What will the kitchen of the future look like, and, more importantly, what will it feel like to cook, eat, and socialize there?
Ten years in the future, the world will be a very different place. What does that mean for us, for the design of kitchens, and the people who make them – and how will we be able to live a sustainable life at home?
To find out, IKEA collaborated with IDEO and design students School of Industrial Design at the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre at Lund University, and the Industrial Design department at Eindhoven University of Technology. The students spent months researching people’s attitudes and ideas about cooking and eating, and IDEO designers guided them as they built concept kitchen products.
The Concept Kitchen 2025 doesn’t automate away personal choices, but rather facilitates mindfulness with embedded cues throughout the kitchen that subtly guide people toward being conscious of their actions and making informed decisions. In designing the prototypes, the following few concepts emerged.
The Modern Pantry encourages us to have a closer relationship with what we eat by storing food in transparent individual containers on open shelves rather than hiding it at the back of a fridge. The design makes it easy to be inspired by what’s on-hand rather than going out to buy more, and it also saves energy: Induction-cooling technology embedded into the shelves responds to RFID stickers on the food’s packaging in order to keep the containers at just the right temperature.
The Table For Living is designed to inspire people to be more creative with food and throw away less. At a loss for what to do with that leftover broccoli? Just place it on the table, and a camera recognizes what it is and projects recipes, cooking instructions, and a timer directly onto the surface. Set the timer for the amount of time you can spend preparing the meal, and the table suggests recipes that can be completed in the window you have available. The table is a nifty solution for a smaller urban dwelling because it’s multimodal: Hidden induction coils instantly cool the surface when not in use, so it’s adjustable for working, cooking, or eating.
The Mindful Sink pushes us to be more conscious of our water consumption with a basin that pivots left and right. It must be tipped to one side to drain toxic, or “black” water, and the other for safe “grey” water, which can be filtered and used in a dishwasher or as nourishment for the cooking herbs that grow above the sink.
The Thoughtful Disposal system is a response to the overuse of landfills, and reminds us of exactly what we’re throwing away. Users manually sort recycling from rubbish, and recyclables are then crushed, vacuum-packed, and labeled for pick-up, earning credits for the conscientious (and debits for the wasteful).
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