Retro or vintage style kitchens have been popular for a while now, but a new style is creeping up behind in the popularity stakes: ultra-contemporary, modern, even futuristic kitchens. Sleek modernity as a kitchen style never really went away, it's true, but this new form takes that modernity to a new level. To talk of the future is to project, to imagine, and to innovate. These days, it's also to imagine talking fridges; bins that beep if you don't separate your rubbish; kettles that you can turn on with your smartphone. The futuristic style we're talking about today is less about technological bells and whistles, however. Rather, it's about playing with lines and curves, colours and shapes, traditions and norms, to create kitchens that look distinctly different and new.
This kitchen space certainly turns the traditional idea of a kitchen on its head. A giant island floats in the middle of a sea of open space; not a cabinet in sight, nor a fridge for that matter. A cube made of slats – reminiscent of the industrial pallets that have been huge in interiors for a number of years now – is the central feature of the entire open plan space, hiding the living space behind, and also concealing a staircase within. Presumably, it will also function in time as a storage space for kitchen accessories and the like. Lights hang from the ceilings on exposed, tangled cables; this could be a warehouse rehearsal space for a band, rather than a chic home in Brittany. The idea of a modern kitchen has here been totally deconstructed – rather than a space to show off your shiny appliances, double fridge and hi-tech gadgets, it has been stripped back to only its most essential elements; which are presented on a grand scale. There's something very futuristic in its simplicity.
'Listen, understand, create, innovate and surprise.' These are the terms that Frédéric Haesevorts uses to describe his approach. This kitchen is certainly surprising. The workspace is reminiscent of a crystal, and its geometry is just as fascinating. For all of its sharp, straight edges, it seems to flow and wind through the space, inviting the eye to examine it more closely. It's a shape full of dynamism, that imbues this space with a wonderful energy. Very futuristic.
In its icy elegance, soberness and refinement this ultra-modern kitchen is futuristic thanks to the play of lines and the incorporation of a series basic geometric figures. There's a slight sense that this is a vision of the future as imagined in the 1960s, but its hardcore minimalism is more contemporary than that. No frills, no fuss; orderly and measured, this is perhaps a vision of the future in which our robot overlords have turned their hands to kitchen design.
In a house called the 'Bunker' we find this kitchen cavern, designed by Lyon's New Home Agency. Again, this is a kitchen from which any surplus elements have been carefully stripped out, with just the minimum of functional pieces left behind. Exposed concrete, and a careful lighting arrangement create a weird sense that this is inside an alien spaceship, long buried underground and recently emerged. The skylight over the kitchen island could be about to beam the room's occupants up into another part of the ship. Stonehenge futuristic, it is a panegyric to the purity of its lines.
The future doesn't have to be in muted shades of black, grey, white and brown, of course, despite what the images above might lead you to believe! We might have a colourful future ahead of us, if we're lucky. The ultra-sharp lines of the cabinets and counters, sitting alongside the rough hewn monoliths on either side of them create something very futuristic in this kitchen. One imagines a future in which life on the surface is no longer possible, and humans have retreated to live underground; adding colour everywhere they can to bring some joy to their underground lives. Beyond this slightly doom-laden prediction, there's something pleasantly futuristic about the confidence with which this designer has combined the ultra-contemporary with ancient stone.