All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Articles
  3. How to Design an Accessible Kitchen: Adjustable and Multifunctional Furniture

How to Design an Accessible Kitchen: Adjustable and Multifunctional Furniture

How to Design an Accessible Kitchen: Adjustable and Multifunctional Furniture
How to Design an Accessible Kitchen: Adjustable and Multifunctional Furniture, Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Universal accessibility in architecture refers to the capacity that all people have to access and inhabit a space regardless of their cognitive and physical capacities, and it is a subject that cannot be dismissed. Although little modifications can make a difference, it is ideal for the spaces to be thought out according to universal design guidelines from the beginning.

In the case of the kitchens, a series of new technologies that increase the comfort and efficiency of our daily spaces have made an appearance. Thus, multiplying its functions and allowing better use of the available surface. Let's take a look at the latest innovations presented by Häfele.

Courtesy of Häfele Courtesy of Häfele Courtesy of Häfele Courtesy of Häfele + 24

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Basic Considerations

Although each country has its own detailed rules about this subject, there are minimum measures we should respect to ensure accessibility in our kitchens. To allow free access and movement of a wheelchair, for example, the areas of circulation must have a minimum width of 80 cm with an optimal width approaching 120 cm. Objects and utensils must be at the direct reach of users, incorporating handles or opening systems easy to use, like faucets with levers instead of valves (gerontological taps in extreme cases). The main lighting must be stable and uniform; mixing natural and artificial light if possible, plus the addition of directed light bulbs in specific zones while installing programmable automated systems and movement sensors would be ideal. The installation of anti-skit floors and choosing safe, easy to clean and antibacterial materials is also advised.

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Adjustable Countertops

With a movement range of 67 cm, the Vitaflex system is made for its height to be adjusted according to each user’s needs. Incorporating elevation columns that can stand up to 60 kg of weight, the countertop considers the movement of artifacts like the stove or the dishwasher, allowing effective freedom throughout that space as a whole.

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

The extensible tables make it possible to increase the useful and habitable space of the kitchen, also easing the access for people in wheelchairs. From perfectly hidden in a drawer, Some of them can get attached and adjusted to the height of the countertop, while others unfold into dining room tables.

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Movable Cabinets

It is also possible to incorporate cabinets that are closer within the reach of the user with just a simple movement and/or with a switch or button. One option for this could be to install it as a structure screwed to the wall, allowing the cabinet to move diagonally, downwards and upwards. Another option is using columns of elevation that move the cabinet only in a vertical fashion.

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Sliding Drawers

Although they are generally used for keeping cutlery and kitchen utensils, it is important to consider sliding drawers in the lower furniture. This way, avoiding the design of fixed cabinets that are too deep and difficult to reach.

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Lift Doors

It is possible to eliminate doors with hinges of upper furniture and replace them with lift doors, which gives easy access to the artifacts and utensils while using the kitchen. This system also helps to clear the area, allowing free movement without the need to close the cabinets.

Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele
Courtesy of Häfele

Multifunctional Kitchens

The integration of all these technologies allows the construction of multifunctional kitchens that are capable of adapting and adjusting to the needs of different users while diversifying functions in a small space. In addition to the versatility given by electronic systems that control the movement of cabinets and tables in different directions and heights, there is also the potential to program predetermined configurations that increase the users’ quality of life even further; giving the capacity to customize breakfast tables, workspaces, storage rooms, among many others.

About this author
Cite: Franco, José Tomás. "How to Design an Accessible Kitchen: Adjustable and Multifunctional Furniture" 10 Jul 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/920447/how-to-design-an-accessible-kitchen-adjustable-and-multifunctional-furniture/> ISSN 0719-8884
Courtesy of Häfele

无障碍厨房设计指南,可调节和多功能家具

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.