Getting away from the wall – the liberated kitchen
19 Feb 2020
The kitchen island solution made of quartz stone from Steininger is almost sculptural in its effect, characterised by its stacked blocks with compartments on both sides. Photo: Steiniger
The free-standing kitchen is, in fact, not a new invention. Even though the Frankfurt Kitchen had already been developed as the archetype of the modern, fitted kitchen back in 1926, the system comprising standardised and permanently fixed furniture gradually came to predominate since 1945. Prior to this, the majority of kitchens were modular, free-standing kitchens. In these kitchens, apart from the kitchen sink, everything could be moved around in theory: the fridge (if there was one), the cooker and even the kitchen sideboard. At a time when individualism is growing, modular kitchens are increasingly making a come-back into our homes.
But the return to individual elements is not only of significance for kitchens; it can be observed throughout the home. Large wall units, for instance, had already become a dying species at the beginning of the new millennium. And in the bedroom, too, the trend is to move away from a large cabinet feature towards multiple, small, to some extent unimposing, items of furniture. And now time is up for the fitted kitchen as well. In an era of maximum flexibility and – in part – minimalist furnishings, large, connected furniture components no longer reign supreme. Particularly for someone required to move house frequently for professional reasons or for someone living in a rather small city apartment, modular kitchen elements provide an alternative.
Flexibility using kitchen modules
The modules are coupled together by magnets. Photo: Stadtnomaden
Liberated from the fitted kitchen and allowing for flexible room design, with free-standing kitchen modules, the kitchen can be organised according to your individual preferences. Depending on the circumstances, the kitchen can then be enlarged or reduced in size. A further advantage: free-standing kitchens can easily travel with you when you move and be reinstalled in the new kitchen, in keeping with the available space.
In this way, in contrast with the free-standing kitchen modules of former times, cooking stations which integrate the sink and hot plates can even be positioned in the middle of a room without any need to be up against a wall. The arrangement of modular elements can be precisely adapted to the layout of available water and electricity connections. Modern modular systems thus facilitate completely individualised configuration. As an island unit or kitchen counter, free-standing, attached to the wall or functioning as a room divider, the kitchen can be adapted to the particular situation in terms of space and connection points. By virtue of its double-wall construction and the thoughtful use of cut-outs and recesses, the modular system A La Carte II from Stadtnomaden offers the installation spaces and pathways needed for wiring and connection of all the integrated appliances within each module as well as between modules, guaranteeing that no additional use of electric tools is required.
An alternative to the fitted kitchen
With the Critter Kitchen, Stip wanted to free the kitchen from the wall and give it a unique character of effortlessness. Photo: Stip
The Critter Kitchen from Stip, for example, made of ash wood, can be assembled in a few minutes by tightening eight screws. Cooking, and, of course, conviviality, can then be right at the centre of things in the kitchen space. A fully functional cooker and sink basin are inset beneath the worktop. Electrics and drainage are hidden in a steel column.
With an all-in-one island feature, the focal point of a room is set up in an instant, and all of life can go on around it. Accessible from four sides, instead of just the one, the island unit makes it possible to work dynamically and efficiently in one place: starting with preparation and cooking, through storage of food items, to disposal of the leftovers: an all-inclusive package with seating which takes up the minimum amount of space.
Stand-alone kitchen modules as a feature for open living spaces
With Float, Miras Editions wanted to disrupt the inflexibility which prevails in the modern kitchen. The design comes from Guests of Honour and designers of Das Haus” at imm cologne 2020, MUT Design. Photo: Miras Editions
A kitchen consisting of free-standing modules is also suitable for open-plan kitchen and dining rooms. In the form of a cooking island, you can, for instance, create a visual separation between the cooking space and the living room or, as with the kitchen collection, Float from Miras Editions, blur the boundaries between two living spaces, using kitchen modules which act simultaneously as home furnishings. Float does away with technological excess in the kitchen and concentrates on the essentials. The collection comprises 5 items in total: cooking station, cupboard, cabinet, trolley and room-dividing cupboard unit. Each piece is a free-standing, mobile island, which can be integrated in open-plan spaces according to your preferences.