Last week, around 50 final-year students of the foundation degree in kitchen design at Bucks New University gathered to listen to two special guests discuss and debate some of the key influences on kitchen design in the future.
The students came from all over the UK to hear about how research into the way we use our brains to process information from our senses could be used to create more appealing kitchens and kitchen retail experiences.
The future of 3D food printing was also on the table at the event, with the founder of product design start-up Dovetailed, Vaiva Kalnikaite, presenting the firm’s nūfood kitchen robot concept, which can print edible food with surprising flavours.
After the event, Alison Benson from kbbreview caught up with a few of the students to find out whether they consider the degree to be worthwhile, why they are interested in kitchen design and what their hopes are for the future.
Right Price Kitchens, Saffron Walden, Essex,
50% Blanco sponsorship
“I did a textile design degree, but afterwards, I struggled to get a job. My mum has a kitchen studio called Right Price Kitchens and she suggested I come and work with her. After more than 50 applications, I thought: ‘Well, why not?’“This course presented itself and it’s been fantastic. The tutors have been incredible and bring a lot to the table. I’ve learnt so much from them. They have a lot of connections in the industry, which we don’t have. Through these, we have been able to meet suppliers and hear from them about their products.
“The projects have been great to work on. Last year, we had a brief to create a kitchen concept for the cancer charity Maggie’s. Thinking about the layout from scratch and how the context needed to influence the colour and design was really useful.
“It meant creating something really different from what I’d normally do and made us really think outside the box. The course is fairly new and it is still finding its feet. It would be great to have more designers on the more affordable end of the spectrum come and talk to us and hear their perspectives, as currently, I’d say it’s quite focused on the high end.
“Our big project this year is to create a brief for the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) competition Beyond the Kitchen Table and as Blanco is my sponsor, I’m thinking of creating a smart sink and tap concept that can measure the amount of water it uses.”
about to join Herbert William Kitchens, Romsey, Hants,
50% CDUK sponsorship
“I started working at Andover Abbotts Kitchens when I was 15 years old as work experience and then I became their Saturday girl. I was thinking about studying interior design at university, but I realised that I wanted to focus on kitchens. This course was suggested to me and it’s perfect because I get to put into practice what I learn.
“I hear opinions and views on design from top designers like Johnny Grey and Craig Matson that I would never hear at work. In addition, it’s been an eye-opener working with Adam Thomas on accessible design, which I am really interested in because my mum has MS.
“After six years at Abbotts, I am now joining Herbert William Kitchens. I think in your 20s you need to move around and have different experiences; learn from different people. The course doesn’t just connect you with top names in design and the supply chain, but also the networking opportunities with our peers is great, too. We have a Whatsapp group and use it to tap into each other’s supply contacts and as an information source.”
Sophie Musson, works at Cadbury Kitchens, Bristol,
50% sponsorship from splashback firm Decoglaze
“I have a property degree, but kind of fell into kitchens. Cadbury Kitchens is my mum’s best friend’s studio. I like the fact that each year the course has been really different, and while the focus is kitchens, there are other really interesting modules on the business side of things, like marketing, branding and project management.
“The speakers are really motivating and inspire us to think in fresh ways, and the support is great, too.
“Accessible design is a focus and with houses getting smaller and increasingly multigenerational, there will be a growing movement away from the traditional kitchen to new models. My RSA brief is going to be looking at a modular kitchen – a kit kitchen – with moving parts that can accommodate all users rather than set pieces of furniture.”
Optiplan Kitchens, Camberley, Surrey,
50% Egger sponsorship
“I wanted to do the course to develop my skills and become a designer. I started off at Optiplan in High Wycombe, office-based, doing administration work. It’s my fourth year now and I moved to Camberley in November last year as the sole designer. For the past two years, I have been dealing with additions for the company nationwide contract and retail side.
“The speakers that come in are brilliant. Even if the lectures are not directly relevant, they help to develop a design ethos, which is supporting a shift from me being a salesman to a kitchen designer.
“My idea for the RSA brief revolves around automatic locks and kitchen log-ins to increase safety in the kitchen for young children. I believe there are interesting things that could happen in the future kitchen, like more movable surfaces and augmented technology supporting traditional processes, like cooking.”