The kitchen island represents on the one hand a great love for cooking, gathering and eating. In the private environment its perfection lends some cachet to the home and therefore its owners, perhaps, a sense of control. However, on the other hand the pristine cleanliness of the island raises questions about its maintenance and the space it occupies.
It takes a good amount of cleaning and tidying up to keep up appearances. The bigger the island, the more there is to become dirty, but also the more space it occupies; as much as a medium to large sized room. Whereas this amount of storage space makes it easier to keep the modern interior clean and clutter-less, the island itself becomes populated with the clutter that is now out of sight. Does the island become a Pandora’s Box containing harmful clutter and unwanted imperfections? Or can it be used in a more constructive manner?
The Kitchen Island and its presence in the middle of a room is perhaps to the 21st century what the four poster bed must have been to the 17th century. Both define through their presence the surrounding space in the room and both represent a mixture of status, a need to display and a practical use. The largest difference between the two is that the kitchen island is used for its exterior and the four poster bed was used for its interior.
The writer Walter Benjamin criticized the bourgeois individual in Berlin and Paris, at the turn of the 20th century. This bourgeois individual could only relax and be content, be himself, in his own interior among his beloved objects in which he saw him-self reﬂected.
Cushioned by his objects, and therefore protected from the real world outside his room he was, ef- fectively, shutting it out. The interior and all its nostalgic objects were seen, by Benjamin, to keep the bourgeois individual captive among his possessions, preventing him from engaging with the real world and its people with its problems and challenges. The 21st century bourgeois individual, now perhaps part of the middle classes, inhabits a pristine and clutter-less interior that reﬂects the perfection of the life of its owners. Again the individual escapes from an engagement with the real world and the problems facing the earth and society ‑even though these enter his world on a continuous basis through handheld de- vices- hiding all clutter and waste inside a kitchen island. In fact, the kitchen island grows at the expense of the world outside it and becomes a symbol of outwards perfection only.