For many, the biggest turn-off of small-space living
is the kitchen, or lack thereof. No, it isn’t that you have spend five whole minutes transforming the bed into a couch when company comes over or that you get ready for work every morning in a bathroom that’s just a touch larger than a phone booth
. It’s that you’re living with minimal cabinet space, a mini-fridge, and nowhere to display your fancy Italian coffee accoutrement; it's the reality that in most tiny apartments, cooking — and entertaining — can be really
And in many instances, micro-apartment developments, although heavy on communal amenities
, don’t exactly encourage en-suite cookery. However sleek and cleverly designed, these are more or less pint-sized crash pads geared for car-less social butterflies and chronic take-outers who don’t require a full range of kitchen appliances; they’re apartments meant for young professionals who work late and don’t mind existing in an extended state of dorm-dom.
GE, on the other hand, has come to the conclusion that some folks who are gravitating toward petite living spaces might want it all: the dramatically downsized footprint and the ability to comfortably cook a decent meal in the evening. And as GE points out, this isn't just the case with Gen Y’ers but also with Baby Boomers who have decided to ditch the super-sized confines of suburbia, shed some square-footage, and head to the city.
Explains Lou Lenzi, director of industrial design for GE Appliances:
As we watch what’s happening in the U.S., there’s a clear trend toward smaller, more efficient living spaces. There will always be a need for larger appliances for existing homes; however, we can’t ignore the growing need in urban environments. GE Appliances is excited to tackle the design challenge of creating micro-kitchen concepts that help people maintain or enhance their lifestyle in substantially less square footage.”
Boomers will have a huge impact on smaller living and it's GE’s bet that they won’t want to lose any of the luxury or convenience they’ve had in their lives. Whether they need a micro kitchen for their downsized dwelling, vacation home, refurbished man cave or boat . . . Boomers have always wanted the best.
And so, GE, through the company’s Louisville “microfactory production facility” called FirstBuild
, is exploring an ingenious, foodie-friendly solution: modular, micro-apartment-ready kitchen concepts designed by GE’s industrial design team in collaboration with FirstBuild’s online co-creation community that manage to “deliver the power of full-sized appliances in a pint-sized package.”
Thus far, GE has unveiled
two micro-kitchen concepts that the company hopes to “make and sell in small batches” by the end of this year:
One of the concepts is the “monoblock,” a fully customizable standalone unit that contains all the good stuff — induction cooktop, sink with retractable faucet, dishwasher, convection oven, microwave, pull-out refrigerator and freezer, etc. — in a compact, six-foot-wide package. Essentially, the unit is a cleverly concealed chest-of-drawers that’s just happens to be packed with high-end appliances. In lieu of individual several panels containing a bunch buttons and knobs, a single digital interface controls the whole sleek, wood-grained shebang.
In addition to the $15,000 monoblock (teased this past weekend at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, by the way), GE has also developed the unthinkable: a modular washer/dryer combo with touch-screen technology that fits seamlessly into a small living space instead of, gasp, requiring its very own room.
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Modular mini-kitchen concept from GE elegantly crams it all in
The fact that you live in an overpriced urban shoebox shouldn't stop you from flexing your culinary muscle from time to time ...