Matt Retallick
The Modernist 38: Kitchen

The Modernist 38: Kitchen, guest edited by Matt Retallick in March 2021.

Introduction from guest editor Matt Retallick:

The kitchen is the heart of the home. I can’t believe I’m using that old cliché either, but as we’ve all been stuck indoors, it’s maybe truer than ever. We’ve taken to our kitchens, starting those ambitious culinary projects the normal working week wouldn’t ordinarily allow. Sourdough starters bubbling, vegetables pickling, fruit fermenting, cakes baking.

It seems fitting and timely then that this issue of The Modernist focuses on the kitchen, a room where modernist design informs all our lives. When I was asked to guest edit this issue, I jumped at the chance – I am a self-confessed kitchen obsessive, and as a lifetime member of The Modernist Society it won’t come as any surprise that my own kitchen favours the mid-century, the timeless, the made to last. The Bialetti Moka Pot, Leach Pottery, Cornishware, my Braun coffee grinder, a 1960s casserole from Elizabeth David Ltd, Falcon enamel plates and bowls.

I have brought together those, who like me, are obsessed with kitchens and modernism, and collectively we offer you articles on a wide range of subjects, from American streamlining, to the Stelton EM Press and the work of Charlotte Perriand.

We also explore how in modernism handmade craft is often perceived as problematic, but articles featured here will remind the reader that modernist design isn’t always about the pure efficiency of the machine-made. This is explored through writings on Leach Pottery and Cornishware, but also in an article on how the traditional and modern collided in the mid-century Irish kitchen. We explore the iconic Frankfurt Kitchen, the precursor to all fitted kitchens, showcase collections of promotional beer mats for recognisable larder staples, and Braun appliances, as well as exploring Mancunian kitchen raves and a personal look at the ways in which modernism facilitates breakfast, the fastest meal of the day.

So, let’s put the kettle on to boil, pull up a Cesca chair and spend some time in the modernist kitchen.

More information on The Modernist available here.