Planning kitchens earlier
“A new kitchen should not only be planned well but also, above all else, at an early stage – whether renovating or moving house and even more so when buying a freehold flat or new house”, explains Kirk Mangels, Managing Director of Arbeitsgemeinschaft Die Moderne Küche e.V. (AMK). This is because certain preconditions have to be met and important decisions made in order to get from the initial idea through to a completed, fitted lifestyle kitchen – a room that most Germans now aspire to having as the heart of their home.
“We recommend bringing in a kitchen studio or specialist retailer as early as the planning and financing phase of the property, even if the moving-in date is still some way off”, says AMK’s MD, Kirk Mangels. In this way, decisive influence can be exerted over the planning of an open and generously proportioned kitchen-living room layout. The early involvement of a kitchen specialist also ensures that there will be no unforeseen financial constraints when it comes to purchasing the kitchen. Going to a specialist is also a good idea because not only do they have years of experience in planning and technical competence to draw on, but they can also, if desired, take over the coordination, supervision and management to completion of other specialist tasks (dry construction and other interior construction tasks, such as electrics, flooring and painting).
Among the essential factors to consider right at the outset are the layout, as well as the electrical and water supply points – their number and exact location, along with the different power requirements of the large and small appliances that are to be integrated later. A further consideration is the planning of the ideal ventilation system (recirculation or extraction). Another option is the ability to choose between both operating modes (extractor fan with switch function). Particular construction features might also have to be taken into account (period property, energy-efficient house) or perhaps the new owner might from the outset want a kitchen ventilation system that channels smells, fat particles and moisture through an air duct direct to the outside. For this, the building shell, in particular the bore hole to accommodate the extraction channel, needs to be sealed in so that it is energy efficient. There are now intelligent extraction systems that maximise the efficiency of the extraction hood whilst simultaneously reducing heat loss from the building.
Once the overall initial plan is in place (layout, electrical connection diagrams/power requirements, ventilation, specialist tasks), the details can then be worked on with the kitchen specialist. Even if the individual components are produced in volume, every new kitchen is a unique architectural ensemble, a synthesis that perfectly suits its new owners: similar to the configuration of a new car, but far richer in detail and much more customisable. “The new lifestyle kitchen-living rooms consist of numerous single components. The kitchen specialist provides advice on the choice of the ideal ‘ingredients’ from the three areas of kitchen furniture/design, domestic appliances and kitchen accessories in order to create your very own, personalised dream kitchen”, according to Kirk Mangels, AMK’s MD. This service includes help with the selection of the finishes (e.g. solid wood or veneer, foil, glass, metal or lacquered surfaces), the style and specific design of the kitchen. Specialist advice is also recommended when choosing and arranging built-in appliances: because this is all about the fun, health, creativity and long-term pleasure that come with domestic appliances and the preparation of meals; not forgetting about energy efficiency/sustainability, maximum ease of use, high functionality and a combination of all types of domestic appliances, the design of which blends in perfectly with that of the kitchen furniture.
The third important element, kitchen accessories, encompasses everything to improve everyday life and daily tasks, aided by good ergonomics and designed to be as convenient as possible – from the personalised planning of storage space (cupboard types and sizes, drawers, pull-outs, flaps, floor units and tall cabinets with innovative fittings and organisers) through the best lighting concepts to the perfect built-in sink and kitchen taps as well as the corresponding waste separation system. (AMK)
AMK, the trade and service association for the entire kitchen industry, is active in the fields of technology and standardisation, marketing & public relations, internationalisation, as well as supporting the industry through the patronage of trade fairs. More than 139 companies are members, all renowned manufacturers of kitchen furniture, electrical and built-in appliances, sinks, accessories, as well as suppliers, trade partnerships and service providers in the kitchen industry. AMK is patron of “Tag der Küche (Kitchen Day)”, which takes place each year with live events at numerous kitchen exhibitions in the German-speaking area. The next event will take place on 24 September 2016. Further information can be found on the internet at www.amk.de and www.tag-der-kueche.de. (AMK)