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Futuristic Recipes

Architect Joel Sanders dreams up the ideal island kitchen for the island of Manhattan.

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Many New Yorkers harbor two highly contradictory kitchen desires. They yearn for a large communal kitchen where gourmet meals can be prepared for family and friends, but acknowledge that most days they dine on takeout in front of the TV or a computer screen.

That’s where the Command Island comes in. It takes the kitchen out of the city’s cramped “kitchen closets” and puts it right in the center of the apartment. A hybrid of furniture and cabinetry, merging the upholstered comforts of the living room with the durable waterproof surfaces and appliances of the kitchen, it also offers owners two options: Everyday and Party Mode. In Everyday usage, the Command Island is a compact system perfect for eating pad Thai in the company of Desperate Spacewives. But when real company comes, the retractable Corian counter becomes—presto!—a dining table, while the sectional lounge bed converts to comfortable couches for entertaining. Activated by remote control, translucent pop-up display cabinets containing china and silver—even a lobster tank, if you’re so inclined—emerge from the counter. They also double as privacy screens to subdivide the kitchen from the living space.

If the island kitchen is usually a suburban affair, out of reach or interest for many space-deprived New Yorkers, the Command Island could be just the thing for a prototypically Manhattan lifestyle.


1) The retractable Corian counter: It slides out for dinner-party action.

2) The lounge bed.

3) A movable desk-coffee table: With big-screen TV. (If the party’s too boring, you can always watch it.)

4) Pop-up display cases: For showing off china—or fresh lobsters.

5) An even-bigger-screen TV.

6) The recycling center: A scanner allows for quick sorting into the bins below.

7) Interactive cooking: Touch-screen devices provide easy access to recipes and online delivery services (takeout and Fresh Direct!). A TV also lets you follow along with cooking shows.

8) The smart surface: Made of heat-and-scratch-resistant glass, it includes a stovetop. Oven and fridge are below.


Joel Sanders is a New York–based architect who teaches at Yale and has been featured in such exhibits as MoMA’s “Unprivate House.” A monograph of his work, Joel Sanders: Writings and Projects, is now out from Monacelli Press.


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