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The Art of Kitchen Design: A Fusion of Culture, Cuisine & Lifestyle?


The Art of Kitchen Design: A Fusion of Culture, Cuisine & Lifestyle?

August 7, 2023

The panellists discussed at length various kitchen design trends in Kolkata and how they go about selecting layouts, appliances and materials for a kitchen.

Like all other cities, Post Covid, the desire for a larger kitchen has increased manifold. Kitchens are now being celebrated. People have started enjoying the entire experience of cooking as well as eating. Let’s look at the trends in kitchen design in recent years in Kolkata.

Influence of changing lifestyle

Talking about how lifestyle changes have impacted kitchen design in Kolkata, Rupande Shah, Founder & Principal Architect, Rupande Shah & Associates shares, “Now all the kitchens I design have an Island. This is common in 90% of the kitchens.”

She further adds, “I don’t think there is a large difference between a German Kitchen versus a regular Indian kitchen if you are following a certain international lifestyle. Eating within the kitchen – making a space to sit and have a discussion is quite normal in most of our projects. And, this is the case for apartments.”

Panellist discussing about various kitchen trends in Kolkata. Photo Courtesy- Gnosis Services Pvt Ltd

Influence of Culture on kitchen design

The kitchen has always been heavily influenced by culture for ages. “If you see an old Bengali movie portraying the Bengali culture one will notice that most of the discussions are happening around the kitchen. So, it is certainly not a new phenomenon,” opines Abhishek Dutta, Founder & Principal Architect, ArcOn Design.

He further adds, “However, over the years the social fabric and family dynamics have changed. People have become busier and the lady of the house has started working outside. Therefore, the time spent in the kitchen has reduced significantly and to some extent, the importance of the kitchen in our daily life has also reduced. Covid-induced lockdown kind of took us back to the old age and make us understand the importance of the kitchen.”

Are kitchens in Kolkata different from other cities?

“Having designed kitchens for Bengali as well as non-Bengali clients, I have noticed that the cooking systems remain the same. More than ethnicity, the differences are driven by the consumption of the food – vegetarian vs non-vegetarian. The size of the kitchen in the city varies from 80 sq ft to 200 sq ft. But irrespective of size, the pattern of Indian cooking is common for everyone. It’s not something like cuisine in Kolkata is very different from other parts of the country,” opines Ambarish Kumar Srivastava, Principal Architect, Planarch.

User preference – Open vs Closed kitchen

Talking about user preference of the type of kitchen in Kolkata, Devyani Jaiswal, Founder and Principal Architect, DJ Associates shares, “In a joint family, the clients want their kitchens to be closed, mostly. However, the newer generation and the nuclear families want the open kitchen format. Joint families want a dedicated space for dining where the families can sit together. And, they want bigger spaces. However, that is achievable in case of bungalows and apartments do have space constraints.”

Panellist discuss upon how lifestyle changes have impacted kitchen design in Kolkata- Photo Courtesy- Gnosis Services Pvt Ltd

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Multiple kitchens in bungalows

Highlighting the trend of having multiple kitchens in independent houses and bungalows, Rupande shares, “When we design houses which are much larger, the culture part comes in. There comes the concept of open wash, secondary wet kitchens.”

She further adds, “There, we need to have three kitchens in our plan – the wet kitchen is the messier and service part of the kitchen, then you have the actual cooking kitchen and then you have the dry kitchen where the family members are using it – with baking as the main function. So, it’s about the journey of three kitchens tied together. And, this is only possible because you have the luxury of space.”

Kitchen in affordable housing

Affordable housing forms a large part of residential complexes in Kolkata and the suburbs. Speaking about kitchen design in those compact spaces, Ayan Sen, Founder, ASAUDP states, “I have also worked in projects involving the construction of worker’s housing in a large industrial complex where the entire apartment is of 50 sq ft. Obviously, there is a need that every household will cook and there is an aspiration even at that scale.”

He further adds, “The requirements will be basic like – a wash area, a kitchen counter and a basin – the fundamental necessities. Of course, it is not possible to provide functionalities like I would if I am designing a 900 sq ft apartment but then the fundamental necessities must be met. And, in a tight space like this, the exhaust system must be included or else it won’t work.”

Trends in the compact kitchen

A lot of modern-day family wants built-in appliances and modular kitchens. But the challenge is the space constraint. “The layout is generally an L-shaped or a parallel counter kitchen. Kitchens in Bungalows are relatively bigger as you can dedicate a larger area to the kitchen and can even incorporate an island in the kitchen. There you have some wriggle room but in these compact kitchens, you have to be very precise with the selection of appliances and materials. With all those gadgetries eating away the counter space, providing a dedicated prep zone becomes a challenge,” adds Srivastava.