With the world’s population fast approaching the 7.5 billion mark, cities are becoming increasingly crowded, and thereby driving a need for smaller living spaces. For this reason, many forward-thinking designers are beginning to embrace the trend and develop appliances better suited for compact, space-efficient “micro-dwellings.”
Today, GE hopped on the bandwagon. To help kick off Dwell on Design show in LA, the company has just lifted the veil on its new Micro Kitchen concept — a range of upcoming appliances that seek to maximize space and efficiency, but still provide the same level of functionality as their full-size counterparts. This includes things like fridges, dishwashers, ovens, and cooktops, as well as non-kitchen appliances like washing machines and dryers.
“As we watch what’s happening in the U.S., there’s a clear trend toward smaller, more efficient living spaces,” says Lou Lenzi, director of industrial design for GE Appliances. “There will always be a need for larger appliances for existing homes; however, we can’t ignore the growing need in urban environments. GE Appliances is excited to tackle the design challenge of creating micro-kitchen concepts that help people maintain or enhance their lifestyle in substantially less square footage.”
One particularly interesting concept, dubbed the monoblock, is an integrated unit with cooking, cleaning, and refrigeration in a single standalone enclosure. It’s designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding cabinetry, and intended to be easily customizable, so users could preconfigure their choices and have the custom-fabricated unit delivered to their home or job site.
Another noteworthy idea GE will be showcasing is based on a counter-top-high, 24-inch-wide modular platform outfitted with a customizable drawer-based system that would allow the consumer to choose the modules they want to have in their living space. All traditional kitchen appliances, including a microwave oven, conventional oven, convertible refrigerator and freezer, and dishwasher would be available in the drawer-based system. Above that, an induction or radiant glass cooktop, downdraft ventilation system, and kitchen sink with disposal would offer users the full kitchen experience.
Unfortunately all of this stuff is merely conceptual at this point, but GE has plans to bring these ideas to life in the future. We’ll keep you posted on when they become available, but in the meantime you can find out more about GE’s micro kitchen concept and all the crazy stuff they’re showing off at Dwell on Design here.