The kitchen of the future will be hyper-connected, sustainable and multi-functional

The kitchen of the future will be a connected, multi-functional space that is radically different to the separate room of old, according a report released by the Silestone Institute.

Entitled ‘Global Kitchen: the home kitchen in the era of globalisation’, the report draws on knowledge from 17 distinguished experts from the worlds of design, cooking, domestic technology, sociology, nutrition and sustainability, as well as surveying over 800 kitchen studios across the world, to provide a view of what the kitchen of the future is likely to look like.

“Global Kitchen is an international project providing valuable insights into the kitchen of the future and aims to become an essential reference tool for professionals and consumers,” explained Santiago Alfonso, marketing vice president for the Cosentino Group, which the Silestone Institute is part of. “It creates the opportunity for multidisciplinary reflection to analyse the effect of globalisation on kitchen architecture and design, to determine how this space will develop over the next 25 years.”

Among the items the report predicts will be in the kitchens of the future are hydroponic crops to provide food with the shortest possible distance from ‘farm’ to plate; 3D food printers that would allow users to download and ‘print’ recipes; adjustable-height worktops embedded with digital surfaces and smart fridges complete with the ever-predicted smart screens.

The kitchen of the future as envisioned in the report: click to view full-size

Perhaps one of the primary insights drawn from the report is the changing role that the kitchen will play in the home. Rather than being an independent space used almost solely for cooking, it is expected that the kitchen will develop into a multi-functional space in all countries.

The kitchen as an independent room is predicted to disappear and considerations of emotional value will begin to be incorporated into the design as it further develops as a space for relaxing. Of the 842 kitchen professionals surveyed, 87% said that the kitchen would become more relevant as an activity and meeting place in the house.

Enabling this shifting role will largely rely on the development of the kitchen as a ‘smart’ room; hyper-connected and technologically advanced. In order to cement its new position as the centre of the home, the kitchen will begin to take connectivity and smart appliances into account with “mobile and wearable devices, and will not only make shopping and laundry easier, but ensure endless access to information from the Internet of Things.”

Smart appliances are likely to also make their presence felt, with worktops able to cook, make calls, broadcast TV and provide access to the Internet. And in case you wanted to cut down on the amount of shelf space being taken up by cooking books, these smart worktops may contain databases of recipes where chefs can guide you through the process.

Hydroponic plants, smart fridges, 3D food printers and digital worktops are among the technologies predicted to be common in the kitchens of the future. Images courtesy of Consento Group

Appliances are also likely to become more environmentally friendly, coming to rely on sustainable energy. According to the report, they are likely to be solar powered and will “be aligned with ‘Multi- R’ thinking – Rethink, Redesign, Repair, Reuse, Remanufacture, Recover.”

And speaking of light, Silestone predicts that your kitchen will be illuminated by smart lighting that varies according to the time of day, mood or even (somehow) the type of food being cooked.

Largely, the report is perhaps not all that surprising in its findings. Kitchens, and the appliances within them, have been getting smarter for a while so the next stages raised in the report seem like logical steps. It is maybe more relevant to consider the changing role of the kitchen in the home, and what this could mean for homes more broadly.

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The UK government is launching a fintech competition to help renters get on the property ladder

The UK government is offering £2 million to fintech developers who come up with a tool that lets renters record and share their payment data.

The Rent Recognition Challenge, which was first announced as part of the chancellors’ autumn budget, will task developers with finding a way to record payment data from Britain’s 11 million renters in a bid to improve their credit scores and ultimately help them to get a mortgage.

“Most lenders and Credit Reference Agencies are unable to take rental data into account, because they don’t have access to it.

“The Rent Recognition Challenge will challenge firms to develop an innovative solution to this problem and help to restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation,” said the economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay.

Economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay. Image courtesy of Chris McAndrew

The competition will provide an initial round of grant funding to six promising proposals to help turn their ideas into workable products.

A panel of leading figures from the Fintech sector will then whittle the six down to just a handful of teams who will receive further funding and support to bring their ideas to market.

“People’s monthly rent is often their biggest expense, so it makes sense for it to be recognised when applying for a mortgage. Without a good credit score, getting a mortgage can be a real struggle.”

Image courtesy of Jeff Djevdet

The government’s attempt to help more people out of private renting arrangements and into home ownership comes after Scottish Widows published a report that warned tomorrow’s pensioners will have to find huge amounts of money to pay ever-escalating rents to private landlords.

Scottish Widows projected one in eight retirees will be renting by 2032, which works out to three times the number renting today. It also said there is a £43bn gap between the income and savings people have now and what the rent bill will be in retirement.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dan Wilson Craw of campaign group Generation Rent said: “The common perception is that retirees either own their home outright or have a council tenancy, so the government will be in for a nasty shock as more of us retire and continue to rent from a private landlord.

“Many renters relying on pensions will qualify for housing benefit which will put greater strain on the public finances.”

The Rent Recognition Challenge will open to applications early in the New Year, and development will conclude in October 2018.