Biohealthy and durable, a new proposal for kitchen furniture

If the kitchen is the place where food is prepared, and where it is frequently consumed; If it can be the most expensive room to equip and the one that, in the event of a move or a renovation, is thrown away, because the furniture from one does not adapt to another house or to a new layout, why not give it a try and make something different? Healthier, more adaptable, durable and transportable.

These were the premises that led architect and designer Paula Rosales, first, to experiment with her own kitchen, and then, to create a furniture system with those criteria. She has called it Kitchen for Life, Cocinas para la vida, and as the name itself indicates, it is a commitment to durability and healthy materials.

Less toxic, longer lasting

Reducing the presence of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in the kitchen was a fundamental objective in the process of selecting the materials that would make up this design. Due to a previous professional experience, he had to investigate the toxic chemicals that are in the air “although at that time, 2014, the issue of air quality in buildings was not yet on the agenda, but later, With COVID we began to be more aware of the importance of the toxicity that can exist in our own domestic environment. Therefore, when renovating my own house and as I had become aware, I decided to delve deeper into that aspect and look for and select materials with a lower presence of VOCs.

Volatile organic compounds are chemical substances that, through evaporation, are released from compounds present in solvents, paints, plastics, cleaning products, agglomerated wood, lacquers, silicones, printer inks and a very long etcetera. As the air is breathed, in the home environment they can cause eye or nose irritation, headache or nausea. Only in cases of very high exposure can they have more serious effects; but, for people with special chemical or multiple sensitivity, reducing its presence in their daily environment is highly recommended.

Rosales is aware that totally “what is said, totally free of VOCs, could not be, but much less, yes. And that, since it was my house, I could experiment and decide what to put in and what not to put in.”

Among the materials that Rosales ruled out from the first moment, this line of kitchen furniture included chipboard and veneered laminates, “which have glues that release elements into the atmosphere.” In the paints chapter the option has been “water-based and powder lacquers, which we have considered the best option. “Just with those two elements, toxicity is greatly reduced.”

To which he said yes, instead, he went to the porcelain stoneware countertop “because it has a treatment called actives and that with light generates a photocatalytic reaction that kills viruses, fungi and bacteria on the surface. It is an exception, certainly, because ceramics require more energy to manufacture. But, I thought it was interesting for the place where the food is prepared.


As an architect, she knows that during renovations and moves “kitchen furniture is practically always thrown away. Tons of them, whether cheap or expensive. When faced with a bed or a sofa, we try to adapt them to the new space, reupholster them or whatever. But, not with kitchens. “They go to the trash.”

Another thing that “made me very angry is that, when the chipboard of a piece of furniture under a sink swells, or a hinge unscrews, there is nothing to do. “It cannot be repaired, nor can it be adjusted again.” For this reason and to experiment, “I decided to do different things: a steel structure, completely hollow and only with drawers and fronts; that is assembled mechanically and that allows you to evolve, add elements without changing anything, because they are assembled and disassembled like a Meccano,” describes Rosales.

It is precisely this pre-machined hollow steel structure that allows “it to be reusable, reversible and that we can distribute the elements in different positions. “So much so that you can take it from one house to another just like the rest of the furniture.”

Kitchen for Life was presented to the public at Casa Decor 2021, “with a great reception among designers and decorators. “We have already installed 12 and we are going to send the first to the foreign market, which will travel to Germany.” For all this “we had to do a lot of learning, starting with how to industrialize it because it is a completely different system.”

She is convinced that it is a project with a long possible path, but also with areas for improvement, which is why she reflects: “we have made the decisions combining criteria of ergonomics, functionality, economy, design and health. Any initiative has weak points, that is why we now begin a phase of analyzing and verifying the origin of the components and trying to certify them all,” says Paula Rosales.