The partners in this project have been Tonester Ltd. (kitchen fountain made of Durat®), Francke Finland Ltd. (fireplace table), Jukka Merta from Selki-Asema (cooker hood), WB-Sails Ltd. (filter fabric for the cooker hood), Osram Finland (lights for the garden screen), cabinet maker Heikki Paso (garden screen), Järvikylän yrtit (plants for the garden screen), and UPM Kymmene (wood for the garden screen). Additional financial support has been provided by The Asko Foundation.

Esa Vesmanen has studied the basic interactions between man and nature. This has led him to name his kitchen KOE. The Finnish word means a test, an experiment, Experience!, or Feel!. Vesmanen thinks that nowadays we have a need for concrete things to balance the abstraction of the affluent Western society. The KOE kitchen offers us an ambience and an opportunity for chance encounters, which bring us back to reality and its beauty. It brings the basic elements of nature back to the home.

Esa Vesmanen wanted to explore our relationship with water, the most important and fascinating of nature’s elements because it sustains life. It is a substance that responds to changes in the temperature, and its sound has a calming effect on us. When we see how much water we actually use, we may start to respect this element and to avoid wasting it. Therefore, he wanted to bring a modern fountain into his kitchen. This sculptural sink is made of flagstone-like, recycled plastic material and consists of two black cubesplaced on top of each othercreating a fountain in which the water stays in slow motion. There is no need for a faucet – instead we are offered a dipper.

The second element is the burning fire. Vesmanen created a low stainless steel table with a built-in tray, filled the tray half-full with sand, and placed a fireplace in the middle. The fireplace translates into a cooking place. The table can be moved around with ease. We can sit around the low table, prepare the food and eat, all in one place. The third element is air. Here the wind becomes both visible and audible as a fan whirls around the smells from the fireplace. The structure consists of a pole with an axial fan attached to it and a thin washable piece of cloth on the top acting as a filter. The fourth element is earth. Vesmanen has planted his vertical garden on a movable U-shaped wall that also serves as a room divider or a screen. The plants grow in earth-filled pots attached to the screen. Bringing the garden inside the apartment gives us a chance to grow our own vegetables.

Esa Vesmanen is an interior architect and a partner in the design company Pure Design Ltd., as well as a research in the Future Home Institute of the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

He wishes to emphasize the character of today’s kitchen as a social space where we can share our time with our friends while we prepare the meal.He has mapped the history of the modern kitchen and the reasons that have brought us to where we are now. To solve the existing problems Vesmanen first created his kitchen prototype in 2000. In the second phase, the prototype will be remoulded and turned into a real-time, working kitchen.

Summary in Finnish