The kitchen of the future was going to be so high-tech. Frigidaire’s Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow had it all; an IBM punch card recipe file, automatic dispensing and online TV ordering. And that’s not all – read on as we take a look at several extraordinary retro-futuristic kitchens to see how they’ve withstood the test of time.
From a completely hallucinogenic 1956 promo film for the Frigidaire Dream Kitchen:
“Just like a man, you give him a break, and you end up in the kitchen baking a cake. But this was a kitchen like none I had seen, put a card in the slot and onto the screen comes a picture of just how your dish will look; It has all the ingredients you need to cook. No need for the bride to feel tragic, the rest is pushbutton magic! So whether you bake or broil or stew, the Frigidaire kitchen does it all for you!”
The kitchen sequence starts at about 3:30, but the whole thing is a trip. More in 1957 Frigidaire Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow – in Czech
Libby Owens Ford’s Transforming Kitchen
A few years earlier, Libby Owens Ford built a pre-punch card kitchen that has a lot more relevance to today. It had a very clever lift top lid over the built-in appliances so that when it was not being used, it looked like fine furniture, sort of a transformer kitchen.
Underneath those counters, everything from waffle irons to toasters were hidden, all built-in and curvy and sleek. The sink is operated by foot pedals, still a very clever idea. Google has an extraordinary set of images of this kitchen, all labelled “for personal non-commercial use only,” so look at them there. More in TreeHugger: Kitchen of Tomorrow from 1943
The RCA Whirlpool Kitchen
The future of the kitchen was built around the computer, as in this RCA Whirlpool kitchen. It even had a cross between a Roomba and R2D2 running across the floor, shown in the video above.
The 1967 Philco Ford Kitchen
But perhaps the greatest kitchen of the future was the 1967 Philco Ford wonder, where they cross Michael Pollan with Hal 9000 to give you a kitchen that watches your diet (no cheeseburger for you!), and provides a balanced meal of real ingredients delivered by a conveyor belt. There is no dishwasher; plates are extruded as required and thrown out after. Nice Saarinen table with Thonet Chairs, too.
“The instant society of tomorrow. A society rich in leisure and taken for granted comfort. At the turn of the next century, most food will be frozen and in individual portions. The computer will keep a running inventory of all foodstuffs and suggest daily menus based on the nutritional needs of the family. When the meals have been selected, the various portions are fed automatically into the microwave oven for a few seconds of de-thawing or warming.” More in TreeHugger: The Kitchen of the Future, 1967
Today’s Kitchen of the Future
But what will the kitchen of the future really look like? Perhaps Toronto architect Donald Chong nailed it with his model kitchen, designed for the Interior Design Show in Toronto a couple of years ago.
It is designed around the principle that “Small Fridges Make Good Cities”. Donald Chong asks: “Can the choices we make in our homes, mak a difference in our neighbourhoods? Might our mainstreets be that much more vibrant if we relied less on driving out to the box store supermarkets?” This concept space aims to heighten the experience of the urban harvest where seasonality, once again, can resume its place in architecture and the city.
That is a kitchen for the future.
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