Coming Soon To Small Spaces: It's The Vertical Kitchen!

When it comes to the way most people think about kitchens, the general rule is Bigger is Better. An Italian designer is getting ready to challenge this, and it's a most intriguing idea.

The new ECOOKING station, created by Italian designer and architect Massimo Facchinetti for CLEI, is a multifunction vertical kitchen unit, designed to save space as well as energy. This clever all-in-one tower, which CLEI exhibited as part of its showcase at this year's Milan Furniture Fair, features all the usual kitchen appliances and fixtures you rely on daily — stove, oven, sink/dishwasher, and microwave, as well as a garden for herbs — stacked on top of one another in modules that pull-push out as you need them.

Though solar panels will primarily power the unit, there's also a great benefit to the stacking components. An internal energy retrieval system allows for the appliaces to exchange excess heat and moisture, thus cutting down on the required amount of outside energy. And, since multitasking is the theme here, even water has several functions: excess water from the sink gets filtered and reused in the dishwasher, which then goes through a second filtration process to hydrate the vertical garden.

It's the kitchen of the future, arriving...well, soon. CLEI hasn't announced a firm on-sale date, however the company intends to put the kitchen system into production as soon as possible.

CLEI's ECOOKING station, on display at the manufacturer's showcase at this year's Milan Design Fair.[/caption]
As needed, the appliances can be pulled and pushed out like drawers.[/caption]