We’ve Come a Long Way Since the “Frankfurt Kitchen”

What is the “Frankfurt kitchen”? you say. This is the Frankfurt kitchen:

photo credit: core77

photo credit: core77

In Germany in 1926, an award winning Austrian architect named Margarete Lihotzky was commissioned to help solve the housing crisis in post war Germany. Using many of the best-use-of-space and work efficiency principles popularized by American Christine Frederick, who herself had studied Frederick Taylor’s industrial time and motion experiments, Lihotsky went on to design the world’s first mass produced fitted kitchen, meeting the demands of a mass housing project in Frankfurt fired by a utopian vision but limited by tiny floor plans and tight budgets.

A miracle of functional clarity, Lihotsky’s small kitchen (1.9m x 3.4m), inspired by the cramped but efficient kitchens employed on railway trains, introduced the concepts of fitted cabinets and a continuous worktop, and contained “a pull-down ironing board, which rests one end on the draining board; beautiful, built-in food containers that allow the cook to pour out flour, say, with one arm movement; mini work surfaces that pull out like drawers; a draining board on hinges, so it can be angled to flow down into the sink or stowed away against the wall”.

Read more on the Frankfurt kitchen here on core77’s series on the history of the kitchen, in this Guardian article on modernism, and on MoMA’s Counter Space: The Frankfurt Kitchen.

photo credit: core77

photo credit: core77

The Frankfurt kitchen was truly inspired and though it was purpose built for limited space in a working-class post-war German housing project, it changed the future of the modern western kitchen, influencing kitchen design for the next forty years.

In the 60’s and 70’s, however, the kitchen returned as the centre and hearth of the home—the matrix of heat, light and warmth—and, once again, became one of the largest rooms in the house, often serving as kitchen, dining room and sitting room in one.

Today, with a return to smaller dwellings, both design philosophies must be applied—a kitchen shall be efficient and ergonomic but also inviting, full of natural light and serve as the main social gathering place in the home.

At Smallworks, we work at accomplishing just that.

Here are some examples of our Smallworks’ kitchens on our Pintrest site.

By | 2016-11-16T08:26:16+00:00 May 28th, 2013|News & Trends in Small House Living|

One Comment

  1. BYK June 5, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    Excellent post. The Frankfurt kitchen is truly an icon in the kitchen business and even these days we still see some kitchens modelled on this such as mass produced studio apartments.

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