We recently visited New York and visited the Museum of Modern Art to peruse the many wonderful exhibits they had running. One installation – Designing Modern Women – caught our eye as it contained a very special kitchen…
Originally placed within an apartment in the renowned Modernist designed Unité d’Habitation, this kitchen was designed specifically “for the modern woman of the time”. Designed by Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier, this kitchen represents one of the first times a kitchen has been thoroughly designed and styled to be a beautiful part of a home, rather than merely built to be functional like a chemistry lab.
Made around 1952, it is a rather tight squeeze by today’s standards. However, the kitchen does feature specific areas for storing, preparing and cooking food. The storage solutions included utilising the vertical space by using a unique pot rack in the upper cabinets to hang cookware for ease of access, and a hollow dresser housing cabinets for dinnerware, whilst a low worktop has been integrated onto the other side. The dresser also featured sliding upper panels to allow dishes of French cuisine to pass through. This small kitchen also contained three ceramic tiled boards embedded within the worktops for placing hot pans on. Although compact, the entire kitchen was about maximising the usability of the available space in a stylish and elegant way. The beginning of function and form within the kitchen.
The post-war urban kitchen was truly ground-breaking for modern architecture and design, providing a stylish kitchen for all families. The simple and sleek modern design are still seen in kitchens today whilst the innovative use of space and colour continues to inspire.