If there’s anything that Andrew Shu knows, it’s about building the right kitchen. And, if you’re wondering, it’s more than just about materials and finishings, and appliances. “Any kitchen should be planned around the activities of the user,” explains the CEO of Kitch (M) Sdn Bhd. “That’s not necessarily the house owner, but the person who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, preparing food.”
Just as important is the design of the kitchen. “There’s this concept developed by (Austrian manufacturer of furniture hardware) Blum called ‘Dynamic Space’,” Shu says. “There are a few basic styles of kitchens that are quite popular and, within these layouts, there are zones. Each one represents the type of products you put there or the activity you do there.”
How these different zones fit together is based on usage. “For example, you have a place where you store your plates and utensils, and, logically speaking, you should position this right next to the dishwasher or sink. Likewise, there’s also what we call the preparation zone, where you prepare your food. On one side of this, you should have, say, your spices and knives. Logically, on the other side should be your cooking zone, and, relative to that is where you keep your pots and pans.”
In that sense, Blum’s ‘Dynamic Space’ is a logic-based design of how you should plan your kitchen. You want to maximise your work flow and minimise movement, and it’s therefore ideal to have a kitchen that’s properly planned and laid out. “The kitchen should be an enjoyable experience – being in it shouldn’t be a chore,” Shu points out.
The modern kitchen is also a different experience. “Nowadays, soft-closing mechanisms are pretty standard for storage spaces; even self-opening mechanisms, where drawers open with just a tap of your fingers are also available,” Shu says. “Increasingly, appliances come with built-in menus and even allow you to programme your favourite dishes into them – all you need is just a touch of a button. We even have pyrolytic ovens that are self-cleaning!”
All this convenience means that the kitchen is also a more quiet space. “If you remember, kitchens used to be noisy places, with lots of bangs and clatter. Today, they can be a very peaceful experience, which helps make working in them fun. And it should be fun – after all, if someone preparing food doesn’t enjoy being in it, then you’re not likely to get the best-tasting food on the table!”
Studies have shown that we use our kitchens more often than other rooms in a home, and it has been proven that the refrigerator is the most accessed appliance in a house. “If you notice, there’s almost always someone in the kitchen, preparing food, perhaps, or opening the fridge to get a snack or a drink.”
Also, the burgeoning food culture in Malaysia makes the kitchen even more central to everyday life. “We’re becoming increasingly aware of food and, more importantly, making food at home. We’re inspired by cooking shows and try to replicate what we’ve seen in our own kitchens,” Shu says. “We’re also entertaining more at home and, for that, we need a nice kitchen – maybe just as a showplace but also, more often, as a space where we can share the fruits of preparing a meal.”
With functionality covered, Shu encourages careful thought when it comes to equipping the kitchen. “The appliances you need are based on the kind of person you are. If you’re not the type to stay home, then you’ll need a minimum of, say, a cooker and a hob, so that you can at least boil water.” Built-in coffee machines are useful as well as are refrigerated cellars if you’re into wine. “Vintec, for example, has a wide range of cellars that cater to different needs and spaces,” Shu explains. “There’s even a model that allows you to set different temperatures based on the wines you have.”
In the end, any kitchen reflects the person who uses it. You might like to fill it up with Smeg’s colourful appliances or retain the more traditional sombre tones, but, ultimately, it’s about making useful to you and your family.
To design your perfect kitchen, visit kitch.com.my