A Revolutionary Recipe for Housewives: the Cubex Kitchen

Margot Missoorten, Ann Verdonck, Marjan Sterckx

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


One hundred years ago kitchens were often limited to free-standing furniture and a stove in a living area. The interwar period, however, was a turning point as the kitchen gradually transformed into a rationally designed and carefully equipped separate space, with standardised functional elements. After the First World War, there was a desire for a new way of living in Europe, and the classical pre-war recipe for the kitchen made way for a revolutionary recipe with ingredients like Taylorism and standardisation. This design transformation can be attributed to both architects and so-called household experts. This paper reflects on the way concepts of the rational kitchen came about in Europe and focuses on some key examples in the Belgian context, notably the renowned Cubex kitchen (ca. 1930) designed by architect Louis H. De Koninck (1896-1984). The findings are based on a complementary combination of archival records and primary written sources on the one hand, and on-site material-technical observations on the other hand. As several examples of these kitchens are still preserved, it is only through this physical experience that their scale, sight, installation and use can be adequately grasped. Some conserved Cubex kitchens provide insight in how they are still used in today’s households. By understanding their context, key design concepts, and construction features, like materiality and finishing, an overview of this unique kitchen type is created.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModern Design. Social Commitment and Quality of Life
EditorsCarmen Jordá Such, Maite Palomares Figueres, Ana Tostões, Uta Pottgiesser
Place of PublicationValencia
PublisherDocomomo International tirant lo blanch
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9788419286581
ISBN (Print)978-84-19286-58-1, 978-84-19286-59-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event17th International Docomomo international Conference: Modern Design: Social Commitment & Quality of Life - Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Duration: 6 Sep 20229 Sep 2022


Conference17th International Docomomo international Conference
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) Strategic Basic Research File Numbewo) Strategic Basic Research File Number 1S69422N

Publisher Copyright:
© Design: Social Commitment and Quality of Life, Proceedings.All rights reserved.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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