One or two decades ago the kitchen was possibly the least desirable design space of any project, but with the increasing commingling of different areas in a building (sometimes also known as ‘open plan’), they have grown to be one of the key focal points for a building’s indoor architecture.

A main motivator behind this shift is how we think about spaces for interaction. An office kitchen is where colleagues come together to take breaks and creates opportunities for chance interaction. At home, the kitchen is no longer just a place to cook, but also to eat and entertain.

Hospitality kitchens, such as those found in cafes, bars and restaurants, are also being made visible to patrons who want to see the action and activities behind-the-scenes. One such example is A. Baker, a bakery, bar, café and restaurant occupying the ground floor and basement of Canberra’s heritage-listed new Acton Pavilion.

Designed by DesignOffice, the café is separated but simultaneously connected to the restaurant via a central open kitchen. According to judges of the 2014 Eat Drink Design Awards the project, which was named last year’s Best Café Design , has a “wonderfully organic feel to the layout”. 

Photography by Scottie Cameron. Source: Yellow Trace

There have been changes in design strategies to accommodate for this shift towards more flexible, open kitchens, including the rising popularity of concealed systems and appliances. Bins can now be kept out of sight – although hopefully not out of mind – while sliding splashbacks, such as the one featured in Little Red Riding Hood by Nexus Designs, a Melbourne home to a family of six, hide away kitchen equipment to minimise clutter.

Photography by Fraser Marsden

For smaller urban apartments, concealed systems and designs can make a living area seem bigger and less busy. At the same time, kitchen cabinetry can be as much of an artistic statement as a functional storage tool. 

^ Concealed kitchens at de Laszlo House by Dandi Living in Hampstead, London. Dandi’s lead architect Eva Siskinova tells Homes and Property UK that the cabinetry for all 18 kitchens in the project feature dark plinths that create “an optical illusion, making the kitchen units appear to be floating above the flooring”. White Corian worktops and bespoke white storage units, with clever bi-folding pocket doors that can be opened to create culinary spaces, also play a part. Image:  Design Awards

Sydney kitchen designers Art of Kitchens’ won the  2014 HIA NSW Kitchen of the Year honour for their 2013 Cammeray kitchen renovation.

They say the clients wanted a kitchen with a multifunctional environment for everyday use, as well as to accommodate growing teenagers and guests.

A key brief requirement was to design a space that functioned like a kitchen, but which did not look like one.

Ansarada’s office by Those Architects is yet another instance where everything is not quite as it appears – what seems to be a clean maple faced wall is actually the front for a fully functioning kitchen that can cater for over 50 staff, concealed by a massive overhead tilting door operated by hydraulic struts.

Everything has to work twice as hard and be twice as clever, say Those Architects. Other concealed systems in the office include a highly textured black timber panel wall flanking the boardroom that doubles as its entry door, and an acoustic plywood panelled wall that stores files behind it.

Photography by Brett Boardman


Suitable for a variety of fitouts and applications, here are four products and systems that will change the way you see – or don’t see – kitchens. 

Valcucine’s New Logica by Rogerseller

Described by Rogerseller as “the most ergonomically designed kitchen system ever”, the New Logica Equipped Back contains and conceals all the equipment needed in the kitchen, from weighing scales, to bottle racks and even moveable power and USB sockets. Even the kitchen tap and dish-drainer can be hidden away.

While the 80cm deep worktops allow freedom of movement, lift-up cabinet doors are fitted with a balancing device that makes them easy to open and close with the push of a finger, without the use of hinges, frictions or springs.

Rogerseller also recommends the Equipped Back Section to those with space restraints. The system is a counterback designed to contain all the accessories you need on hand, and can sit against the wall or be used in an island in the middle of the room. 

Blanco Eloscope-F II

This retractable mixer tap by German company Blanco is collapsible, and can be completely hidden from view above the countertop surface when not in use. With a long reach sprout and ceramic disc control, the faucet is able to swivel 360° and comes with a stability plate.

The company advises a minimum 30mm distance between sink window aisle, and an installation depth of 470mm, including the spray hose, to prevent the risk of collision with a waste separation system or boiler. 

Hideaway Bins

The hideaway bin is everything its name suggests, and maybe even a little bit more. Ideal for use in any areas of a home, including the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, and some commercial applications, the bins come in three ranges. The Hideaway Soft Close includes a removable foam-sprung friction-fitted lid that seals across the buckets when the unit is closed for odour control, and has a Clinikill powder-coated lid to fight bacteria, yeast and fungi solution.

With a dynamic weight loading of 40kgs, the Hideaway Duluxe also features the removable fiction-fitted lid, and has quality ball bearing runners that over extend, allowing for easy removal of buckets. Finally the Hideaway Compact bins can be top and side mounted, with the body as a cover for the unit. Designed with less componentry as the other two, it is ideal for areas of limited space. The new Compact 40L bin models also feature a patented vent system to maximise bag volume by allowing air to escape. 

Tilt Outdoor Kitchen by Tait

This outdoor kitchen designed by Justin Hutchinson looks like a humble box, but its natural oil stained Accoya timber battens are a screen for an integrated cook-top and sink that are revealed when the box is opened up. With the screen lifted up to become a 2.2 metre high awning, the box is designed to weather Australia’s extremes and can be used on balconies, rooftop gardens, and shared community spaces at work.

The box comes with an Electrolux 900mm barbeque and utensil shelves, and a Hafele sink and Rogerseller tap, integrated LED lighting and internal shelving can be added on if needed.