Kitchen designs for ‘intelligent living’

We continue our look at the hopefuls in the Toyota iQ-sponsored Royal College of Art competition to produce designs for intelligent urban living with a look at the nominations for the kitchen category.

Split into four areas of a house that embrace the benefits of efficient design, the competition has seen ideas ranging from elegant simplicity to futuristic concepts.

And the students’ kitchen designs are some of the most clear and focused in the competition.

Twist + Cap by Industrial Design Engineering students Nicholas Reddall, Gianpaolo Fusari and DaeKyung Ahn, seeks to work with the inherent properties of the lemon, taking cues from nature itself – something which South Korean DaeKyung recognises as an Eastern concept.

It uses a silicon cap to keep in the juice from a cut lemon, meaning the fruit can be kept fresh for later use.

Nicholas said: “If you don’t cut it in half then the lemon keeps itself very well.

“We wanted to nurture what the lemon was quite good at.”

Gianpaolo emphasised the importance of function being the central aspect of design.

“We are going to need objects, but we need to make them better adapted to people’s lives – not the other way round,” he added.

“As designers were are very concerned with how people will use the product.”

For Design Products alumnus David Weatherhead, the kitchen is an area which could benefit from a simplification of the way we live.

Cold block is a terracotta cabinet the size of a vegetable box in a fridge, which sits in the external wall and uses no electricity.

For David the challenge of design comes from accessible solutions to everyday living – and from questioning the way we live now.

“The idea of a big shop and a big fridge has to be challenged – there’s no reason,” he said.

“It seems we forget things which are primal.

“We continue to develop and develop, but it’s good to stop and reassess that.”

A seemingly small problem, but one which everyone will have faced, is how to break out the right number of ice cubes from a tray without mess and waste.

Industrial design engineering alumnus Graeme Davies sees his Quicksnap ice tray design as an improvement on a fundamentally flawed idea.

The product uses an undercut to release individual cubes rather than relying on manhandling the whole tray to twist them loose.

And for Graeme the current financial crisis means an opportunity for designers to hone their craft.
“Recessions are more of a challenge than a hindrance,” he said.

“Whatever you design, cost is always in the back of your mind – and it’s time for it to come to the front of your mind.

“As a designer it’s time to not compromise – that’s going to be the challenge.”

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