What does the kitchen of the future look like? To answer that question, IKEA invited Industrial Design students from TU/e and their fellow students from Lund in Sweden to use all their creative freedom. The result, featuring the input of 16 Eindhoven student projects, is the IKEA Concept Kitchen 2025.
Pride of place in the futuristic ‘concept kitchen’ is a dining table that also serves as a sink unit, weighing scales and kitchen cooker. The wooden tabletop has a visual detection system that automatically recognizes the ingredients placed on the table and suggestions are projected for relevant dishes and menus. Users can also weigh out their ingredients on the table and prepare them using inductive cooking.
The vision of the Eindhoven Industrial Design students is a perfect match for IKEA’s own vision, as shown by the presentations of the concepts. "The table incorporates ideas from a number of Industrial Design students", explains Jelle Stienstra, PhD candidate and supervisor of the students. "Then the concepts were worked out further by IKEA together with the renowned international design bureau IDEO. Two of our Master’s students, Vincent van Rheden and Vleer Doing, were recruited for this project by IDEO."
The students’ design philosophy is reflected in the way the cooking function is integrated. The wooden tabletop has an inductive coating, which the user can operate by moving closer or further away. So instead of manually adjusting the gas flame, you can simply move the pan further away to reduce the heat if you want to cook gently for a while, or move it closer for faster cooking.
"There was a lot of interest from the Italian media. That’s good, but for me the fact that a company like IKEA has adopted our ideas and responds positively to the vision of Industrial Design is even more important", says Stienstra.
The IKEA kitchen of the future is now on show at the Expo 2015 in Milan until 31 October. The World Expo has the theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.