The Evolution of the Modern Kitchen
We find that the kitchen is one of those rare universals truths that can be found around the world. The kitchen you find in Los Angeles is almost identical to one in Venice or Bangladesh. As a matter of fact you will find that the traditional layout of any kitchen can be found from a mud-hut in the Amazon to a 5th Avenue penthouse. We find the same pattern in archeological excavations from Taos, New Mexico to the ruins of Pompeii.
At the core of the “primal” kitchen we find three basic elements; fire, water and storage. The only real evolution that we find is in the appearance and technology.
From the “hearth”, to the “wood-burning” stove, to the “induction cook top”.
From the water-bucket, to the hand-pump, to the integrated dishwasher. From the “apple-cellar” to the “icebox” to the “Integrated Refrigerator”.
It is not about how the kitchen has changed, but more how we have changed the usage of this once purely functional space.
At the turn of the last century, the kitchen was designed to be out of the way, a place for servants, the cook and the help, to gather and prepare the days meals and double as a place to stay out of the main household. It was sparse, functional and easy to wash-down.
By post-war America, the kitchen was designed as a functional laboratory for a single participant, the woman of the house, the little lady, mom. It was laid out with assembly line efficiency with a window centered on the sink so she could watch the little ones in the back yard.
The evolution of the modern kitchen has grown far from its primary function of food preparation, to that of “the social center of the home”. A place where the family, both nuclear as well as tribal, still gather to share, rejuvenate and commune together.