Designing outside the triangle, Mark Elmore, Fisher & Paykel

By Matt Balmer
July 11, 2019

Mark Elmore, general manager, design at Fisher & Paykel is interested in the sociological and psychological ways in which kitchens have changed over the years.

The so-called kitchen triangle is now redundant. Gone are the days when work in the kitchen was seen as a chore to be done as efficiently as possible, usually by only one person. The kitchen has become our studio for creating and socialising – it’s the social hub.a

The changing nature of today’s kitchen provides designers with opportunities to innovate and develop multiple right answers — after all, there is not one size that fits all. In today’s kitchen we create, we experiment: the kitchen is now our metaphorical ‘shed’ where we tinker, perhaps making it up as we go along, perhaps following a recipe.

As appliance manufacturers, we have had a look at what we can do to respond to these trends. We have started to separate the components. Now it is possible to have a multi-temperature drawer for drinks by the dining table, perhaps a dishwasher for crockery by the sink and one for glasses by the bar. We also need to consider where do we want the vegetables, where do we want the utensils, where do we want the freezer?

As kitchens evolve to be more like lounge spaces, the technology is becoming more embedded. Kitchen cabinets are looking more like furniture placed in the centre of a room and we have made sure that our appliances integrate seamlessly. Domestic appliances are required to be multidisciplinary, not only performing multiple functions but also working with different people with differing skills.

Design Freedom

In the professional kitchen it is the chef that is the master, whereas in the home kitchen the technology sometimes has to work harder to make us look good. The amateur at home can have little knowledge and, with more children engaging with food, health and diet, the technology needs to be simple, obvious and suitable for small, large and elderly hands. It’s not just about physical ergonomics but also about cognitive ergonomics; it’s about how appliances make us feel.