Frankfurt Kitchen

A few weeks ago I visited the MAK design museum in Vienna, and tucked away in a back corner was a Frankfurt Kitchen.  I had never heard of a Frankfurt Kitchen before, but it quickly became clear that it was a massively influential piece of design. 

The Frankfurt Kitchen was designed in 1926 by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to be used in a new housing development in Frankfurt, Germany.  Housing was in short supply after WWI, so the kitchen was designed to be highly efficient and space saving.  The design was so successful that 10,000 of these kitchens were built in the late 1920s.  

The kitchen incorporated modern technology so the user would find everything they need within arms reach.  For example, the over head light is on a track so it can be repositioned depending on need.     

Frankfurt Kitchen Cuboard - $1250 on Etsy

Frankfurt Kitchen Cuboard - $1250 on Etsy

A 1989-90 replica of the Frankfurt Kitchen at the MAK

A 1989-90 replica of the Frankfurt Kitchen at the MAK

The Fallout: 

The kitchen went from being a multi-use room where people cooked, congregated, and even slept to a focused work space.  

It was optimal for one person, and cramped for two, so chores because the sole responsibility of the housewife.  Even though the kitchen was designed to help the housewife, it ended up isolating her.   

The Demise:  

Most of the kitchens were replaced in the 1960s and 1970s by "modern" kitchens.  There are very few originals that still exist.   

In 2005 a kitchen sold for 22,680 €, and another for 34,200€.  Even the aluminum drawers fetch a pretty penny.  My brief Etsy/Ebay search demonstrated that I can't afford them.