In the history of Interior Design the kitchen is the most traditional room in the house, for it has evolved more slowly over the centuries than other spaces that are more on show. In peasant homes it is the heart of everyday family life: this is where meals are cooked, domestic chores are done, children are tended, and even sleeping pallets are spread on the floor. In nobles’ dwellings the kitchen is occupied by servants and later by other staff: until the 19th century it is far removed from the living and entertaining areas since its smells and noises are not welcome in polite society. As the middle classes become established, it becomes the scene of the housewife’s activities. This essay relates the idea of intimacy to the space, furnishing, and equipment of the kitchen from 1880 to 1940. The subject is handled chronologically, but with a narrative emphasis based on the visual sequence of the kitchen interiorscape, in other words by interpolating historical notes and critical commentary among the images: selected highlights orchestrate the kitchen’s various interpretations accordingly. After a brief outline of the kitchen’s evolution from antiquity to the 17th century, the essay proper begins with the concept of intimacy as the Dutch of that century gave it modern expression: kitchens in Flemish painting portray a vivid scene of interiority. Later, the ‘warm workshop’ of chefs and housekeepers in the early 19th century turns into the woman’s realm of the Victorian era. From 1860 to 1890 a series of inventions simplifies the life of the housewife. A serene interiority links the kitchen (1895) of the painter Carl Larsson with that of the Gamble House (1907-08) by Greene & Greene: a diluted Art Nouveau informs a tranquil domes¬tic world. In the first decade of the 20th century, on the other hand, Christine Frederick’s scientific kitchen (1912), with its standardized labour and the ‘mechanical bride’ idea derived from Taylorism, anticipated the fragmentation of the soul in Ludwig Kirchner’s kitchen (1918). In Europe the experimental designs of the 1920s and 1930s prefigured a minimal and wholly functional kitchen. In America, on the other hand, the next decade saw designs for ‘the kitchen of tomorrow’ – to paraphrase the title of a book on the home of Henry Wright and George Nelson (1946). Before ‘easier living’ arrives, the Streamline interlude represents the idea of the Future with the aerodynamic looks of its utensils. Lastly, Nelson’s essays, articles and designs bring the practicality of the American kitchen into the modern era: the ‘continuous kitchen’ is an idea that has lasted – though with many transformations – until the present day.

Kitchens: From Warm Workshop to Kitchenscape

FORINO, IMMACOLATA CONCEZIONE
2013-01-01

Abstract

In the history of Interior Design the kitchen is the most traditional room in the house, for it has evolved more slowly over the centuries than other spaces that are more on show. In peasant homes it is the heart of everyday family life: this is where meals are cooked, domestic chores are done, children are tended, and even sleeping pallets are spread on the floor. In nobles’ dwellings the kitchen is occupied by servants and later by other staff: until the 19th century it is far removed from the living and entertaining areas since its smells and noises are not welcome in polite society. As the middle classes become established, it becomes the scene of the housewife’s activities. This essay relates the idea of intimacy to the space, furnishing, and equipment of the kitchen from 1880 to 1940. The subject is handled chronologically, but with a narrative emphasis based on the visual sequence of the kitchen interiorscape, in other words by interpolating historical notes and critical commentary among the images: selected highlights orchestrate the kitchen’s various interpretations accordingly. After a brief outline of the kitchen’s evolution from antiquity to the 17th century, the essay proper begins with the concept of intimacy as the Dutch of that century gave it modern expression: kitchens in Flemish painting portray a vivid scene of interiority. Later, the ‘warm workshop’ of chefs and housekeepers in the early 19th century turns into the woman’s realm of the Victorian era. From 1860 to 1890 a series of inventions simplifies the life of the housewife. A serene interiority links the kitchen (1895) of the painter Carl Larsson with that of the Gamble House (1907-08) by Greene & Greene: a diluted Art Nouveau informs a tranquil domes¬tic world. In the first decade of the 20th century, on the other hand, Christine Frederick’s scientific kitchen (1912), with its standardized labour and the ‘mechanical bride’ idea derived from Taylorism, anticipated the fragmentation of the soul in Ludwig Kirchner’s kitchen (1918). In Europe the experimental designs of the 1920s and 1930s prefigured a minimal and wholly functional kitchen. In America, on the other hand, the next decade saw designs for ‘the kitchen of tomorrow’ – to paraphrase the title of a book on the home of Henry Wright and George Nelson (1946). Before ‘easier living’ arrives, the Streamline interlude represents the idea of the Future with the aerodynamic looks of its utensils. Lastly, Nelson’s essays, articles and designs bring the practicality of the American kitchen into the modern era: the ‘continuous kitchen’ is an idea that has lasted – though with many transformations – until the present day.
Domestic Interiors: Representing Homes from the Victorians to the Moderns
9781847889324
Cucina; Arredamento; Architettura degli Interni; Storia sociale
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/681810
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