How might we design a kitchen that is adaptable to the changing user's needs?
This project has been developed in cooperation with the kitchen manufacturer Zeyko from Mönchweiler. The first-semester course of the degree program „product design and process development“ was asked to rethink today‘s kitchen concepts and to develop an innovative product that should be shown at the IMM (cologne furniture fair).
Zyko is a small kitchen manufacturer from the Black Forest, which has existed since 1933 and has always stood for ecologically valuable materials, innovative kitchens, and a love of detailed workmanship.
We were a team of fifteen. Everyone had a different professional background. We were engineers, designers, and business graduates. Due to the clash of different disciplines and understandings of product development, we firstly needed to organize ourselves and make a solid project planning. As an interdisciplinary team, we wanted to take advantage of the different skills of each one.
I observed visitors in various museums in Cologne. Through that I wanted to see the natural setting and understand how people use audioguides.
Zeyko asked us to imagine how our dream kitchen in 20 years should look like. The goal was to design a complete kitchen concept that can be produced in the next years.
We conducted quantitative bigger research with an online questionnaire, where we wanted to understand what role a kitchen plays in the different lifestyles. We saw a big shift between the different generations. As a naturally given shift the needs and expectations changing within the years. We analyzed different lifestyles, such as a young student living in shared apartments or singles in a small one-room flat or big families living in a house. One common value a lot of people were sharing, is the requirement that the kitchen needs to be a social meeting space. Food connects people and it is the perfect place to experience social interactions.
In our life, we can move to different cities or enlarge our living space. The German pays around 20.000 euros on average for a complete kitchen and it lasts on average around 20 years. That is a lot of money and a big financial commitment. A kitchen is not an easy to handle furniture piece. It is installed permanently into space and very few people are staying in one place for 20 years. So our goal was to design a concept that adapts to the different needs of people during life.
Not every team member was familiar with the different types of creative design methods. Because of that, we conducted several creative sessions to unleash the potential ideas and creative concepts within the team.
The modular kitchen system allows the customer to expand their kitchen really easy, by buying new modules. The system allows people to modify functionality depending on their current needs. Do you move to a smaller apartment? Does your family expect a child? Or do need more space for cooking? This product is easy to assemble and disassemble.
The project was presented with Zeyko at the Living Kitchen, which took place at International Furniture Fair (IMM) in Cologne on January 14, 2019. The presentation took place on the first official day. Trade visitors, press, and sales representatives, and other guests were invited to listen to our presentation