Stripping Back Kitchen Joinery
Authors: Mackay, Christina
At the beginning of the 21st Century, new kitchen joinery was typically constructed of panels.
The panels were fabricated of medium density fibreboard, using waste from the timber industry, and
finished in melamine. The panel product does not patina well, has a short life and requires disposal in
land‐fill because of its toxicity, but a large industry promotes and supports these ‘box’ system kitchens.
As the world comes to terms with excessive consumption, unsustainable production systems and
pollution, this kitchen joinery industry is an anomaly. The joinery design is ‘unacceptable’ for a sustainable
world. In the context of the evolution of kitchen joinery in New Zealand and internationally, this paper
proposes a new kitchen joinery system. Named Good Bones, the design does not have a ‘box’ carcase. It
uses just drawers for storage, minimal robust materials and environmentally friendly finishes which can
be user applied. The flexible assembly allows for design adaption to suit houses of different eras,
personalization by consecutive owners, adaption to suit new appliances and possible relocation.
Two prototype installations in Wellington, New Zealand are presented and reviewed. Users and joiners
provide feed‐back, both on the design and possible implications for the current kitchen joinery industry.