IKEA's Future Kitchen report

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In June, a British consulting company called The Future Laboratory released the results of a study commissioned by IKEA UK & Ireland. The subject? The future of kitchens. Pollsters asked respondents in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland a series of questions about what they expected this crucial space to be like in the year 2040. A panel of design, technology, and other experts also gave their input. Overall, the study revealed some intriguing directions.

It points to energy efficiency as the number-one priority for the kitchen of the future. The study also endorses the notion that "technology will seamlessly integrate into day-to-day living and relieve us of laborious tasks." Among its other conclusions is the feeling that in 2040 the kitchen will be an active player in promoting health and well-being by providing electronic nutritional information and input as well as opportunities to grow one's own food.

Mass customization and participatory design, the study predicts, will have a major impact on the way kitchens are made. The final report includes a quote from panel member Rachel Armstong, M.D., a professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College in London: "I would like to imagine that in the future people would be able to design their local surroundings, and the role of the architect will be to create a vision and a framework for this." Interestingly, Kent Larson of MIT made a similar point when I interviewed him for residential architect back in 2008. Good food for thought.--m.d.



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