Contemporary Kitchens — The Indian Way
The concept of 'modular' kitchens began gaining steam in India, a decade ago. For every new house, or under renovation, modular kitchen was the 'it' addition that every family wanted. But unfortunately, a fad then, the concept lost its sheen to the hand-made carpenter-crafted versions.
Blame it on the faulty manufacturing, inadequate raw material (including low quality version of particle boards, medium-density fibreboards or MDFs etc), China imports, or a strong rebuttal from the handwork community, the truth remains that a large portion of Indian consumers, that planned to install a modular kitchen, drifted away from utilising an advanced product in their households. And to add to it the value-for-money factor worked in the price sensitive Indian market turned the tide back to the traditional methodologies. The lack of right knowledge and process to complete the 'right' modular kitchen lead to disgruntled and dissatisfied customers across all sections that kitchen players still witness a certain discomfort towards modular kitchen during each prospective interaction.
In all these years, the contemporary kitchen industry, as it should rather be called, in India has consistently evolved. Many new manufacturers came up, better machines were put to use, and experienced design and execution teams were hired. All this put together, ensured the product category would sustain through the stormy times. And this stability has come through the players who have been doing the 'right' things, consistently.
So, let's understand the right way to have a contemporary or a modular kitchen in an Indian home. Not that it will be completely different from other countries, 'localising' the product is definitely the first step to success in India.
Across the globe, a distinct change in the social settings takes place every 50 miles, vertically and horizontally. And by the time the prime latitudes change, the temperature and seasonal variations mount over the cooking and living habits as well. India, specifically, being one of the rather older and evolved civilisations, has a different cooking set of patterns across its cultural diversity.
So, here we go:
Choosing the right wood
Particle boards, MDFs, wood-plastic composite (WPC) boards, commercial or block boards, and (layered) plywoods are some of the different types of machine-made forms of woods available in the Indian market. For Indian kitchens, layered plywood is a must for the internal cabinets, given the moisture that could get stored in these cabinets. To choose the right plywood look for a good moisture-resistant or MR grade. Moreover, plywoods are not heavy on the pocket, too.
The right machining process
If the right quality of wooden boards are chosen, and laminated well with the right machining process and edge banding, they become a robust entity to be used in kitchens. The right process includes the correct glues, stipulated cold pressing, precision in cutting through the right panel saw, adequate temperature during edge banding and the final finishing.
International players like Blum, Hettich, Grass etc have been investing into their hardware technologies for decades now, and hence, have the edge in this vertical. Some Indian companies have also developed their competence in partly manufacturing as well as importing the right hardwares, keeping a check on their quality aspects. So, before you pick the hardware brand of your choice, look at the quality, and also, make sure you do check the warranty it comes with.
Design & installation accuracy
A seasoned kitchen player will come with a rich experience in designing, manufacturing and installing kitchens for households. And this experience comes in handy for them to pre-empt and design the right food abodes. The right measurement before manufacturing the product is entirely essential, and so is the correct process for installation, keeping in view the floor levels, wall gradients and other civil discrepancies.
Choosing the right surface top and sealing it properly is an extremely vital part of a good kitchen installation. Granites have traditionally been used in Indian kitchens and are definitely suitable for our households, some newer products like corian synthetic surface tops and quartz can also be chosen. The choice could depend on cooking habits of the user and in turn, the porosity factors of the surface top material.
The good cost
A kitchen in India is a fulcrum of the home. And it's not everyday that one remodels or changes its kitchen. Though remodelling a kitchen is becoming faster with the advent of the right machines and skills, as Indians we still cherish the grandfather's rocking chair as much. So think before falling for too economical options. Hire the right professionals and make the right choice of the product and the right cost.
After all, a family that eats together, stays together, and a family that cooks together...is blessed.
Abhineet Seth is a seasoned home interior professional and Chief Executive Officer of Abodekraftz.