Designer    Opinion 23 Aug 2017

We hear what the experts have to say about the kitchen’s working triangle philosophy

Diane Berry of Diane Berry Kitchens calls for common sense…

“In kitchen design, it is totally common sense to create the right layout of the appliances,” says kitchen designer Diane Berry. “If
an appliance has hot things coming out of it, a worktop needs to be close by. If it is a machine that has dripping trays like a steam oven, the worktop again need to be close by. A fridge should be close to the sink as most fresh food needs washing; a bin near a sink for peelings and packaging is always a good idea too.

“All these are just common sense, so why do we need to consider the working triangle if at all or even the MAD (‘make a drink’) theory? I think this is to make us stop thinking about the materials and the colour and to consider layout first. So the triangle is needed, but in this day and age of ovens, hobs, steam, coffee, vac drawer, dishwasher, fridge, drinks fridge, wine fridge, freezer – and not forgetting your Quooker boiling hot water tap – how on earth can a three point plan work?

“Well, it can’t but it does help to get designers and clients talking layout of appliances before engaging totally on how the kitchen will look or what discount they might give!

“I suggest clients work out their own pattern to get an understanding of what they need, an Asian family will do a large proportion of their cooking on the hob, so their triangle isn’t like someone who uses the oven to heat up supermarket dinners. A kosher client who has meat and milk kitchens won’t work like either of the above, so the list is endless. So let’s get our clients thinking about how they work or want to work and really show that kitchen designers are designers.”


 Paul O’Brien of Kitchens International talks shapes and style…

 “Ergonomically a galley kitchen is the best as it offers plenty of worksurface in a very close proximity and minimises the walking distance round the kitchen,” says Paul O’Brien of kitchen specialists Kitchens International. “Here the working triangle is very tight usually. Galley layouts tend to have plenty of preparation surfaces as there will be two parallel runs of units and worksurfaces, making it a good functional kitchen. The disadvantage of the galley layout is the lack of social space; it caters very much for a single user.

“A U-shaped kitchen offers maximum storage so is excellent for those who want huge amounts of cupboards and drawers. It is also a good solution when there are two keen cooks
in the household who both want to cook at the same time as they can work at different areas without getting in the way. “The main advantage of an L-shaped kitchen is the fact it is flexible. It brings the social element into the kitchen with the use of a peninsula as a breakfast bar, or with a dining table and chairs in the centre of the L or even by using the L on the outside wall with an island in the centre. The downside of an L-shaped kitchen is that storage is sometimes compromised, compared with a U-shape.

“Islands offer a link between the kitchen area and the dining, living area as well as food prep, cooking and a breakfasting, entertaining area. The advantage of kitchens with islands
is that they offer a very flexible, sociable space where food can be prepared and cooked while guests or family can chat and interact with the cook. Given the many different layouts of islands (rectangular, curved, with or without breakfast bar, combined storage, banqueting seating off the island etc.) they offer a very versatile look. However, they take up quite a lot of space so are generally for larger kitchens.”

Featured: Poggenpohl’s +Segmento kitchen was created to specifically address the concept of couples and families working together in the kitchen by breaking the layout into distinct segments with a preparation area including sink, cooking area and storage area. More than one person can get involved, each working in a different area of the kitchen without tripping over each other.

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