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Explore the origins of the modern kitchen in this online tour of the Museum of Modern Art's Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen exhibit.
The Frankfurt Kitchen was designed by Grete Schutte-Lihotzky and is the earliest work by a female architect in the museum's collection. Thousands of these compact and ergonomic kitchens were manufactured in Germany to meet the housing crisis following the war.
Hallmarks of the Frankfurt Kitchens were that they were standardized with each kitchen element carefully arranged in order to minimize steps and increase ergonomics. Lihotzky's kitchens were "about a vision of really making a lot of women's lives easier," says Juliet Kinchin, MOMA curator of the exhibit.
Roughly 10,000 Frankfurt kitchens were installed in apartments throughout Germany during the housing crisis. An original is pictured here.
Peppered throughout the exhibit are examples of kitchen gadgets, such as the Chemex coffeemaker, designed in 1941 by Peter Schlumbohm. Made of heat-resistant glass, and wood with a leather strap, the Chemex is an example of a product developed as rations for metal shifted the focus to using other materials.
The second section of MOMA's exhibit explores functional design and technological innovation with an emphasis on the leisure kitchen, as captured in this collage by Tom Wesselmann (Still Life #30, April 1963).
Also on display at MOMA's exhibit is this mobile kitchen unit, designed in 1968 and manufactured by Snaidero, an Italian kitchen company.
Go to the next slide to see how the unit expands.