Teams from eight London architecture practices gathered for a one-day design exchange exploring the potential of the ‘kitchen’ in the workplace.
As the kitchen has come to be the multipurpose heart of today’s home, charrette organizers Architecture Today and Zip Water wanted to know: What if the office kitchen was not a tucked-away afterthought but instead the starting point for workspace design and culture? Could it be a orientation device, a meeting place or another type of space altogether?
HOK’s team made up of Enrico Caruso, Emily Costain and Carlos de la Barrera took an unconventional approach to answering the charrette question. Their design didn’t envision a new kitchen concept within the office. Instead, they explored how to activate existing kitchens throughout a city for use as new kinds of places for work, networking, idea sharing and, yes, eating.
“This led us to design Zip-Over!, a mobile app that creates a unique co-kitchen experience, to engage people with their communities,” the team explained to Architecture Today. “Users may search via an Airbnb-style database to identify nearby kitchens, according to preferences such as food, the chef or type of guests.”
The team imagined scenarios where, say, a book editor creates an event through the Zip-Over! app that reserves a kitchen in a popular Peruvian restaurant where his writing and design team can collaborate on both meal and publishing prep. Or a business executive use Zip-Over! to hire a French chef and reserve a kitchen in a high-end neighborhood to impress and network with a potential investor.
“Our premise is that the kitchen already is a workplace, and so what does that mean to peer-to-peer engagement and business development?” says Caruso. “If you’re working alone at home or you’re coming in from another city, how do you connect with people? How do you make the LinkedIn platform more tangible?”