There is a European movement within the kitchen planning industry, known as the Intelligent Kitchen (Hettich) or Dynamic Kitchen (Blum) based on the ideas and work of the Modern Kitchen Workgroup (AMK).
The AMK is a group of German kitchen design experts whose focus is to maximize both efficiency and ergonomics in kitchen space. Their studies have identified five specific zones that, when properly configured, make kitchens more efficient and ergonomically friendly.
Here’s a quick overview of the 5 kitchen zones:
Why Do Zones Help?
Daily kitchen activity has been compared to a gym workout. Did you know that on average, a person walks to and the table more than 30 times a day? Or that drawers, pullouts and doors are opened and closed more than 80 times a day? More than 50 activities, such as slicing, preparing a salad or buttering bread are carried out daily in your kitchen. On average, someone working in a four-person household kitchen walks, stops, bends and stretches at least two hours a day.
Ergonomically, base units with shelves are the least friendly option because it’s difficult to find items in a cabinet when you can’t see them. It’s simply not efficient to bend, stretch and remove objects to locate what you’re looking for at the back of the cabinet.
The solution? Install drawers and pullouts that let you see and reach what you want – easily, comfortably and quickly. Full extension makes good sense, so you can see and access items at the back of the drawer.
Store frequently used objects in the “middle” zone – between your shoulders and hips, and less frequently used items above or below this area.
An “Intelligent/Dynamic” kitchen designs offers the benefit of shorter distances, ergonomic work processes and practical, attractive accessories. When properly implemented, you can increase the storage capacity of your kitchen by as much as 55% per storage space or pullout.
What Are The 5 Kitchen Zones?
Zone 1: Food Storage
The goal of this zone is to provide drawers that store provisions out of the way yet within reach of the cook. It’s important to optimize your workflow, keeping distances short and cutting the time you spend on any activity.
Tall, full extension units enable you to plan and organize your food storage so that frequently used items can be reached without bending. Mid-level drawers can be pulled out separately for unimpeded access from above. You should be able to see and reach every accessory with ease.
Zone 2: Food Preparation
Ideally, food and cooking utensils should be near your stove and under wall units. In this zone, the goal is to incorporate useful cabinet options to store oils, condiments and spices within easy reach, where you need them the most. Popular items include: spice racks and full extension pullouts, which provide complete visibility and immediate access.
Zone 3: Pots and Pans
A spacious, organized and easily accessible pan drawer is essential. Extra deep, wide pan drawers are often the answer for bulky items, such as food or utensils, and shallow, under-the-oven drawers are ideal for storing baking trays and tins.
A deep drawer, with a high back and closed sides, means you can stack pots and pans with no risk of them falling over or sliding around. To further maximize space, install narrow compartments to hold lids upright.
Zone 4: Cleaning and Waste
The space beside and below the sink is an excellent spot for waste. Base unit pull-outs are ideal for towels and cleaning agents, and extra large drawers provide ample space to store larger items, like buckets and cleaners.
A great way to optimize storage space for your cleaning products is to install an under-the-sink drawer.
Zone 5: China and Cutlery
Ideally, this area should be located next to the Cleaning Zone, to shorten the distance when you empty the dishwasher or put dishes in the cabinets.
Drawers with a range of organizers offer stacking space for cutlery. china and other kitchen gadgets. Wall cabinets should have doors that open up. rather than conventional swinging doors. so you can work safely and quickly. Pull-down systems that bring items down to the user are also an efficient use of space.
At Laurysen, we use the 5 Zones principles, the kitchen work triangle and other design concepts to design great kitchens. When combined with our love of craftsmanship, the results aren’t just spectacular, they’re usable too.