A kitchen is not a work of art

The kitchen should be a functional space, and isn't a work of art...

Author: Carl Weller

The kitchen should be a functional space, and isn’t a work of art…

The purity of design is a totally subjective notion. While certain individuals might be expected to champion the narrow band of design they have chosen to work in, it could be argued they are missing the bigger picture. They fail completely to see that the only true measure of a designer’s talent is the degree to which he or she has the ability to totally satisfy their client’s brief – including, of course, all aspects of both the form and function.

This is why those individuals that promote the use of a palette of bespoke, overpriced products to create an illusion of superiority are merely cupboard artists, while those “planners” that are able to respond to, and satisfy, their client’s brief with either bespoke or modular furniture (even from Ikea) are the true designers and masters of their craft.

What the cupboard artists seem to forget is that unlike the Mona Lisa, or the Unmade Bed, or the Angel of the North, a kitchen is not purely a work of art – it is not just a statement or something to boost the ego of its creator. It is a large piece of functional equipment that primarily needs to work – with its appearance and style being absolutely and totally secondary to its main purpose.

Just imagine how far James Dyson would have got with his vacuum cleaner if he had prioritised form over function. The resultant device, while probably looking quite stunning, would most likely not have had enough suck to pull the skin off a rice pudding and James Dyson would be somebody you would never even have heard of.

And so a kitchen, or a building or a bridge, or anything else for that matter that has a practical reason for its existence, can only ever hope to be considered as art when its creator has proved that first it is serving its primary function.

For that reason, to me, Sir Norman Foster is worth a million Damien Hirsts, as not only is the Millau viaduct a fantastic example of logical design and precision engineering at its best – it is also a piece of art that really works. And that’s a lot more than you can say for a pickled cow.