A Micro-Kitchen on Wheels That Folds Up Like an Armoire When You’re Finished Cooking

Slate’s design blog.
June 17 2014 9:00 AM

Designers Reinvent the Micro-Kitchen  

The C=1m2 micro kitchen by French carpenter/designer Jean-Luc Sifferlin packs a full kitchen into a rolling 10-square-foot armoire.

Courtesy of Sifferlin

Any chef worth his or her salt knows that the size of one’s kitchen has nothing to do with the quality of one’s cooking. But American kitchens are generally bloated with oversize appliances and real estate-hogging layouts, more theater than laboratory, status symbols even for those who never cook.

Even apartments in cities with notoriously small-scale kitchen spaces tend to waste plenty of square feet on four-range stovetops, giant ovens and high-capacity dishwashers that are tailored for much larger rooms. But as Americans have begun to embrace the upsides of downsizing, designers have begun to play catch up, cooking up compact kitchen designs equipped with more than just glorified dorm-room appliances.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that General Electric had designed a series of appliances including a cooktop, two ovens, a sink, a dishwasher, and refrigerator/freezer cooling drawers that can fit inside a 6-foot-long chest of standard counter height drawers. It’s the company’s answer to increasing demand for appliances tailored to micro-apartments, which it defines (rather generously) as “roughly 450 feet.” GE is currently crowdsourcing micro-kitchen design ideas and will award $2,500 prizes to the top four designs this summer. They plan to produce the mini-kitchens by the end of the year for around $15,000.


Meanwhile in Europe, where so-called micro-housing is the norm, the nomadic two-by-two-foot kitchen tower designed by Massimo Facchinetti for Italian furniture company Clei that was unveiled at last year’s Milan Furniture Fair is so unconventional that it almost seems like a gimmick but is in fact no joke. In addition to all the usual kitchen appliances, it even includes an espresso machine and an herb garden, and provides 15 square feet of work or dining space. Priced around 10,000 euros ($13,500), it is scheduled to go into production starting in the fall.

And in Paris, where space is a precious commodity and by law unfurnished rentals are required to come with literally nothing more than a kitchen sink, Strasbourg-based carpenter/designer Jean-­Luc Sifferlin recently won two main prizes at the annual Foire de Paris for C=1m2 (above and below), his “complete, compact and efficient” micro-kitchen. Developed in partnership with European built-in appliance specialist NEFF, it’s a portable one-square-meter (just over 10-square-foot) armoire on wheels that houses a sink, stovetop, extractor hood, combination microwave/convection oven, refrigerator, and modular storage.

The C=1m2 kitchen requires nothing but a water source and an electrical outlet.

Courtesy of Sifferlin

Assembled, the 550-pound kitchen chest on wheels just needs a water source and an electrical plug to get going, and folds up neatly once mealtime is over, making it particularly appealing for those who live in studios and open plan lofts, not to mention offices and pop-up spaces. At 6,500 euros ($8,820), the C=1m2 comes in both indoor and outdoor versions. Because it’s portable, you can take it with you to your next kitchenless rental or fixer-upper, saving you the trouble and expense of installing a conventional kitchen.

The C=1m2 micro kitchen comes in indoor and outdoor versions and a range of colors.

Courtesy of Sifferlin

Not that all French kitchens are tiny and have the mini-appliances to match. French people with more space have been known to outfit their apartments with the large refrigerators that Americans think of as standard-sized, even though Americans have the biggest refrigerators in the world. Unlike a regular frigo—the French word for fridge—they call it a frigo américain.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.