Before starting the design process, the most important thing is to understand how the kitchen will be used. This is a basic approach that any architect should take. A kitchen cannot be just a residual space or a space to be defined at the end of a project. Designers need to understand that a kitchen has multiple flows and different work areas that need to be integrated throughout the project.
Beyond the style or design required by the customer, it is important to define a module to optimize performance and minimize the production costs of the different parts. In this way, the measurements of all the components of a kitchen are established before defining the space that will house them.
Work areas and flow
There are numerous studies that have defined 5 general areas in a kitchen:
Pantry area: space to store food, preserves, refrigerator
Storage area: appliances, utensils, kitchen utensils.
Sink area: cleaning area
Prep area – ideally a large counter for work
Cooking area: ceramic hob and oven.
The pantry, sink, preparation and cooking areas are permanently combined and linked to the process of preparing a meal in the most efficient way possible. The sink, preparation and cooking zones produce a narrow triangular work zone that leads to different types of kitchens.
Types of cuisine
This is related to the space for which the design is intended. The most commonly used types include:
Linear (or two parallel lines)
In relation to these settings, it is important to understand how the different flows of motion work. The “work triangle” must be kept fluid, avoiding crossed movements when more than one person is working. At this point it is always good to ask yourself “How would I like to use my kitchen?” or “What do I like or dislike the most about my current kitchen?” In this way we can design our spaces with more meaning.
At the beginning of the design and development of floor plans, it is good to remember that the kitchen is not just a casual association of a series of furniture and appliances, but is composed of modules that must follow a manufacturing logic. If the design is unclear or does not follow reasonable building parameters, it can lead to conflicts between the architect and the furniture manufacturer.
To avoid problems, modulation should be a design condition so that no accessories can be misplaced. The devices must be inserted in a single module, to avoid placing them between two different modules. For example, you cannot place a dishwasher, oven or hob between two modules. In that case, you will have no other place to put them (since there would be no support) and this makes it difficult to install other elements such as plumbing and electrical conduits.
One of the biggest mistakes in the design process occurs when looking for symmetry. For example, when designing a base cabinet, architects tend to draw vertical lines to indicate a separation of a module and its doors. The different sized parts are left together to find symmetry.
It is essential to understand that the more times you repeat the exact size of the module, the easier it will be to build and install the cabinets. The standardization of measurements is 100% related to the cost of the final project and is the difference between a feasible project and one that is not.
The measurements are always related to the electrical appliances and, in some cases, to the hardware store available on the market with measurements already designed to adapt to kitchen furniture.
The standard widths of a module are variable and depend on the use that each module has. They generally tend to work in round sizes of 30cm, 45cm, 50cm, 60cm, 75cm, 80cm, 90cm, 100cm; all measurements are considered from the outer edge to the outer edge of the module.
When you think of appliances, the modules are generally 60cm and 90cm for microwave ovens, hobs and drains. An oven, for example, measures just under 60 cm and is designed to fit perfectly in a 60 cm space including the sides. In the case of the sink, it depends on the drilling you need to make in the countertop and whether you intend to mount the sink above or below the countertop. There are models of sinks that range from 30cm to 90cm wide. The distance between the module and the equipment should be a few more centimeters. It does not matter if the stump section of the sink is supported by one or more modules if it is mounted on the countertop.