Innovation That Matters

Ayca M Aydin's Foldable Kitchen | Photo source Soup International

Community kitchens designed for portability and multi-use

Architecture & Design

Designers have come up with a range of designs for community kitchens aimed at helping refugees feel more "at home"

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Spotted: Graduate collective Soup International has designed a series of community kitchens aimed at helping refugees and asylum seekers to have a sense of “normalcy” in their domestic lives. The collective is made up of eight graduates from the MA Interior Design course at the University of East London.

The project was intended to develop portable kitchens for Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers, a non-profit that provides services to asylum seekers and refugees in the London borough of Southwark. After a fire destroyed the Centre’s kitchen in ​St Mary Newington church, the organisation turned to designers to come up with a plan for cooking facilities that could easily be set up inside the church and transported to other centres.

The designs included cooking units curved like a church apse, which can be easily be set up inside a church; dining seats that can double as church pews and concealed behind an ornamental screen; a foldable kitchen made of birch-ply panels; an eco-kitchen made from recyclable materials; a kitchen with tessellating triangular dining tables; a design based on the Japanese paper-folding art of origami; and a structure that allows users to hang photos or mementoes. 

Yuan Shiqi, who designed the latter kitchen, was inspired by her time renting flats as a student. “When I decorated flats with my photos and souvenirs I collected, I started to feel a sense of belonging,” Shiqi explained. “The concept of my design is to provide a sense of belonging for the people who are leaving their home country and come to the UK.”

Housing design has come a long way in recent years, as architects and designers focus more on finding solutions to problems of affordability and sustainability. Some of the innovative designs we have seen at Springwise include a multi-use, sustainable high-rise and a floating community for areas at risk from sea level rises.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Architecture & Design Innovations | Sustainability Innovations



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