Modular Kitchens

Customization with respect to cabinet and countertop/surface materials and finishes, integrating appliances within the design, and in-built technology are changing the look and feel of modular kitchens

By Seema Gupta

Modular Kitchen manufacturers are upping their offerings with tech-rich features such as sensor controlled shutters, movable or expandable countertops, built-in appliances, rust and waterproof prep counters, discreet storage spaces, stain proof countertops, in-built lighting, and sleek chimneys and hobs. Options for customisation and design flexibility using a host of colours, finishes and textures further support this move.

Carysil Kitchen Oven Sink
Photo Courtesy: Crysil Kitchen

Chirag Parekh

Comments Chirag Parekh, Chairman and Managing Director, Carysil Kitchen, "Indian kitchens have undergone a major makeover in every aspect, be it the basic look of the kitchen to the cooking styles and the kind of appliances being used. Considering the current scenario, the kitchen segment is expected to introduce products, appliances, accessories and services to feed the current trends. The availability of a plethora of options is gradually inspiring consumers to experience a new paradigm shift in the way they perceived the mundane tasks of the kitchen once upon a time."

Deepikka Jindal

"People are looking for kitchen spaces that are vibrant, sturdy and efficient, and which they can flaunt," observes Deepikka Jindal, MD, JSL Lifestyle Limited and Jindal Architecture Ltd. "At Arttd'inox, we are working continuously to offer solutions that are modern, innovative, functional and of course beautiful. Amongst the new trends, consumers are asking for new appliances and technologies to be installed."

Arttdinox kitchens are 100% stainless steel both in structure and carcass and therefore more expensive than other materials. The company is catering to HNIs and high-end apartments, and it offers customization in structure, design, color, choice of appliances, cabinets, etc, with efficient after-sales service. Appliances in its kitchens include Teppanyaki grill, Barbeque Grill, Built in refrigerator, Wine Cooler, Induction cooktop (rather than the regular hob), and an in-built coffee machine.

"The high points of steel cabinetry would clearly be the long term value/sustainability of stainless steel kitchens, but those with a short-term perspective may see the cost as a negative," says Deepikka. "Our kitchens can easily last lifelong because they stay pest-free, are extremely hygienic (food items can be placed or cut directly on the kitchen top), and easy to clean as they are stain resistant – no oil or masala stains are left on the surface, and also scratch and burn resistant. Customers have realised that when it comes to total cost of ownership, our kitchens score over many others."

Jindal Kitchen
Jindal Kitchen

According to her, besides the various shapes and finishes such as glossy and matt, self-design or decals are gaining popularity in the new- age kitchen solutions. Many new suppliers and brands have entered the modular kitchen business, which means that the industry is quite healthy and growing. Currently pegged at Rs.2500 crore, it is expected to grow at CAGR of 45% during 2013 to 2018.

In recent years, Corian has became a popular choice as a malleable but extremely scratch resistant, heat resistant, anti-bacterial and absorption free. Hafele's quartz stone brand Caesarstone was introduced in 2013 as an alternative to the popular granite and marble. This engineered stone is made from 93% pure quartz stone which can create unique kitchen countertops in any imaginable colour by adding colour pigments and additives into the mix, and it can be easily processed like other stones by local fabricators. Colours ranging from pure whites to shades of concrete, grey, mocha, oyster, etc give designers the freedom to create stunning kitchen designs.

Hacker Stone Veneer
Hacker Kitchen's latest handle-less stone veneered front

Technology and Performance

Ridhvika Chawla
Häcker brand, known for its superior quality and high price-performance ratio with its range of over 163 different options in material surfaces, colors and styles, finishes such as high-gloss laminates, veneers, solid wood, matt and glossy lacquer paint, etc, gives customers endless options to create individual styles in their kitchens. Comments Ridhvika Chawla, Director, Kanu Kitchens Kulture, "Modular Kitchens in India are seeing a shift to the more modern, straight line/minimalistic design concept. Curved islands, sliding breakfast counters, integrated cooking and dining spaces, and built-in appliance are the latest smart design solutions, and they reflect individual styles and preferences. Even though the high gloss lacquered fronts are an evergreen choice for many, new finishes like the concrete laminates, real stone, and satin glass fronts are picking up fast."

Hacker Climber Unit
Hacker Climber' wall unit operates by a slight touch on the cabinet to open or close the glass front slides
The latest offering from Hacker includes the handle-less stone veneered front that creates a unique design with its raw/natural look combined with sophisticated design elements. The MDF board is coated with a slate veneer with the rear side and edges lacquered in black. The front is additionally lacquered with a 1-2-component lacquer system for surface protection. Built-in refrigerator, coffee machine, combi steam oven, dishwasher and gas hob from Siemens add to the streamlined spatial concept. The breakfast counter in black satin lacquer creates additional spaces for integrated cooking and dining concepts.

At the same time, integration of tech-rich features in the kitchen design have made kitchens functionally better. Häcker kitchens have many award winning innovations such as the 'Silent Move' and the revolutionary 'Flying Bridge' island wherein the granite work top of the island cabinet slides laterally and in split movement to create additional working and dining spaces, and can be customized in any dimension. The variations in the handles make it possible to archive an unlimited variety of ideas and make the clear–cut between the cooking and eating spaces less distinct.

Hacker's exclusive 'Climber' wall unit operates by a slight touch on the bottom of the cabinet to slowly open or close the glass front slides electrically, often finds place in the dining and living areas, and not always in the kitchen area because of its completely new look and attractive design. Its front shutters comprise of split glass/veneered strips that fold upwards with a sensor-based motorized smooth movement.

Hacker Flying Bridge
Hacker Kitchen's Silent Move' revolutionary 'Flying Bridge' island

Kitchen designs today are an outcome of advanced and updated technology that ensure high quality and durability with use of quality veneers, laminates and rust proof coatings. Flexibility in designing allows room for sufficient storage space, options for lowered countertop height, especially in the sitting area, and tailor made modules for versatility so that the kitchen can adapt to any surrounding. Some high-end 'interactive kitchens' even feature a TV, laptop, speaker and Wi-Fi connectivity, and are furnished with a small bar and seating.

Homeowners can now source high quality internationally designed kitchens that fit their budget with hassle-free delivery from online furniture company The modular kitchens can be customized to suit individual tastes and lifestyles, are priced competitively, and delivered to buyer's doorstep. They come with 5 years warranty with life time after-sales service.

Jatin Paul
Says Jatin Paul, Co-Founder,, "Italian or German-made kitchens are too expensive for most people. bridges this gap through technology that speeds-up the buying process allowing people to choose from a vast assortment of designs and receive digitized renderings to preview before they buy. Our integrated software connects customers to the design team as well as the manufacturing facility to ensure that the order is tracked at every step. Our in-house team of trained installers can set up a fully functional modular kitchen in just four weeks from the day an order is placed."

He informs that all the products are manufactured at the company's manufacturing facility, which houses raw materials and finishing equipments imported from Germany and Italy. Currently targeting key metro cities, eventually plans to tap tier-2 cities with an introduction of new product categories and patented designs of modular furniture. It is supported by multinational conglomerates of the modular furniture industry which will help set the stage for scaling operations pan India.

Modspace Kitchen
Modspace Kitchen envisions emerging as a nationwide brand with unique designs specialized for the local Indian environment. It is now getting into the physical store space by launching a brand new showroom in Gurgaon. It will showcase a new line of kitchens and wardrobes including new finishes with wood fusion products, and a new collection of fittings. "These fittings by are extra durable, cutting edge in design and utility, and excellent value for money. Our finishes, accessories and fittings are engineered for the Indian environment, and they will provide exciting options for kitchen and wardrobe buyers looking for unique design concepts," says Jatin.

International trends in kitchen design, innovative surface materials, and high performing fittings are finding a ready market in Indian homes, where the kitchen is being showcased as a style statement. Many upscale homes favour an open lifestyle, where living spaces seamlessly integrate with each other for a neat, uncluttered look. Here, their kitchen designs too promote minimalistic living while intelligently concealing minute high-tech details that have been engineered to enhance the performance of the kitchens. These highly customizable kitchens have multi-functional features, and offer a range of veneers and finishes such as veneered oak, anthracite, laminates, two-tone wood veneers, etc, for the counter tops and cabinets. Modern appliances are being integrated within the design, and can be adjusted for day-to-day as well as special occasions.

Essentials for a Smart Kitchen

Companies like Kanu Kitchens Kulture are constantly bringing new kitchen concepts to the Indian market, and offering a range of fully customizable modular kitchens that are complemented by built-in kitchen appliances from leading global brands. In fact, pre-fitted appliances complete the kitchen for buyers looking for an 'install and use' kitchen. Says Ridhvika, "At Häcker, we believe in giving clients a one stop solution for the complete kitchen. So we have tied up with well-known brands like Miele, Siemens, Gorenje, Hafele and Capella as their appliance range co-ordinates very well with our kitchen design and styles. The regular built-in category includes the basics, that is, the hob, hood, microwave, oven and dishwasher. But many clients also look for additional appliances like steam oven, barbeque grill, coffee machine, wine cooler etc, as per their cooking requirements."

Avers Chirag Parekh, "Kitchens are no longer the old utilitarian space, but have become a sign of who you are and how you like to live. Going beyond the regular functions, kitchens have evolved into spaces of interaction where the hosts and guests can-chit chat. A good kitchen design involves space utilization and comfort in access. Even kitchen appliances have progressed to become convenient and multi-faceted. The fastest way to furnish a modern kitchen is to go for modular kitchen appliances. The term 'modular' suggests something that has been designed with identical units or dimensions, for easy assemblage and repair or flexible arrangement and use. They are made up of various modules, which are easy to use and ship. And in case of any damage, only a particular unit has to be repaired or replaced."

He adds, "There is an increasing demand for appliances like Trance Ice Maker that can make fresh ice in no time, Wine Chiller with its dual temperature zone for red and white wine, built-in ovens, free standing cooking range, gas operating oven, and a rotisserie for barbecue, all of which offer multiple cooking choices while making a style statement."

Hafele Built In Barbeque Deep Fryer
Hafele built-in barbeque and deep fryer Hafele built in oven
Hafele is offering a range of futuristic built-in appliances for modular kitchens. These include Its built-in oven from the Nagold J-Series that bring functionality and technology in a single power-packed model, while enabling minimalism in the kitchen design. The oven's 11 independent cooking functions ensure flexibility in choosing the right settings for cooking. Made of high grade stainless steel, the oven has sensor touch controls, an LED electronic display panel, and has a triple glazed glass door with a large viewing window.

The Nagold Combi-Steam oven's additional functions include auto menu, auto-defrost, child lock and refillable water tank. With the ability to steam, light bake and grill, the oven is one of the most versatile equipment in the kitchen. Nagold's smart and efficient Built-in Barbeque and Deep Fryer made of high quality stainless steel, fit smugly onto kitchen counter tops. The integrated front knob allows user to regulate the cooking or barbequing. Features of the deep fryer include an oil temperature lamp set by a thermostat and the barbeque has a removable enameled griddle for precise heating and temperature control, and lava stone for quick heat absorption and uniform/widespread heat distribution.

Market Trend

The market for branded kitchens is growing with increase in multi-storied apartments where consumers faced with a space crunch opt for pre-fabricated, customised kitchens that are designed to offer convenience, ergonomics, efficient use of the space available, and also a dash of style. For upscale real estate developers, including a modular kitchen in their high rise residential projects is becoming a given and the concept is growing fast.

Hafele Ceaserstone Corian Surface
Hafele Ceaserstone corian surface

Where kitchen spaces are large enough (as in villas and independent houses) to accommodate a kitchen island and a dish wash area, the kitchen often doubles up as a living area for the family to spend quality time together. Here, high end brands are often called upon to create unique kitchens that make a style statement that reflect the home owner's status. Brands offering premium quality imported kitchens have a waiting time of 2-3 months that includes purchase, delivery and on-site installation. But owners are willing to wait for a kitchen that is durable, easy to clean and maintain and that meets their requirements for individualistic design; they also expect a follow up/after sales service.

With competition intensifying in the industry, the consumer has endless choices in terms of material, fittings, add-ons, colour and finish. This is driving companies to expand their product offering to cater to every segment of buyer. So it's not surprising that the price range of modular kitchens in the organized sector can range from upwards of one lakh and go up to Rs.50 lakh and in case of super premium brands, even more.