What will our kitchens be like in ten years? How will food delivery, storage, cooking and waste management change? IKEA has some predictions: they imagine a world of megacities, small-home living, water and energy scarcity and much more expensive food. (On the plus side, your food will easily arrive at your home via drones and self-driven vehicles.)
In collaboration with design firm IDEO and students in Sweden and the Netherlands, IKEA unveiled parts of 'Concept Kitchen 2025' at the recent Saloni design fair in Milan. The future kitchen they envision is based on 12 predictions for 2025 including:
- more than 60% of the world's population will be living in cities (in small homes)
- most of us will work from home
- an acceptance that water and energy resources are limited will drive more efficiency and less waste
- food costs will rise, possibly by as much as 40%
- home delivery of food items will replace a "weekly shop"
- we'll eat less red meat and more protein alternatives
- tastes will be more globally homogenous
Part of the exhibit included four prototypes of what a 2025 kitchen might look like to address these predictions:
Prototype #1: "A Table for Living"
Easily the flashiest of the four ideas, this concept turns your kitchen workspace into a tech-supported environment offering you advice on recipes you can make with a combination of ingredients and preparation tips via a camera and projector on the ceiling. Have tomatoes and potatoes (or tomahtoes and potahtoes?) and not sure what to make - your table suggests patatas bravas or gnocchi with tomato sauce.
Prototype #2: The Modern Pantry
With automated and more frequent food delivery, we can store less and waste less. The aesthetic design of this pantry is a nod to the market stall and the open shelving and transparent containers are a visual reminder of what we have (unlike a traditional refrigerator which hides our food). The shelves contain sensors that read a RFID sticker on the food packaging and maintain an ideal temperature for that food. Move the container to your table and it switches from cooling mode to cooking mode.
Prototype #3: Waste & Compost System
Anticipating higher levels of recycling, this prototype will take your recyclable materials, crush them, scan them and award you energy credits or debits. A composting system will turn organic waste into small pucks and reserve the leftover water for your houseplants.
Prototype #4: Water Treatment
This sink design includes two holes: tip it one way and the leftover water is considered "grey water" and reserved to water plants and clean the house. Tip it the other way and "black water" returns to the sewage system for treatment.
How does this vision for our future in the kitchen strike you? The focus on the environmental impact of food feels spot on although I'm having a hard time imagining a fridge-less kitchen. And will I be able to blink once for "Thai", twice for "pizza" and have my Seamless order delivered via drone, too?