Blog #5 – Post Wartime
By: Valerie Cochrane
Contemporary Culture & Design
Focus: Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow
The kitchen was first known as a wife’s workshop. She would spend hours every day prepping and slaving over a hot stove to create the perfect meal for her husband. She as well had other household duties to attend to such as; taking care of the children, gardening, and laundry and cleaning the house. This was the normal way of life in the 1950’s. After the end of World War II couples wanted to reconnect and start building a life as well as a family together. During the wartime efforts woman left their home duties to help their country. This meant that many chores and meals were not as highly prepared and accomplished. Around 1953 kitchens started to become less compact and more open concept (see Figure 1).
Instead of being confined to one small tight space, the idea was to provide lots of space that combined many functions and features within it. This is where the “Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow” concept was developed in 1957. Frigidaire was the company that started to really develop this concept into a futuristic view. Incorporating the open concept kitchen as well as new technologies that increased the efficiency of cooking. It was no longer needed for woman to organize their daily itinerary around the prep duration and cook time of the meal. Fridges were designed to keep food chilled at a desired temperature without freezing them. Ovens concepts were designed to be able to see the food cooking while you are tending to another activity (see Figure 2).
The rotating fridge’s purpose was to allow the milk man to deliver the milk jugs and provide it to every house hold without the health risk factors of leaving it on the door step. It would go directly into the fridge from the outside of the house so that it could be rotated around so that anyone who needed milk would have it accessible to them. Another feature that was designed to be implemented into the “Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow” was a lazy Susan glass fridge (see Figure 3) that allowed you to view the contents within the fridge without having to open it up.
All these ideas were wonderful to an extent. Some things died down with time such as the milk man delivering milk each door step. Now a days we travel to the grocery store to acquire our own food selection. The glass fridge to me seems a bit strange though. Not everyone can keep a clean fridge so having it displayed to your guests could be unappealing. I do agree with the open concept kitchen style. They made use of space and storage to be efficient and functional. Although the “Dream Kitchen of Tomorrow” was mainly designed to benefit the ladies of the household it has now progressed to being beneficial for everyone. The goal behind building a new kitchen built to fit our life seems like a perfect concept. People really tried to adapt the kitchen around our lives but they seemed to think of ways in which they think we will use it opposed to how people would actually use it. Some of the futuristic equipment that was designed was not realistic or practical. Other things on the other hand were, which allowed for us to make progress with kitchen designs. Kitchen design concepts keep changing between multiple styles and functions. Everyone is different which makes having different layouts such as open concept and galley kitchens useful in our society today. People want to have a space designed around their needs, functions and wants rather than being told what they should have and how to use it.