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Oppression – a guest post by Darren Morgan

Division can create conflict, an abrasive tension that can pollute an environment leaving it unwelcoming and toxic.  For years the kitchen and those who design it have struggled with oppression being locked in a conflict that somehow enslaved the kitchen within an inherited world of architectural self righteousness and design ignorance.  Isolated and imprisoned this timid design creature has struggled with its own identity, finding it difficult to look at itself in the mirror and express itself properly to the custodians of design who ultimately had the power to unlock the door of influence and respect.

The kitchens inability to love itself has led to the misunderstandings of the wider architectural and design community with the situation becoming compounded by the lack of solidarity and cohesion amongst the kitchen industry itself!

It has taken time but the kitchen has slowly emerged from the corner of its solitude only to be beckoned forward by a wave of radical thinking, an approach which has been led by a new generation of architects and designers who have seen beyond the persecuted legacy of isolation and welcomed the kitchen with open arms into a world of open plan euphoria!

So now the kitchen has a new found confidence, encouraged by a large entourage of design admirers who regularly place it centre stage within the home.  The clutter and badly lit kitchen of old now looks like the star of a television make over show, who upon looking in the mirror cannot believe the transformation or level of acceptance bestowed upon it!

The modern kitchen has become a social barometer, an artistic statement, a holistic soother, a technological marvel, an architectural boundary, and a technicolored aurora, while remaining the functional facilitator of human need.  The kitchen has moved from architectural isolation into a world where it is seen as an important source of design inspiration.

But is this inspiration being suffocated by the very people who released the architectural stranglehold upon the kitchen in the first place?  The kitchen has now become oppressed by a new nemesis, an idea that could eventually lead to the virtual termination of the kitchen, an incarceration that will see the kitchen demoted way past the depths of its last imprisonment were at least it was given a cell made from concrete and steel.  This new development may see the kitchen becoming completely obliterated from any architectural plans.  Are we in the process of developing a shadow product that is to become systematically stripped of influence and status?

We live in a world where populations are increasing, technology is advancing and human patience is diminishing.  There is an insatiable drive to be in control of everything we come in contact with and demand is increasing for adaptive and responsive kitchens.  The fast paced world in which we live has ultimately helped to release the kitchen from its architectural incarceration but the pace at which we live is also helping us to enter a new stage of kitchen evolution.

Transforming kitchens are progressive, providing clients with the ultimate in convenience and control.  These shape shifting designs allow the kitchen to dominate an open plan environment only to become submissive upon command.  This unique ability to morph between positions satisfies our human desire to be in control and provides a practical solution to the problem of our ever decreasing living space.  But has the development of shape shifting kitchen design slowly started to neutralise the impact of the freshly paroled kitchen.

Are we creating a self contained box that the kitchen can recoil into when others decide that they have seen enough?  Is the kitchen beginning to imprison itself, allowing itself to be unconsciously cloaked and neutralised in order to satisfy the superior legacy of others?  Has the kitchen been set free only to find that the scars of previous persecution are too deep to heal, imploding under pressure and surrendering its influence to a new movement of change?

Transforming elements are an important part of kitchen design today but it can be argued that this functional centre piece now burdens the indignity of having to hide its functional identity and masquerade as something else!  The restrictions may be different but the limitations are the same!

Darren Morgan

Working in rural Ireland, Darren Morgan is a designer and writer who is
beginning to make an impression far beyond his native shores.
Having won some of the most prestigious design awards in the
industry and being noted on multiple websites and journals
across the globe, his passion for kitchen design is beginning to
inspire others to think about the kitchen in a different way. He
simply believes that “Kitchen design is changing.”

 
 

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