Welcome to the kitchen of the future

Futuristic kitchen design from Effeti looks like integrated furniture instead of traditional kitchen

L'evoluzione kitchen by Effeti. Michael Wright Furniture

This weekend I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey and I was reminded of how wildly exaggerated our predictions of the twentieth century were. When the movie was made forty years ago, 2001 was seen as a year where interplanetary travel is common and computers are advanced enough to be passable as human companions.

Our predictions of the modern kitchen were just as far out in left field, and in some cases, bordered on comical. I don't have to tell you that we were wrong about everyone having rooftop helipads, automatic laundry-folding washers, and food machines that create entire composed meals at the touch of a button.

The kitchen of today, even with all of its gadgets and gizmos, is at its core the very same thing that it was then: a place to cook food. The difference between then and now is that instead of being a feminine one-person venture, cooking is now a social activity in which the rest of the family and guests can be involved. The kitchen is no longer a hidden hole that spits out dinner, it's become a gathering place almost as important as the family or dining room.

Maybe that's why so many kitchen manufacturers are pairing up with designers to develop their new kitchens. Companies such as Gorenji have teamed up with high-end designers to make kitchens that are so well integrated with the rest of your house that your appliances look like living room furniture. The new L'evoluzione kitchen by Effeti is no exception: it has the practicality of a kitchen without all of the awkward handle hardware, knobs, and Lego-style blocked sections for your large appliances.

The L'evoluzione kitchen looks like it was made to fit right in with your iPod collection: its lines are simple, the colors are crisp and clean, and the glossy finish on the cabinets and countertops looks polished and sleek.

One of the notable features of the classy kitchen is the complete absence of any handles. The cabinets open by an aluminum groove that extends the length of the doors.

The working surface is also customizable, and can come in marble, stone, layered laminate, stainless steel, and Cristalite, which is a stain and scratch resistant blend of acrylic and quartz.

The L'evoluzione, according to supplier Michael Wright's Web site, "is about evolution in the kitchen zone...making progress and developing." And it seems to have accomplished just that. What was once a private woman's domain is now a central part of our social culture, deserving of all of the design attention afforded to the rest of the house. I'm glad that designers such as Effeti are giving us integrated kitchen designs like this to look forward to in the future, and not the space-age kitchen disasters we dreamed of midcentury.

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