More than any other room in the home, the kitchen has undergone the most dramatic changes in the last century. From the large basement battleships de cuisine of the early 20th century to Margarete Schutte-Lihotsky's space saving 1920s Frankfurt Kitchen that embodied all the rigor of the Deutsche Werkbund, the kitchen has now evolved from a pure work space to a hub for socializing and entertaining. I spent half of my time at a recent party in the kitchen with my host and our friends, making drinks, prepping food and, when that was done, gathering around the countertop to chat.
Milanese designer Elia Mangia has anticipated the future of our ever evolving kitchen with Critter, a free-standing mobile unit with a cooktop, sink, garbage disposal and work space. Even if you keep Critter in your kitchen where you do most of your cooking, you can easily lift it like a wheel barrow and move it outdoors for a backyard cook out. Unlike a traditional barbecue (which you don't need to buy now), you can position Critter anywhere you like—the patio, the edge of the yard or down wind from the outdoor seating. True, most readymade barbecues can be wheeled around, but even if your unit has more than the standard, plastic wheels that weather and crack, how many of us ever actually move it anywhere on a regular basis?
With Critter, the mobile function is a central part of its design. In fact, the entire kitchen can be taken apart in just a few simple steps. Because Critter is fastened with only eight screws and the components are modular and freely interchangeable, it wouldn't even be a pain to pack it up in the back of your car and take it camping. And its solid ash wood, stainless steel and cast iron construction make it practical for outdoor use and beautiful enough to bring inside.