Ready, steady, cook: the multigenerational 4GenKitchen

We are living longer. House prices are high and land is scarce, putting new pressures on how we live. One solution is the multigenerational home. NICA have collaborated with leading kitchen designer Johnny Grey and Professor of Practice Peter Gore to reinvent an integral part of the home – the kitchen. A multigenerational kitchen and the first of its kind is now showcased in the Catalyst.


The demand for multigenerational living is growing (currently 60 million people in the USA, 1.8 million in the UK). With demand comes the challenge of creating functional and comfortable living spaces for the whole family.

Our Vision

Although challenging, bringing together different generations under one roof creates fantastic opportunities for innovation and new design.

If we think about the opportunities within the kitchen space alone, multigenerational living becomes very exciting. Unfortunately, when needs become more complex, whether through age or disabilities, the kitchen can quickly become a hostile, unsafe space.

This does not need to be the case – we must think differently. We must adhere to inclusive design methods and ask users themselves about their behaviours in the kitchen in order to understand how need and aspirations could shape kitchens of the future.

The Prototype

In 2017 NICA began to facilitate the work of experts Gore and Grey. We hosted insights gathering sessions with VOICE who had experience of living in multigenerational homes. Together we explored a working kitchen, highlighting key tensions, unmet needs, as well as aspirations for their own living spaces.

These unmet needs and aspirations were explored and, with the help of funding from the Northern Accelerator, incorporated into the first truly innovative, ‘intelligent’ multigenerational kitchen.

We coupled cutting-edge design with the latest in smart home technology in a way that ensures this kitchen is safe for the whole family. Whether you need adaptable bench heights, for food prep in a wheelchair, accessible storage or a flood-proof space, this kitchen will keep you and yours safe.

Early feedback from potential users has been hugely encouraging:

“No one would feel excluded – my three-year-old nephew, through to my eighty-four-year-old mum.”

Under COVID restrictions, we welcome your online feedback and look forward to welcoming you to the kitchen when safe to do so. Why not watch our video and let us know what you think?