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Joys and Perils of Open Kitchens

August 8, 2022

What has led to the increasing acceptance of open kitchens in urban India? Does the preference for an open kitchen have something to do with the education and economic status of the family? Does the open kitchen suit Indian cooking habits? Is the open kitchen good for a tropical country like India? The panellists discuss all this and dwell on the pros and cons of having an open kitchen.

A panel discussion on the joys and perils of the open kitchens was held as part of the Design Dialogues, Bengaluru with Leena Kumar, Principal Architect, Kumar Consultants as the moderator. The panellists in the discussion were Kanan Modi, Principal Architect, EL Plus D, Kalpak Bhandari, Principal Architect, Vikas studio, Sunitha Kondur, Director, Hundredhands, and Dinesh Varma, Principal Architect, Ace Group Architects.

If space is not a constraint, I personally prefer an open kitchen because I think it is the soul of the house. I think that is where most of the family spends most of the time when you have the open space where you can interact with your kids, you can watch them play or do their homework.

Sunitha Kondur



Leena Kumar, Principal Architect, Kumar Consultants opines, “Traditionally, the Indian kitchen was always a small part of the house, very often located away from the house because cooking was perhaps done on open firewood with no piped water. Water was fetched from outside – from wells, ponds etc. But that’s all changed and we have piped waters, we have a lot of appliances and a lot of automation and the kitchen has moved inside.”

She further adds, “By and large in the Indian system masalas or spices or grinding was done manually or even for that instance the cooking itself. Now the mixer grinders, use of readymade spices and availability of various utensils and appliances have made cooking less cumbersome. This changing Indian palate, taste, the Indian cuisine along with the lack of quality family time has pushed the concept of open kitchens in India, especially in the metro cities. By and large, the change of lifestyle where people are less concerned about privacy at any place except the bedroom has opened up the idea of an open kitchen where the family comes together.”

Cooking and eating habits also determine the scope of having open kitchens. Photo Courtesy: Christian Mackie on Unsplash

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Kanan Modi, Principal Architect, EL Plus D says, “I think the amount of cooking done in the kitchen has definitely gone down over the years. Our mothers used to grind masalas at home and all of that and we don’t grind all of it anymore. So, the amount of cooking that a kitchen does is far less than a kitchen used to do earlier and I feel that now we are going into an era where it would be nice to have seamlessness amongst the various functions that a family performs at home. Whether it is playing a game with each other or watching something on a television or cooking, it has to be a very seamless integration of all the functions so in that sense, an open kitchen really helps because it is opening out into an already open living or dining space. You do all your functions together as a whole.”

I think open kitchens make conversations very easy with people working full time, and have limited time to be at home. I think interactions during that one hour or two hours that each one gets is very relevant.

Kalpak Bhandari

Principal Architect

Vikas studio