The "Frankfurt Kitchen" reinterpreted - Exhibition essence | kitchen at ZOW 2016

[Bad Salzuflen, 13 January 2016] Maximum efficiency in a minimum amount of space – this was the approach taken by Viennese architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky when designing the "Frankfurt Kitchen" in the mid-1920s. Its special feature was that it was heavily based on industrial work stations in which the distances covered by employees in the performance of their tasks were minimised and all of the important things are within easy reach.

In addition to the rationalisation of the various processes, it was also necessary to minimise manufacturing costs, which was achieved by configuring the kitchen from standardised modules. Although the demands made on kitchens have fundamentally changed since this time, the principles of the "Frankfurt Kitchen" can still be found in many kitchens to this day. Students at the Detmold College of Architecture and Interior Design (OWL University of Applied Sciences) have been scrutinising a historical version of this kitchen in order to develop creative design concepts for a trendsetting kitchen culture. The findings of this process will be presented alongside the original kitchen in the exhibition essence | kitchen in Hall 22.1 at the forthcoming ZOW.

Today's kitchen needs to perform a variety of tasks: It is not only a place for production and enjoyment, which has to be equipped with technology and designed in such a way so that it is functional. It also acts as a central meeting point for the family and friends, a place which opens itself up and can replace the living room. Yet this was not always the case. After all, the kitchen as a separate room in a home looks back on thousands of years of development. At the same time, it also shows us new paths into the future as the kitchen is, ultimately, always a reflection of technology. Designed in the spirit of the times of the functional and rational style of Bauhaus, the "Frankfurt Kitchen" is one of the key concepts of this evolution, for the first time ever, containing the "essence" of all fundamental processes and tasks from the point of view of design. It came about in the late 1920s as part of the construction programme "The New Frankfurt", a residential complex with 1,220 council flats, and radically adopted the idea of modernism of a new society in which the focus was on rationalisation and functionality. Owing, in particular, to the considerations regarding the optimisation of procedures and the economy of space upon which the kitchen is based, it is still regarded today as the benchmark for the principle of the fitted kitchen. Since 1995, an extremely rare original version of this kitchen has been part of the collection "Designsammlung Detmold" – a cooperation project between East Westphalia-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and the State Museum of Lippe – comprising over 150 exhibits. It has now been worked and reflected upon by students of the Detmold College of Architecture and Interior Design with a view to gaining trend-setting information and to developing new designs. In doing so, a variety of approaches were followed: What does a kitchen look like that moves house along with the owners and grows to meet their particular requirements? And what effects do demographic change or the increased awareness of sustainability have on the kitchen? Can we rearrange the kitchen? What does the kitchen mean to us today? Can we categorise kitchen users? And what role does food actually play in our lives? The findings of these considerations will be presented at the forthcoming ZOW at the special exhibition essence | kitchen in Hall 22.1. The historical "Frankfurt Kitchen" will be displayed there from 16 to 19 February 2016. It will become a catalyst, attracting attention and providing a source of inspiration by showing how progressive design influences our living environment on the basis of additional design-related and factual information.

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