open shelving units, preferably no wall cupboards, hidden extractor solutions - at the Eurocucina fair in Milan, one thing became clear above all: What modern kitchens no longer want is to be just a kitchen!

Every two years, coinciding with the large Milan furniture fair, the Eurocucina provides an overview of the world’s leading kitchen trends. In April, 165 exhibitors together with the neighbouring FTK (Functions for the kitchen) fair, presented design ideas and technical innovations for the future kitchen. The show featured impressive set-ups of huge kitchen and living spaces with a multitude of natural materials and plant decorations for healthy cooking and life close to nature, packed with networked and often barely visible high-tech solutions. And it became clear that there is one thing a modern kitchen does not want: to be just a kitchen!

Kitchen converts into workshop

The limited living space and the associated fusion of living areas make the kitchen an all-round talent designed from wall to wall that can turn into a visible work station – for both cooks and laptop heroes. As with a workbench, the “tools” in the form of cooking utensils and accessories are hung up ready to hand in open shelf systems, which after use either disappear into the worktop at the touch of button or are completely tucked away behind large front elements.

Underfloor solutions for extractor systems that meet the trend for homely comfort are also in demand. And those who dare, can now completely dispense with classic wall cabinets.

The contemporary kitchen aims at establishing itself as a timeless holistic furnishing solution and, with its high level of expertise in materials and technology, is competing with the other furnishing elements. Light plays a major role, is used very emotionally and extensively with app-controlled LED technology and transforms the room from a workspace into a lounge in the evening.

Vertical wood grain

Although the open shelving elements frequently interrupt the kitchen image, the minimalist basic idea of the cubic form is retained. Nevertheless, it becomes clear that the horizontal line is not only broken up by open elements: Also, the wood grain on the façades of modern kitchens runs vertically again. It seems that there is somewhat more emphasis on the vertical line as a whole again.

Thin material thicknesses define the visual appearance and edges of work tops, side panels and shelves. The materials used, such as metal, glass, ceramics and natural stone are often “imagined around the corner”, by being used both on the work tops and vertically on adjacent fronts or even on the top-drawer trims. Integrated handle solutions or handle-free variants are still in demand.

Wood is used as a veneered or solid front and its strong structures demonstrate the rustic and emotional counterpart to the reduced style elements in modern kitchens.

Casual on runners or legs

The trend colour black is often complemented by natural stone, oak or walnut. Brass and gold set noble accents. But silver, chrome and mirror panels are also in vogue again and where they previously embellished home accessories, they now float into the kitchen.

What else caught my attention: Several new kitchen models stand on runners or legs, thus also losing their classic built-in character and appearing more casual than their weighty predecessors. Only the necessary connections are of course quite challenging, especially in cooking islands. The solution: In the centre of the island, the connections are routed upwards or downwards as inconspicuously as possible via a channel, so that they do not catch the eye of the observer in the normal “floating” kitchen view.

In general, the technology is intelligent and integrated as discreetly as possible. At the touch of a button or via an App, the entire kitchen island changes its working height for additional comfort for the user. The oven is connected with the extractor via Bluetooth and indicates when it needs to increase its activity. While on the move, checking the contents of the refrigerator to see what has to be added to the shopping cart is also no longer an issue with the corresponding App.

The kitchen is thus intelligently networked and provides ideas on suitable recipes on the worktop – even before the lady of the house notices that she is hungry.

This post was first published here:BM Online