There was a time when the kitchen area was tucked away in some corner of the office, often closed off by a door. Just a simple, functional cubbyhole for making a cup of coffee or brewing a pot of tea. A secondary space, cut off from the main office function.
But then things started to change. As kitchen areas started to get a little less functional and a little more staff friendly, people began spending time in them. The humble kitchen area started to come into its own, moving from just a beverage and lunchtime venue, to an all-day breakout space for colleagues.
Today, the modern office design of kitchen areas has come a long way. It’s no longer an afterthought, pushed to the periphery - in fact it’s more front and centre than it’s ever been before. In our designs, we encourage clients to think of their kitchen area as an important in-between space in the working environment, a place of relaxation and informality, but also a place of conversation and cross-fertilisation of ideas. And the more you bring it into the centre of your office, the more central it will become to office life.
In terms of design, we encourage clients to think about the expectations of their staff and the social atmosphere they want to create. The meteoric rise of barista culture has set the standard for how the modern office kitchen should now look - more like a coffee shop, and less like the purely functional kitchens of the olden days. And while beverages are important and so is the kit to make them, what is of most importance is the meeting, conversation and relationship building that takes place in the space.
Every office needs a kitchen area. And employers are increasingly recognising what their employees have long known - there’s much more to a tea point than just a cup of tea.