I. The Research Process:
In Hungary a great many people live in medium sized flats of 60-70 square meters floor space. At these kind of flats it's a common phenomenon that the kitchen and the dining-room is the same space. The reason behind is to be able to cook and eat in one bigger place instead if two small holes. In this case the dining table is placed in the middle of the kitchen and it usually participates in the cooking processes as a small kitchen-island.
The best feature of the kitchen-islands is that they make more space-effective the kitchen: you can use more space to cook and more than one person can use the kitchen in the same time. However the islands has also a serous disadvantage: you need a really big kitchen and a big flat to install a kitchen-island. People with small and medium sized flats can only dream about having one.
I began the search to solve this situation by researching the Hungarian Peasants' way of thinking about tools and creating tools in the Hungarian Culture. I Found out that the typical characteristics of the Peasants Tools is a kind of sanity, simplicity, and multi-functionality.
During the research I found a very interesting table at my grandparents – who still live the peasant way of life in a small town called Mezőtúr.
This is table is a bourgeois originated, typically painted wood furniture type from 1930. At that time the carpetnters produced this table to order with typical chairs with drawers called Hokedli and they sold it in set.
The most interesting feature of this table is that it is a dining and a kitchen work table in the same time. This means that it has kitchen functions such as a pull-out pastry board or the lower container place, however also has dining functions like extendibility.
Long story short, to solve the problem of small flats with merged kitchen and dining room I decided to design a table based on its traditional Hungarian origins.
II. The Design Process:
III. How this table works:
During designing I defined all functions and features of the table after analyzing dining and kitchen activities of the target users.
1. The question of height.
The Marinka Table must fit to both Kitchen and Dining activities. Hence the very first question is its height. Generally the dining tables are 75cm high and kitchen working counters are usually between 85 and 90cm.
Therefore the table is 85cm high to fit to the kitchen activities on foot.
When you are sitting while dining there is a 10cm difference that is counterbalanced by its chairs which are 10cm higher than normal dining chairs and the footrest is exactly 10 cm high as well. Hence, when we are sitting at the table we perceive as same proportions as at normal dining tables. For that reason true to its roots the Marinka table is designed with its Hokedli chairs in set:
2. The drawers.
Drawers have an important role in dining and cooking processes. They make the table capabable of storing toolsets that we use during activites around the table such as cooking equipments, cutlery or smaller tableware tools.
3. Pastry board like a drawer.
I kept this feature one-to-one from the original table. The pastry board is an important tool for every operation associated with pastas, noodles and cakes, however pastry boards are allways dificult to storage in small flats.
4. Temporally extendable working surface.
This feature makes our life easier when we simply run out of space during cooking activites - e.g. too many pans, bowls and ingredients are on the table or I have to use the pastry board in a certain phase of cooking process. In these cases you just pull out a new slab, put there your stuffs and continue working.
5. The lower storage section.
You can temporally keep there bigger pans or dirtier ingredients like unwashed vegetables and eggs at certain phases of your cooking process.
Designer: Alberto Vasquez
Design consultant: Attila Bárkányi
Photographer: György Kaczúr