It's fairly safe to assume that the concept of the work triangle - a set distance between stove, sink and fridge - has been around for centuries. It has been the mainstay of kitchen design for decades, and there have even been rules set down as to just how many steps someone should take to cook an evening meal. But what if that hampers rather than helps householders? Fisher & Paykel recently launched the concept of the 'Social Kitchen', the idea that kitchens can be designed around consumers and households rather than a rigid plan. The idea is to free householders from the work triangle, and to make kitchens into places where people feel free to live and interact rather than just complete domestic tasks. "What we mean by 'Social Kitchen' is looking at the changing nature of the kitchen and how appliance design can make that a better space and a better working and social environment," says Fisher & Paykel's head of design Mark Elmore. The kitchen of Carl Koppenhagen and Natalia Schamroth, owners and head chefs of The Engine Room restaurant, exemplifies the 'Social Kitchen' concept perfectly. Carl and Natalia's main consideration was to make the kitchen a place where they could not only cook for themselves and test recipes for the restaurant, but interact with friends and family. To do this, they relocated the kitchen to the front of their home and installed Fisher & Paykel modular appliances to create a space of maximum flexibility and functionality.
Firstly, it was vital to have enough bench space for them both to work. To facilitate this, Natalia and Carl chose a Fisher & Paykel cooker with twin 60cm ovens and six-burner gas cooktop rather than a traditional 90cm chef's oven. Thus, one of them could be creating a robust spicy savoury while the other cooks a delicate cake or souffle. The cooker is integrated into the island, which means the couple never turn their backs on guests while tending the oven. A powerful Fisher & Paykel extractor above the hob is carefully placed so it doesn't obscure eye contact with guests during conversations. But what about all the dishes? Along the back wall are two deep square sinks, and just below bench height resides a Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer™. "When entertaining we do a half-load of the prep dishes on a fast cycle, so it is all put away before our guests arrived," Natalia says. "When it's just the two of us we can do a small load without wasting water and power. Then when we entertain, the Double DishDrawer™ can easily handle all the mess." The appliance the couple is most excited about is the Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer™ placed near the end of the island, close to the dining table. Natalia and Carl can adjust the temperature and use the CoolDrawer™ to hold anything from fruit and vegetables to bottles of wine. "Rather than having one big fridge, and everyone trying to get in and out of it at once, people can help themselves from the CoolDrawer™ and it frees up space for food in the fridge," Carl says. The CoolDrawer™ can also be transformed into a freezer to accommodate home-made ice cream or frozen desserts for parties on hot summer days. With everything complete, the couple is loving their new space. "We were just desperate to have a kitchen that was totally social," says Natalia. "Being able to put this kitchen in place has really changed our lives."