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Is a ‘working triangle’ key to kitchen design?

The ‘kitchen triangle’ or ‘working triangle’ isn’t a new design concept – in fact, it was developed in the 1940s by the Illinois School of Architecture – but its practicality has endured.

As the kitchen has grown in importance within the family home, becoming far more than just a food storage and preparation area but a multifunctional space, layouts have had to become flexible, but fundamental principles still apply.

We spoke to Michael Jubbs, head designer at Infinite Bespoke Interiors about why the working triangle features heavily in his kitchen designs and how the Zip HydroTap enhances this effective layout.

What is the ‘working triangle’ rule?

“Essentially, the rule helps to ensure that the layout of the kitchen is as functional and efficient as possible”, explains Michael. “It does this by ensuring that the three most-used work areas, the oven, refrigerator and sink, are arranged in a triangular format with optimal distances between them.

This means anyone using the kitchen has a seamless experience. They can move between these three areas easily, with no obstructions and not too far to walk.

Even though this concept was developed a long time ago, I believe it still very much applies today. Our lives are as busy as ever and we are all looking for ways to be more efficient.”

Why is it beneficial for homeowners?

“The triangle rule means that whatever you’re doing in the kitchen, whether it be cooking or preparing a meal, making drinks or washing up, you are conveniently situated to perform your task."

Let’s take a look at the key benefits:

Efficiency: The working triangle minimises unnecessary movement and steps within the kitchen. It allows the cook to move easily between these key work areas, reducing the time and effort required to prepare meals.

Safety: An efficient layout helps reduce the chances of accidents in the kitchen. By placing the three main working areas at appropriate distances from each other, it's less likely that you'll have to cross paths with hot pans, sharp knives, or open flames while moving between these areas.

Flow: The working triangle promotes a natural flow of tasks in the kitchen. It encourages a logical sequence of food preparation, cooking, and cleaning, which can make meal preparation more organised and less chaotic.

Space utilisation: The working triangle takes into account the placement of appliances and workstations, ensuring that the kitchen space is maximised. This can be especially important in smaller kitchens where space is limited.

Convenience: Placing the primary work areas in a triangular configuration also allows for easy access to storage areas, countertops, and other kitchen essentials. It makes it convenient to retrieve ingredients, tools, and utensils while cooking.

Social interaction: In many modern kitchens, the working triangle is designed to allow for social interaction. It can create an open and inviting kitchen layout where the cook can engage with family members or guests while preparing meals.

What needs to be considered for a working triangle?

“The space you have available plays a big part in dictating the design of the kitchen”, continues Michael. “Small kitchens have less flexibility, but there are still some rules of thumb that ideally should be applied to maximise space. For example, even if you have to have your appliances all on one wall, you can still be clever about how you ‘zone’ areas.

In larger kitchens, popular design elements such as islands can enhance the triangle model. For example, by positioning the sink on the island opposite the fridge and sink, you have a really efficient workspace.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to have a kitchen based around this principle,” explains Michael, “one of the first things we do when working with a new client is to delve a bit deeper into their lifestyle, how they use their kitchen and what’s important to them. Ultimately, the layout of the kitchen has to suit the user’s requirements.”

How does the Zip HydroTap enhance the working triangle?

“We’ve been working with Zip for around five years now”, continues Michael. “For our clients to have filtered boiling, chilled and sparkling water all from one tap is a huge bonus. Not only does it streamline appliances but it means the working triangle is maintained – there’s no need to make endless trips to the kettle.

Having looked at the boiling and chilled filtered water taps on the market, we just love the smooth flow of water and the range of design and finishes. The All in One HydroTap in particular is a fantastic product, it has incredible presence thanks to its height – it works beautifully in large kitchens.”

Michael is the lead designer at Infinite Bespoke Interiors; the creator of bespoke, one-of-a-kind kitchens. For more information about Infinite Bespoke Interiors Please visit:


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