So I designed a kitchen…

…and it didn’t suck. (hopefully)

This post is mostly a look back at the experience of our 2nd semester kitchen design exercise from college.

I still remember the excitement around the class – there was the apprehension of doing our first “real” design, but mostly there was also the impatience to release all the pent up “architectural” ideas from the last basic design semester waiting to be released.

First bump on the road – “client profile“. My initial reaction was does it even matter? Just design for the ‘bachelor’ that you’re asked to! This proved to be highly entertaining however; going around the class reading the rich backstories that my classmates had formed for each member of their family. A lot of them didn’t make sense. I couldn’t tell the difference a kitchen would have if the homecoming son was from the US or Uganda or if the dog in the house was a labrador or a pekinese, but I digress. All of these probably signaled at design nuances I was unable to grasp back then. I finally decided on a bachelor client who also films cookery shows for a living, and no he didn’t have any shady backstories.

Next came the design study phase. My hands were itching to start “designing” already, but what did I know. Material studies, Work triangles, Time-usage analysis diagrams and so on.  I found it difficult to digest that a space we’re used to everyday can have so much “work” behind it. Then came the really interesting part – my seniors wanted me to do live case studies. I remember calling up random bachelor relatives to ask what they “wanted” from their kitchen. If you ask me now, it’s food that makes itself, but I digress again.

Then came the stage I was waiting for – the actual ‘designing’ part – and I was stuck. I had absolutely no clue how to proceed. Then came one of the most entertaining stages in any design exercise – calling up friends to see how much they’ve done, frantically rushing off to seniors’ homes hoping for a “how-to” or a “crash course” on design, imagining giving it all up and thinking maybe architecture isn’t a good option for you at all. If there was a ‘Design for Dummies’ book at that stage I’d have probably read it.

The one week leading up to the submission was intense. I did and undid and redid my design till it hurt; and with a LOT of help from my seniors, I was able to package and submit a design eventually.

So what were my takeaways from my 2 month long, initial design exercise?

  • Iteration, iteration, iteration! Even if it ain’t broke, fix it till it squeaks.
  • People don’t know they want good design till they see it.
  • The narrower you focus your intent, the more options open up to you.

There are probably more.

How was your first design exercise like? Share it in the comments below 🙂