Kitchen Rewind
Architect and Interiors India|September 2019
MODERN KITCHENS ARE TEMPERED WITH NOSTALGIC VIBES – FROM WOOD TO INTRICATE, EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNS THAT ARE MAKING A HUGE COMEBACK
Carol Ferrao

When cooking is no longer seen as a chore, but a passion – even an expression of the self (all thanks to the Masterchef franchise) – the kitchen ambience is bound to reflect it. Consumers, today, are inspired by ideas on Pinterest and can’t wait to recreate the same magic in their urban Indian homes. Indian as well as European kitchen brands in the market are responding to these needs by offering chic modular kitchen solutions in a variety of styles and finishes. Irrespective of budget, there is a kitchen solution provider for everyone.

Kitchen manufacturers and suppliers are noticing how the new crop of consumers are dictating the trends in this segment. “The new-age entrepreneurs are experimental,” points out Alok Duggal, director of Nolte India. “They prefer a kitchen which is technologically amped-up. We saw the rise in the last couple of years, where the consumers were clear about what they wanted and were conscious of the material to be used and preferred a natural finish.” Currently, Duggal mentions, there is a greater demand for eco-friendly materials.

From an open kitchen with built-in appliances to a lounge-style set-up where one can socialise, personalisation is becoming an essential part of the life of millennials, says Vaishali Lahoti Shah, assistant general manager-Design Team, Godrej Interio. Kitchens are no more limited to women, she adds, but are seen as a gender-neutral space where one can socialise and celebrate, and Godrej Interio’s Island, as well as the L-shaped layouts, are addressing this shift in mindset.

“Kitchens have evolved from being a clandestine part of a home to a communal area,” agrees Sanjeev Agrawal, founder, and chairman, Orvi. As more kitchens abandon being restricted within four walls, statement backsplashes are becoming all the rage, resulting in kitchen design that is more attractive and inviting than ever. “Whether it’s a play of textures, designs or colours, surfaces will help create a design balance and make kitchens more alluring and sociable,” advises Agrawal.

Minimalist trends and neutral surfaces are slowly phasing out. According to Harshal Mundhe, senior product manager – Kitchens, Häfele India, kitchens are now adapting to earthier and darker colours, as well as open storage space. “Instead of white, a lot of designers now prefer to use darker cabinets with woodgrains. Closed cabinets are complemented with an open shelving system or glass doors with profiles so that the design offers openness and an illusion of space. In the area of materials, designers are inclined to use materials as thin as 8mm. This also helps them to use stones as shutters without straining the hardware and compromising the functionality,” elabotates Mundhe.

Along with aesthetically appealing décor, Indian consumers still seek the most practical kitchen solution. “Indian kitchens are primarily handled by domestic help, so the only demand that we get is to make a kitchen which is durable, robust and easily maintainable along with design aesthetics,” points out Chiranjiv Singh, founder, CJ Living. In terms of aesthetics, Singh adds, new finishes in metallic, shimmer and Corian – which were not easily available earlier – are a dominant trend right now and are providing an edge over other finishes.

There is also a return to classic solutions in the otherwise saturated, modular kitchen market. Avijit Marwah, director, EvoWood, recently unveiled solid wood kitchens and has found that the Indian market is, once again, receptive towards this solution. The only thing preventing this style of kitchen so far has been the void in supply of good quality of wood, he feels. “Solid wood kitchens target the premium category, hence this market has a huge scope. A lot of customers, today, like to go for veneers which are less durable than actual solid wood. Due to the contraction and expansion in wood, people are scared to use wood in kitchens with sophisticated hardware systems.” EvoWood aims to change this perception with their engineered wood solutions. “Engineered solutions in solid wood for kitchens can overcome these issues completely, which will lead to a huge demand,” believes Marwah.

TRENDING STYLES

Talking about specific trends, Shah explains that, while minimalism and rose gold were last year’s trends, this year's vintage look and wooden finish are being preferred. “Something that is a perfect blend of the classic, natural wooden finish with functionality that is perfectly suited for Indian cooking styles,” she adds. Textured surfaces (“with functionality being the most important aspect”) and materials such as glass, wood, wood substitutes, artificial stones, and metal will define kitchen renovation this year, according to her.

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