TREND: The Wellness Kitchen
Healthy Air, Healthy People
If kitchens have been essentially stuck for 70 years, the healthy kitchen of the future completely re-imagines every way we consume food at home—including delivery, storage, prepping, cooking, enjoying and disposal.
One key aspect of the wellness kitchen is to tackle the problem of air quality. This is a new focus for every room in the “well home,” as sealed buildings, while energy efficient, have created killer indoor air quality exponentially worse than the air outdoors. The most crucial aspects of our indoor spaces’ healthiness are often things we simply can’t see.
Bad kitchen air quality is driving demand for hoods and ventilation systems large enough to filter out particulate matter. Cooking, especially with gas stoves, spews particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide into our kitchen space, which can cause respiratory problems. The new indoor gardens of the wellness kitchen play an important role in ventilation, removing CO2 from the air and replacing it with oxygen.
“It’s essential to have healthy air in a healthy kitchen—and there is a need for ventilation systems that accommodate different cultural cooking styles. Thus, the trend is to build outdoor and indoor kitchens, given the diversity of cooking styles found among different clients,” says Rachel Allen, a noted LA-based architect, who has been striving for years to transform unwell kitchens for health-minded clients.
Forecasting The Future
To tackle the issue of unhealthy air quality in the kitchen, several trends will rise:
- There will be more “well building” certifications and greater emphasis placed upon mindful materials. Lists of materials in building products will be displayed just like nutrition labels on food products.
- New sensors that monitor air quality, especially particulate and oxygen levels, will be widespread.
- Kitchens will set aside space for air-cleansing sprouting and indoor gardens.
- Range vents, commonly found above range microwaves, recirculate contaminants because most don’t vent to the exterior. Range hoods will get vented outside, and there will be a new focus on ventilation systems in general.
Ultimately, the wellness kitchen will mean different things to different people. For some, it’s a warm, communal space, full of light, fresh air, and friendly conversation. For others, it’s a temple to healthy eating, with living gardens, centrally displayed fresh produce, and easy composting. But, for all of us, it’s a testament to the idea that the most important room in our house should be the healthiest one.