23Apr
The Childs Play – Psychology of Kitchen Design

As a boy my Mother used to collect me from school and every day we walked past the toy shop.  Every day I remember looking through the window at all the wonderful toys and wishing I could take them all home.  There was one particular toy that I liked above all the others and that was a model truck with a fuel tanker on the back.  It was red and had a long bonnet (hood) like the trucks in America and it said Texaco on the side.  I really loved that truck!  One evening I recall my Father coming home from work and smiling at my Mother, he reached into a bag and pulled out the toy truck that I had wanted for so long.  Writing about it now actually gives me goose bumps because I remember the excitement and joy of this unexpected gift.  I went to bed that night hoping that the morning would arrive quickly so that I could play with my new toy and show if off to my friends.

The emotions I experienced as a child can be used as a parallel to how humans react during the process of buying a new kitchen.  Adult consumers spend lots of time looking through shop windows, considering all the wonderful designs and products on display.  Nowadays the window is very large encompassing magazines, high street showrooms, celebrity product endorsements and the internet.  But even through this storm of information the modern kitchen consumer is usually able to identify a particular style or design that they like, one that fits their individual set of circumstances and reinforces their lifestyle choices.

After looking around at everything that is on offer, the modern kitchen consumer becomes excited at the prospect of having their new kitchen installed and is pleased by the fact that their peers will know they are “doing well enough” to afford a new kitchen.  They will want their chosen purchase to be reflective of their own style and taste and will look forward to showing it off to admiring visitors.  Their new purchase is actually reinforcing their social position and the dream of owning a new kitchen is igniting a childish excitement within them.

In contradiction to this idea some consumers believe that the development of a kitchen design is as simple as child’s play.  In the past there has been an epidemic underestimation of the true complexities of modern kitchen design.  Through hasty or “Free” design services the progressive impact of this functional product on domestic life has been overlooked and under appreciated; because of this, kitchen designers across the world have not received the credit that they deserve.

I have always said that there is a value to good design and I now think that consumers not only want it, they are demanding it.  The discipline of kitchen design is entering a new phase of its existence! Boundaries are now being pushed harder to deliver cutting edge concepts and value for money.  There is a real opportunity for the humble kitchen designer to step up to the plate and have a serious impact on everything around them including the surrounding architecture and interior design.  The kitchen is fast becoming a functional status symbol with clients now considering every element of the design to ensure they get enough bang for their buck!  The discipline of kitchen design is now so complex it is becoming more warmly accepted into the fold as a uniquely specialist design discipline.

So it becomes clear that lowly kitchen designers burden a great responsibility, one that reaches way beyond the idea of designing a functional easy to use product.  The kitchen designer now has to channel the childlike excitement of their client into every stroke of their pencil and burden the weight of their new found social acceptance with every draft of their design.  The kitchen designer now has to inspire the inner child within us creating the kind of playground stimulation that makes us long for the nights to go quickly so that we can spend some time within the space.  Just as a child receiving an unexpected gift the modern kitchen designer has the opportunity to provide joy and satisfaction for their clients and those individuals are now showing their appreciation in return!