A kitchen with freestanding elements: the answer to a mobile lifestyle

Cocina modular con b solitarie de vidrio

One of the many assumptions that no longer hold true in today's fast-paced world is that we would spend our entire lifetimes in the place where we were born. An increasing number of people change their places of residence to meet the needs of a globalized world. At the same time, the compartmentalized traditional home has been partially transformed by new customs which call for open spaces that can accommodate a variety of activities. This is the new scenario for which kitchens made of mobile, flexible, independent units seek to offer a solution.

Freestanding kitchen elements and lofts

In his memoir Words Without Music, recalling life in New York in the 1970s, composer Philip Glass describes how the old industrial spaces in SoHo started being used as artist's studios. That colonization of manufacturing spaces, after industrial activity had moved to outlying areas, left empty factory buildings in numerous cities—many of which have since been converted into high-end residential spaces.

Glass writes that his first loft was "an unheated square room […]. It had a toilet and a cold water basin." The image of the composer's bohemian surroundings highlights the challenges that kitchens with freestanding units have managed to solve. Because these spaces were not initially conceived for residential use, they lacked traditional home furnishings—the very basics for making them livable spaces.

Kitchen with bulthaup b2 system by modules

Freestanding kitchen units for a mobile lifestyle

Another one of the defining features of the transformation brought about by globalization in early 21st-century societies has been people's increasing tendency to move according to the requirements of a constantly changing job market. Many executives and high-level professionals have adapted to a mobile lifestyle that leads them to travel across the globe with their homes packed up in crates and boxes. When these people move, freestanding units allow them to take not only their furniture and personal objects with them, but also their kitchens. As Anatxu Zabalbeascoa mentioned in reference to bulthaup b2, "now [...] the entire kitchen can move with you. And you don't even have to take it unassemble it. Say goodbye to lost investments and hello to a kitchen that will last you a lifetime."

The sources of inspiration for freestanding kitchens go way back to the industrial age and its aesthetics: field stoves and workbenches—utterly practical and, most importantly, portable—and tool cabinets in workshops, where each tool has its place. This is the austere aesthetic that has been carried over to kitchens made of modules and characterized by their functionality and their reduction to the bare essentials.

bulthaup b2, the kitchen workshop

Bulthaup b2 kitchen system with workshop modules and work bench

Mobility in any space

Inspired by the craftsman's golden rules of order, clarity and perfect organization for all tools and materials, bulthaup b2 combines the three key components of a kitchen: a workbench, a kitchen tool cabinet and an appliance housing cabinet. Its other essential feature is that all three can be set up in any space whatsoever.

Kitchen bulthaup b2 with workbench

The workbench

The b2 workbench—whose oldest ancestors are the workbenches described by Bartolomeo Scappi, personal cook to several Renaissance popes—can bring together a worktop, areas for washing and cooking and, in addition, a place to eat. And that’s not all: it can even be extended to create longer surfaces by adding an additional pair of legs.

bulthaup b2 tool cabinet

The kitchen tool cabinet

Traditionally, craftspeople would build their own tool cabinets to meet their particular needs. Following that philosophy, the interior of the b2 kitchen tool cabinet can be configured to fulfill each user's specific requirements. When you open the doors to the unit, you have the entire range of items and utensils at your disposal: everything has its place and is within arm's reach.

bulthaup b2 appliance cabinet

The appliance housing cabinet

The appliance cabinet completes the kitchen workshop. It houses an oven, a dishwasher, and a refrigerator. When the cabinet is open, access is easy to all the appliances; with its doors closed, everything is perfectly stowed away.

Cocina modular blanca en un piso de Girona

Beyond the kitchen

The functional boundary-blurring that tends to bring the kitchen, the dining room and the living area together into one single, organic whole has been enhanced by the emergence of new ranges of furniture that can be used to tie these different areas into each other, and stands out for its multi-purpose qualities. The range of b Solitaire elements fulfills these new needs for sociability and versatility.

bulthaup b Solitaire table and bench

b Solitaire table and bench

The table, made of an aluminum frame and a solid oak top, together with the bench covered in a natural leather cushion, form the perfect ensemble for domestic life and create a seamless connection between the kitchen and the rest of the living space.

Oak bulthaup b Solitaire

b Solitaire stainless steel, glass, or oak

b Solitaire, with its different top layers—stainless steel, glass, and oak—and its shelves, pull-out trays and grids, allows for a wide range of configurations and can adapt to countless functions. This ability makes these elements perfect for creating transitions, separating and connecting spaces.

bulthaup b Solitaire shelf unit

b Solitaire shelf unit

Given its outstanding versatility, the b Solitaire shelf unit can become the ideal display case for all those objects that make you feel at home: your mother's favorite book, the ceramics from your last vacation, or your stemware.

Vanishing borders in the living space

Both bulthaup b2 and b Solitaire, with their austere, refined aesthetics, address today’s need for multi-purpose spaces that bring together the different pleasures of domestic life.

First photo: Casa Nina, bulthaup Girona.

Second photo: Duplex in Barcelona, bulthaup Barcelona Bach 7.

Seventh photo: B&M house, bulthaup Girona.

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