Design & Development LLP shared, “There is a lot of bonding that happens in the kitchen space. There is one main kitchen and an additional kitchen for friends coming together and cooking together. And, this is a big thing, especially in farmhouses.”

She further adds that biophilic elements play a key role in these kitchens. “There usually is a vegetable garden and a composting pit. People nowadays always have an inclination towards using solar cookers. All in all, there are a lot of outdoor and indoor activities that happen. And, this is a trend that is becoming popular fast.”

Growing Preferences for Built-in Appliances

Jyoti Malik, Co-founder, Zoera Biospheric Homes explained why built-in appliances are preferred. “I advocated built-in appliances to most of my clients. They tend to stay out of your way and once the cooking is done, everything is nicely tucked inside. And, this also uplifts the aesthetics of the space.”

She further added, “Also, in terms of technology and functionality, there is a lot to choose from with built-in appliances today – and usually the built-in ones are more compact in comparison to their standalone counterparts and gives the designers the flexibility to designers to free up the counter space.”

[Edited Excerpts from a Round Table Discussion on ‘Glamour vs Functionality: The Pragmatic Approach to Lifestyle Kitchens’ held at ITC Maurya, New Delhi as part of Crompton presents Kitchens Unplugged powered by Kitchen Ideas.]