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Moveable feasts: Merrett Houmøller's pop-up kitchen defies cultural borders

March 14, 2018

Describing themselves as "relatively young and still optimistic", London-based architecture studio Merrett Houmøller are delivering on their self-set goal to create architecture for the greater good. Their recent colourful project – a compact, collapsable and transportable kitchen – is their response to the RIBA design competition, Beyond Borders, which sought to unite vulnerable young people who have crossed borders to get to the UK.

 

Cover image: Beyond Borders, Merrett Houmøller Architects, photo by Francis Ware

Beyond Borders, Merrett Houmøller Architects, photos by Francis Ware

 

The temporary kitchen was designed to be used as a weekly meet-and-eat destination. Run by the British Red Cross staff and volunteers, the pastel-coloured pop-up structure unpacks into an impromptu dining hall with the capacity to serve a group of around thirty people a hot meal within a friendly and inviting environment. 

 

The sense of community brought about through the tradition of meal-sharing transcends generation, culture, and even language. Merrett Houmøller's bright and fun dining space exemplifies that unique unifying moment and uses it as a starting point to break down cultural barriers. Users are able to make connections with their peers in an atmosphere that is young, vibrant and speaks to the vitality of their age.

Beyond Borders, Merrett Houmøller Architects, photos by Francis Ware

 

The kitchen's design is markedly simple and functional, made from demountable modules that can be adapted to suit various sites on a temporary or permanent basis. It was designed to replace the former site for the initiative's weekly meals – an office fitted with a rice cooker and a steamer. The updated moveable space provide new facilities for cooking, meal preparation and cleaning. The two utility units combined include a gas hob, sink, serving area, and storage for the dining benches and tables.

Beyond Borders, Merrett Houmøller Architects, photos by Francis Ware

 

The bright colours, smart compartments, and nautical-inspired symbols incorporated within the design each respond to one underlying purpose – to facilitate ease-of-use whilst promoting universality. This friendly kitchen is a demonstration of how design can unite people and affect social change in the simplest, most direct way possible.  

Share this post if you're nuts about socially-driven design. Also – check out more of Merrett Houmøller Architects work here, and don't forget to follow them on Instagram

NEXT: Floating tranquility in the south of France

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