top of page

Closed yet Open

June 26, 2023

Soumadip Dey

The residential kitchen designed by Studio Ardete uses an open plan despite the structural limitation confining this to a closed room.

Efficient space planning and a minimalist approach to design is the striking point of this residential kitchen, designed by Panchkula-based architectural firm Studio Ardete. Spanning an area of 312 sq ft, the kitchen has been designed for a house located in Panchkula, Haryana.

Badrinath Kaleru, Principal Architect, Studio Ardete says, “Minimal use of materials and colours gives a soothing effect to the space. Open kitchen layout (open kitchen inside a kitchen), island kitchen concept, and use of multiple basins for better management are some of the unique factors.”

Design Brief

Speaking of the design brief he got from the client, Kaleru says, “The client wanted a simple kitchen which could function efficiently according to vastu. They were also keen on having a breakfast table inside the kitchen as there are 2 small kids in the house and this idea could help in catering food easily. The client also wanted that all the activities could take place at once without difficulty in movement.”

Dwelling on the challenges, Kaleru informs, “When we got the project, the structure and walls were already built. So, the space dedicated to the kitchen and the structural members was already in place. Hence, there was little flexibility in the layout, which was a major challenge. Another challenge was to cater to a large family considering the utility, storage and management requirements.” The client’s family includes 7 members including 2 children and 3 senior citizens besides the couple.

The space dedicated to the kitchen and the structural members were already in place. Hence, there was little flexibility in the layout, which was a major challenge. Photo Courtesy: Studio Ardete

Tuning the design to the client’s lifestyle

In a residential property, the kitchen is perhaps the most customised element where the owner’s lifestyle completely influences the design. Before starting the kitchen design process, the most important thing is to understand how the kitchen is going to be used. A functional kitchen is where the design has been visualised with the owners’ needs in mind. This means how the owner lives, how they would like to use the kitchen, their lifestyle, tastes and habits.

Talking about how the same was incorporated in this project, Kaleru explains, “It’s important to understand the food culture and cooking techniques of the clients. In this particular project, the kitchen has been designed with respect to Indian food cooking culture. Keeping in mind that the client’s family had many members, space was designed to accommodate at least 3-4 people.”

He further adds that cooking is a time-intensive activity which an Indian lady does for nearly 6-8 hours approximately. “In general, the activity can turn monotonous if the space is confined. This factor was majorly considered to provide the lady with a more open environment with visual connection, making it an inviting space which helps her to interact with the other members of the family.”

The U-shaped layout was chosen for zoning of the kitchen as it helped in efficient space planning. Photo Courtesy: Studio Ardete

Layout and Zoning

According to the designer, the U-shaped layout was chosen for the zoning of the kitchen as it helped in efficient space planning. “The design allows the kitchen to be used as a multi-purpose space and proper organisation of space is necessary to serve the function. The layout-kitchen triangle allows for multitasking and free traffic flow.”

Kaleru further adds, “The open environment allows for interactions with other family members and makes the kitchen part of the whole of the unit. However, the kitchen has been designed cumulatively with the main and the secondary kitchen. Hence it became a smaller space. And due to the zoning, the kitchen can’t accommodate more than 5 people.”

The sink, preparation and cooking areas produce a narrow triangular work area, which leads to different types of kitchens. In this project, there are multiple sinks to enable multitasking. “One sink is for light use such as, during food preparation. The other sink is mainly for washing utensils. Due to the idea of providing multiple sinks for the ease of the client, the kitchen was divided into two zones by the kitchen counter.” Often it is better to have two small sinks than one large sink. This design is especially helpful if there are more than one person working in the kitchen as it decreases the traffic at the sink area.

The client’s wish of having a breakfast table inside the kitchen was incorporated into the design by extending the countertop so that it can double up as a small dining space in the kitchen. It also adds more workspace in the kitchen when it's not being used as a breakfast table. “To distinguish and accentuate the breakfast table from the kitchen countertop, a brown slab was added.”

Ambient lights were used to give a unifying feel to the space and highlight the breakfast table. Photo Courtesy: Studio Ardete