A kitchen that took us around the world
If there's one thing we've found kitchens around the world have in common, it's that they're as different as the recipes we like to cook in them. That's why we developed the SEKTION kitchen system so it's easier to design the best kitchen for you – whether you're in a shoebox-sized apartment or have a big open space.
But that's the end result. Before that we needed to find out what people's kitchen dreams were (as well as their frustrations), what recipes they liked to cook, and how kitchens might look in the future – a journey that took us around the world.
Our biggest ever kitchen change
It just takes a flick through a few TV channels, or a glance at a social media feed to notice our appetite for making and sharing food is growing. Since lifestyle trends change, it made sense that our kitchens should change too. With the ambition to help as many people as possible have a kitchen they'd love to be in, the change turned into one of the biggest projects ever done at IKEA. “This is our biggest ever kitchen change, so it's fair to say we were very keen to get it right,” says SEKTION technician Klas-Ola Nilsson. “We wanted the new kitchen to be more affordable, easier to install and to suit people all over the world.”
Research from around the world
To make a kitchen that suits people everywhere, we first needed to find out what frustrated people most with their existing kitchens, as well what their dream kitchen would be like. This mission saw us survey thousands of people, visit hundreds of homes and work with food industry professionals. “We found if there's one thing in common with kitchens around the world it's that they're different.” Klas-Ola says. “For as many people who dream of an open space kitchen, there are people with a small space, or have to fit a pre-existing room.”
There's no such thing as a 'typical' kitchen
Even questions like ‘what are typical kitchens?’ couldn't be taken for granted. “Ovens in Europe are so usual that kitchen's were designed around them,” Klas-Ola says, “But then in other parts of the world we found they're almost a novelty and it's much more common to build a kitchen around a good cooktop and extractor hood.” And then there was the question ‘what's the typical amount of time to spend in the kitchen each day?’ “It became obvious that kitchens have to run at different speeds.” Klas-Ola says. “During weeknights we found some people's kitchens were only used for 15 minutes, which could swell to 3-4 hours on the weekends.” For every household that microwaved take-out meals during the week, there was a kitchen that cooked large family dinners each day, or another kitchen where breakfasts were eaten and homework done.
From research to result
Bringing in all the feedback, one element became blindingly important. “We realized we needed a kitchen system that could adapt to different sized spaces in a way that hadn't been done before,” Klas-Ola says. “So, we developed modular cabinets that could fit almost anywhere.” By making cabinets in modular sizes, you can mix different sizes of cabinets to best fit your room and they'll still fit together – without any odd ends. While for the inside, clever drawers were developed to make better use of each cabinets volume so you can store more things.
Ready for the future
At the heart of SEKTION is the idea that a more adaptable kitchen will fit better with how you like to cook, both right now, or in a decade or so. Whether your culinary aspirations grow and you start craving a more professional kitchen, or you just want to start using your kitchen for more activities, we would love SEKTION to support you and help out. “There's nothing to say that SEKTION is set and unchanging now,” Klas-Ola says. “It's something that's evolving and that we're developing as our ideas on what a kitchen should do changes into the future.”