Boffi Mini Kitchen

I love the challenge presented by small spaces, perhaps nowhere more than in the kitchen. How do you squeeze a functioning galley into a small space and still maintain a certain level of aesthetic in the process?

The standard bearer of the self-contained mini kitchen is Boffi's Mincucine (pictured above). Designed in 1963 with a volume just shy of 11 cubic feet, this mini kitchen covers cooking, refrigeration and storage in a space the size of an office desk, wrapped in a brilliant, minimalist design.

The original Minicucine was updated in 2007 with a gorgeous matte Corian finish.

Boffi minicucine

Students at ENSCI, the famed Parisian industrial design school were clearly influenced by Boffi when they designed their Modern Space Saving Mini Kitchen. Sliding counters and a streamlined design give the concept piece a Star Trek allure.

Mini Kitchen

With storage, prep and cooking all wrapped into a single, mobile unit, these kitchens contain everything but the lighting. Mini-pendant lights are a great way to light these minimalist wonders without overpowering their diminutive size.

Mini-Pendant Lights

Hinkley Hampton Wide Nickel Mini Pendant Light, (left) Polished Nickel Hybrid Mini Pendant (right)

Mini kitchens can seem almost automotive in their presentation. Concept photos show gleaming stand-alone pieces with doors swung open and there's a distinct emphasis as much on performance as on form. Designers Adriano Conti, Corrado Galzio and Alex Innamorati pack a lot of punch into their design, including a vegetable washer, dishwasher, refrigerator, small pantry and oven. At approximately three feet in diameter, this design could be tucked away into a closet when house guests arrive. Or as the photo shows, it makes a decent cocktail table too.

Pocket Kitchen

A trend toward higher density living no doubt necessitates small living solutions, yet as logistically accomplished as compacted island kitchen concepts are, more conservative back-to-the-wall designs may be best suited to widespread use. The K1 Kitchen from French company Kitchoo is a minimalist bureau design that integrates easily with a variety of hospitality and home projects.

Kitchen cabinet

When space is an issue, modularity often carries the day, offering flexibility that stand-alone mini kitchens do not. Forget about what's on the stove, Snaidero's modular Code kitchen system is worth salivating over. It looks great with ample floor space, but can be scaled down to fit a much smaller footprint.

Snaidero modular kitchen

The Library Kitchen system, designed by Phillipe Starck for Warendorf, wraps the kitchen appliances in bookshelves, merging the cultural and the culinary for tight spaces. 

Philippe Starck kitchen

When counter space is tight, it can be critical to utilize air space. Use stemware racks, recessed under cabinet lights and hanging pot racks to help keep cabinets and counters free. 

Living small requires living smart. With a variety of excellent plug-and-play and modular systems out there, living small can mean living well too.

Images:  Informinteriors, Doublemesh, Freshome, Snaidero, Home Designing