The backdrop to our daily life
reading time: 6 minutes
Driven by economic needs and socio-cultural, aesthetic and functional changes, the sharing of home spaces has now become trendy
In order to understand how, over time, we have narrowed and then widened the limits of domestic spaces, we are immediately assisted by the imagery of cinema, literature and specialized magazines: they are sources of inspiration and aspiration, fragments that record, or even anticipate, the mosaic of cultural and aesthetic changes that shape our society.
In interior architecture, the kitchen, along with the bathroom, is the room that best reflects these transformations, a yardstick for the social and economic changes of the last half century.
For years a mere utility area, often relegated to confined spaces or the basement of large buildings, it has always retained the emotional role of authenticity and vitality, a room for welcoming and gathering, a warm and maternal place charged with symbolic relational meaning.
Continuously evolving, the interior layout has recently adopted a new language that embraces the concept of a Living Kitchen, i.e. a dynamic and open living area in which two rooms – the kitchen and the living room – merge and perfectly coexist, integrated and central to the living space, in balanced and varied solutions designed to create a sense of greater freedom from a psychological standpoint and increased space from a visual perspective.
Undoubtedly partly caused by gentrification and the consequent reduction in the size of apartments due to the high cost of buildings, especially in large cities, this desire for a single large multifunctional room is above all the result of the need for fluid living, a concept that is already widespread and that the forced stay at home during the Covid emergency has further highlighted. In the kitchen, just as in the living room, you work, surf, play, eat, work out and above all share. To be hyggeligt– happy in our daily lives, to use a popular Danish term – we have to focus on simple things and share common pleasures, such as kneading bread or a cake together. In the era of sharing, which aims to reassess the increasingly obsolete concept of ownership, why not share, in addition to your car or bicycle, the space for preparing and consuming food?
Sharing with a hint of ego, showing off and demonstrating your culinary skills. Thus, cooking food, which makes us feel like great chefs at least for an hour – partly thanks to the internet which provides us with tutorials and apps to overcome any stumbling blocks – becomes a theatrical performance before an audience of family members or friends who observe and comment on it from the comfort of their sofa. After all, televised culinary talent shows have accustomed us to this spectacularization so the central element of the kitchen island becomes the secular altar on which the transformative process takes place.
For its part, the manufacturing industry, which is adaptable and quick to interpret new needs, has produced innovative materials, hybrid modular systems that can be split up, sectional and extremely customizable. They are so sophisticated and versatile that they can be used as transitional elements from one room to another. Following almost inexhaustible trends, each element that makes up the living room and kitchen is designed to be arranged in the way that best suits personal needs. Kitchens are super-equipped facilities and appliances, which are increasingly technological, are controlled remotely, camouflaged behind the wall doors of the living room or left visible, imperceptible due to their slim, elegant design. Or they can even be mobile elements with no technical constraints, working just as well on the kitchen counter as on the coffee table beside the armchair.
Material research plays an important role in integrating spaces. New innovative and aesthetically impeccable ceramic surfaces create rooms with a strong personality characterised by captivating colours and patterns. Or they revive and modernise traces of memory and tradition and, thanks to digital printing and increasingly cutting-edge production processes, reproduce the rarest types of wood, marble and stone with extraordinary definition on large slabs with a minimal thicknesses, creating a surprising sense of continuity in the home. Moreover, stoneware’s practicality and ease of maintenance frees us from the constraints of natural materials.
This element, simplification, is fundamental for adding a step in the pursuit of our personal state of ‘hyggelitude’ in the whirlwind of daily life.