Kitchens are often the hubs of homes, offices and restaurants; done properly, these places of interaction also exemplify functionality before form. After all, cooking, entertaining and even simply hanging out are rather difficult if the kitchen shelves are out of your reach, or storage systems are seriously lacking because they don’t ‘look good’.

One of the key trends for 2015 is kitchen design becoming more about the functionality within, says Hafele’s National Marketing Manager, Melissa Murat.

“Clever-Storage solutions from Corners to complete Pantry Solutions are high priorities,” she says.

“Intelligent Waste Management has also become one of the most important areas within the design of the kitchen. Accommodating both waste and recyclables is now a must.”

Blum is another company that is focused on what a kitchen fit for everyday use looks like, with their research showing that practical kitchens require three key features – simple and ergonomic workflows, valuable storage space, and superior quality of motion that enhance user convenience.

Here are eight products, systems and designs for a functional kitchen:

Modular and re-configurable designs

Siemens modular ‘Foodlab’ by Studio Rygalik

Studio Rygalik collaborated with Polish restaurant Concordia Taste to create a mobile kitchen unit, the Siemens Foodlab. Comprising a series of interrelated modules that have been fixed to casters so they can be rearranged for a customised kitchen design, the functional modules resemble wooden cargo boxes and incorporate open cabinets, drawers and bench space.

The Cut by Alessandro Isola

London-based architect Alessandro Isola has designed a reconfigurable kitchen called ‘The Cut’, created using a parallelepiped bench that is sliced into two movable components. A slot cut through the top bench creates a space for an additional table surface to be stored, or swivelled horizontally into fixed positions that suit user needs.

Cuts made in the benches are emphasised by the use of contrasting materials, while a sequence of hanging frames with inset LEDs form a changeable configuration of storage and shelving above the parallelepiped island.

A prototype of The Cut was presented at the 2014 Milan Design Week.


Hafele’s Convoy Centro

This pull out pantry (pictured right) is designed for all groceries to be centrally positioned in one unit without taking up too much space.  A light touch, enabled by SoftStop-Pro, moves all the contents out in front of the unit so that users have fast access to, and a clear view of what they have and need from either side. Not only does this save time and effort, it also avoids the risk of items being forgotten at the back of the cupboard.

The shelves are easily height adjusted without any tools needed, and can be set in any position.

LeMans II by Hafele

This corner unit solution combines high space utilisation with easy access as the tray swings right out in front of the cabinet. This means all pots and pans stored in the unit will be easy to reach. The trays move independently of each other.

Push to open Silent function from Hettich

Designed for Hettich’s ArchiTech drawers, the new function combines a Push to open mechanism with the benefits of a handle-less design, and a large self-opening distance that means people with their hands full don’t need to pull the drawer out further. Closing the drawer automatically reloads the Push to open mechanism, before the drawer glides home gently.

The mechanism is simply fitted under the drawer base, and easily installed without altering drawers, runners, carcases and front panels.


The Aventos HL is one of five lift systems available from Blum, and suitable for mid and high wall units and cabinets. Aventos HL can be used with cornice and crown mouldings, and the lift mechanisms and front fixing brackets can be used symmetrically.

Giving easy access to the interior of cupboards, Aventos HL comes with soft-close BLUMOTION technology and will hold in any position. 

Taps and sinks

Eco & Quadra Sparkling Dispenser by Billi

Instant filtered boiling and chilled water has become a staple in both commercial and residential kitchens, and Billi has even released a Chilled Sparkling water tap for both applications. The C02 injection used in the sparkling range ensures the saturation of CO2 in the water is high, with level of sparkling can be adjustable up to 5 bars of CO2 pressure. 

An adjustable control knob also allows the chilled water temperature to be raised to 15˚C or lowered to 6˚C, while Billi’s SplashFree boiling water electronically varies the water flow, slowing it momentarily to eliminate splashing as the water first enters the cup.

Epure Zone Kitchen Sink from Clark

Taking home a 2013 Australian International Design award, the Epure Zone is a versatile sink space that easily converts into a drainer, dish drying rack, colander and chopping board. Eliminating the need to reach into cupboards for kitchen essentials, the sink is constructed from 100 per cent recyclable, 1.2mm thick 304 stainless steel, and is stain and odour-resistant.

It comes with a multi-level sliding feature beneath the covers which allows the drainer, colander and chopping board to slide along the width of the sink. The drainer is integrated with the covers to provide a harmonious visual continuation of the bench top surface.