Components giant Blum has urged showroom designers to consider the needs of the older generation and offered them guidelines to simplify kitchen workflows.
“Today’s kitchens can be in use for up to 20 years, and the needs of users during that time will change,” customer experience centre manager Amanda Hughes (pictured) told delegates at the kbbreview Retail & Design Conference at kbb Birmingham.
“The term given to the emerging trend for multi-generational occupancy is Four Generation or 4G. Blum has been researching the needs of kitchen users for many years, including those of the older generation. The results of this work are constantly being incorporated into the development of new products.
“Our tests have shown that having doors on base cabinets is not ergonomically advantageous. Older people in particular have problems bending down to look for crockery or pots in base cabinets. What can be cumbersome for younger users can present quite a challenge for older generations. The solution – use drawers. They provide a good view of the cabinet’s contents from above and allow direct access to items – in the case of full extensions even in the farthest corners.”
For wall cabinets, Hughes recommended lift systems instead of doors which don’t protrude into the room after opening. “The lift systems move out of the way at head height, providing plenty of room to move about the kitchen,” she explained. “They can also be opened with just a brief touch on the front, supported either mechanically or electrically.”
Hughes went on to give designers her top tips for simplifying kitchen workflows. These included thinking about typical tasks at the planning stage, such as emptying the dishwasher, and organsing items in into those in constant use, frequent use and those used only rarely.
Other tips included adding inner drawer dividing systems, a U-shaped sink pull-out which also uses the space underneath the sink and including a Space Tower larder unit and Space Corner cabinet in your plans.
“Pull-outs with closed sides create up to 55% more storage space,” she added. “And use removable storage racks, knife racks and foil-film dispensers. These allow the user to easily remove these items. Also remember lift systems instead of doors in wall cabinets make them easier to access.”