The kitchens of 2040: ‘Back to Nature’, ‘Smart’ and ‘Emotionally Intelligent’ according to newly published report

The kitchens of 2040 will navigate between being the centre of health, a cultural and social structure cultivating togetherness, and a technologically conscious entity making living more sustainable and inspired according to a major independent report undertaken by Future Laboratory, commissioned by IKEA.

In the rapidly changing landscape where energy efficiency, sustainability, wellbeing and convenience are just some of the key influences impacting consumer habits, the report explored and investigated how these changing values and aspirations will transform the kitchen in Ireland and the UK in 30 years time. The project is part of IKEA’s focus on how best to provide for consumers’ lifestyle needs in their homes, both now and in the future.


The Report applied quantitative and qualitative research methodology, via a consumer survey, expert interviews and extensive desk research and analysis, in order to identify the drivers and trends affecting kitchen design, function and culture, and to predict how this will evolved in the next 30 years.


“Consumers believe that technology will have a significant impact on the kitchen of the future with 64% of consumers surveyed believing it will help boost energy efficiency and 52% saying it will help to reduce their carbon footprint. Nearly half, 46%, say it will help to reduce household waste. 38% of consumers believe that technology in the future will help clean the kitchen!


“The report established that today’s society of abundance will be a thing of the past as resources are rationed, technologies are streamlined into day-to-day living, and health and wellness take centre stage” said Jill o’Reilly, Head of Kitchen Design, IKEA Dublin. “In this world of the future, the kitchen will be a thoughtful, considerate friend, steering between being the health hub of the home, a cultural and social structure cradling human connection, and a technological yet animate force making life easier cleaner, sustainable and enjoyable. There will be a marriage of low-tech and hightech, reducing labour so people can spend more quality time with others. The kitchen will come to embody a move towards sustainable living and be a measure of how people adapt to changes in society. Sustainability is a key priority for IKEA in everything we do – from how we build and run our stores to the design and manufacturing of our products. We believe doing more with less is best for the planet and for the consumer’s pocket. Our designers are continually looking at ways to make the kitchen and every room in the home a more sustainable environment for our customers”.


Three different kitchen themes emanated from research feedback:

The ‘Back to Nature’ Kitchen

The kitchen will galvanise the home production of organic, natural food and promote the grow-your-own movement in homes and communities. Along with growing civic concerns over waste, we will enter an era of ‘Nu Thrift’, with wastage of food and packaging becoming as much moral and civic concerns as ethical and environmental ones. Through recycling and upcycling, the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality will be streamlined and incorporated into the kitchen.


Materials and furniture will be made from natural materials. The garden or mini-allotment will be standard as an extension of the kitchen (as grow-your-own becomes an essential source of food).


Gardens will house individual and collective households’ vegetation.

The ‘Smart’ Kitchen

The kitchen will be intelligent, thinking and caring for its inhabitants. Foods will be considered and cooked in accordance with the nutrients and vitamins they provide. Smart technology, where appliances communicate with each other, will be prevalent in this environment, as will wireless appliances and seamless design. Technologies like the sixth-generation iPad will be the centrepiece and installed inside a cupboard or the side of an appliance panel, easily accessible for varied use such as an interactive tutorial. Celebrity chefs will be hologrammed into the kitchen to inspire recipes while placing a cell in an oven that will nurture an elaborate meal for four.

The ‘Emotionally Intelligent’ Kitchen

The motif of this kitchen will be to improve and enhance the mind, body and spirit of people. Food will be the fuel for attaining the highest levels of health and well being as well as a catalyst for social experiences. In the future, nanotech will be used to enrich a wide range of cooked foods with tiny, tasteless capsules of vitamins, minerals or health supplements. Environments will inevitably change according to the time of day, and appliances will actively help and take on tasks. Light projects will be programmed into the walls to respond to inhabitant’s moods and ergonomic soundscapes will help elevate moods. Slow digital cooking appliances will be intended for ‘gastrotainment’ as well as nutritional purposes.


A copy of the full report can be accessed on www. ikea.ie


Source: IKEA

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