Intelligent kitchen for multi-generational living

12 Feb 2021

World renowned designer, Johnny Grey, and expert in ageing, Peter Gore, turned their vision for kitchens of the future into reality at Newcastle Helix University.

Started in 2017, the 4Gen Kitchen project undertook intensive user research to gain a deep understanding of the unmet needs of multigenerational families. Using innovative technology and world-class design, Johnny Grey and Professor Peter Gore created a kitchen which is not only practical and safe for all ages but also a kitchen that can become the heart of a home.

The 4Gen Kitchen was designed to adapt to the need of different ages, from young children to older adults and everything in-between.

Professor Gore explained: ‘One of the ways we have approached the design process is to eliminate some of the risks and problems that occur in normal kitchen designs. Part of assuring accessibility to a kitchen is to manage the risks faced by the different potential users.’

Features built into the design include warnings and safety features to protect both younger and older users. The floor, for example, can detect spills. When a slip hazard occurs, the kitchen will provide an audible warning, change the colour of LED lighting to warn users of the slip hazard, and isolate the water until the problem is addressed.

Access to different devices and drawers can be adjusted depending on who is in the room. A child in the room on their own, for example, can be prevented from opening a drawer containing knives.

The height of key areas and appliances can be adjusted to different the needs of different users. The oven, preparation area and even the sink are all height adjustable to ensure access for children, wheelchair users and adults of all ages.

Professor Peter Gore

Johnny Grey

Many other similar features are available as part of the 4Gen Kitchen making it truly unique, not only smart but intelligent kitchen. Work is underway to create three additional sizes of this including a ‘kitchen in a cupboard’, a solution for small spaces where the kitchen can be shut away when not needed.

The project features Proteus HW820 from ULTRA from Havwoods® collection. A fully working prototype of the 4Gen Kitchen is available to see at the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Key Features of 4Gen Kitchen

  • Smart ‘cooking anywhere’ induction surface with the newest, safe cooking technology.
  • Hidden embedded appliance powering with no electric leads.
  • Working table with linked circular preparation counter.
  • Multiple rise and fall countertops.
  • 'Soft edges' wall cupboards from carbon neutral, lightweight, fireproof materials.
  • Soft geometry walk-in pantry for visual clarity of stored items and easy access.
  • Memory era inspired wallpaper designs for comfort and style.