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Discover What Makes An Italian Kitchen

Sep 16, 2008
You might ask what makes Italian kitchen design what it is. With Giorgio Armani designing designer beachside accommodation in Egypt the exclusivity of Italian fashion house design has never been more prevalent in the world of domestic interior design. The Italian kitchen has maintained trademark features for generations not only through the national characteristics of style but also catering for specific practical requirements which are embedded in Italian culture.

As in many cultures the Italian kitchen is the centre of the home. In a heavily patriarchal society it is the nucleus of the household as it is where the food comes from, usually prepared by female members of the family. The Italian kitchen is designed with this in mind, the large family unit having to accommodate large family meals with large teams of related chefs catering for the rest of the family.

This in mind the large open plan sprawl of an Italian kitchen is a trait that has survived over the centuries and been adopted into modern interior design by the manifold exclusive suppliers of the Italian kitchen. The open plan design allows for free movement within the kitchen, which is essential for health and safety with boiling pots and sharp knives flying between obscenities and it allows for food preparation in separate areas which is a tradition in Italian cooking.

It is a brave man that enters an Italian kitchen in full frenzy however another trait of Italian kitchen is that the whole family will sometimes gather there to drink wine before a meal or help with specific parts of the meal. Italian meals are served in smaller, numerous courses. An antipasto is served, followed by a pasta dish, fish dish and so on and an Italian kitchen needs to be spaced to accommodate this style of cooking.

The aesthetic style of Italian kitchen design has been adopted by many top designers. This involves a Tuscan feel with subdued lighting with rustic iron light fittings, deep greens, golds and beige colour schemes and ancient kitchen accessories that are blatantly not going to be used for cooking. Sometimes iron stoves and racks are added to further the rustic feel of the Italian kitchen.

Some Italian kitchen designs have a quasi-futuristic feel about them that makes them feel less homely and more disposed toward the Armani super home feel of recent years. The true sentiment of the Italian kitchen is the homely feel of the nucleus of a large family. Italian culture focuses around family values and the traditional routines of preparing and consuming meals as a family is an integral part of that tradition.

The American TV dinner has on occasion been attributed for the degeneration of the middle American family unit and it is easy to see the value in this theory. The Italian kitchen allows for family members to interact and communicate in close proximity to older family members so that they might learn about older generations, meaning traditions and values are passed down. This can be seen to good effect in other family orientated cultures such as Indian.

The Italian kitchen is more than a place to prepare food and the tradition of large family interactions are maintained through this domestic feature. The wide open spaces and other rustic aesthetics have survived as cultural heritage and now they have been paired with contemporary design to provide unique interior spaces.
About the Author
Dominic Donaldson is an expert on the Italian kitchen and provides advice on all areas of interior design.
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