17 May 2011

KBIS 2011 - Kitchen Concept 2015

One of my favorite moments at the 2011 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas last month was a futuristic presentation by German hardware manufacturer Hettich. The forward-thinking vision of this 123-year-old firm on how we'll be using our kitchens in the next five years was incredibly exciting, and I want to share it with you. This maker of glides, hinges and other cabinet fittings is integral to the creation of new kitchens, and sees them increasing their role in our homes as living and learning, not just cooking, centers.

This is the first time I've ever taken an entire post directly from a corporate press kit. Their material was that compelling. I loved its Sensible Style approach, blending integration, ease of use, aging-in-place, convenience and technology. I hope you agree that this was worth sharing, and I hope you don't mind this departure from my usual posts.

Here are the highlights, in Hettich's own words, (except for my parenthetical inserts, where I thought they'd be helpful), from the firm's online KBIS 2011 press kit:

"In terms of design, Kitchen Concept 2015 interprets the kitchen as the hub of the home. It is integrated in the home environment, rather than claiming to be the center of attention. It is the essentials that count, with the technology – appliances, sinks and taps (faucets) – disappearing behind fascias (cabinet fronts) when they’re not needed... On demand, they are electrically retracted and, in doing so, free up the work surface. An extremely shallow sink discreetly blends into the kitchen landscape and reduces the consumption of water. Retracting faucets underpin the trend of reducing kitchen design to what's needed without compromising on function.

"As a focus of home living, Kitchen Concept 2015 is also synonymous with a positive feeling for life. This is where convenience plays a central part. Drawers that can be opened from both sides (front and back) provide access to contents no matter which side of the work center the user is standing. Electrical appliances are also set to provide greater convenience: separately-controllable drawers in the dishwasher can be opened from both sides, thereby making cooking with friends even more of a pleasure.

"From the aspect of ergonomics, Kitchen Concept 2015 shows height adjustable wall units. Control panels on the base unit provide the capability of raising and lowering cabinet elements independently of each other, ergonomically moving cabinet contents to a level that best suits the user. As such, the kitchen is increasingly fitting in with those using it. Older people, in particular, are becoming the yardstick for product design.

"In the future, multimedia networking will do much to boost convenience because in the Kitchen Concept 2015, different electrical appliances communicate with each other. The touch screen in the hob or large screen in the kitchen front can be used, for example, to display oven temperature and remaining cooking time. On top of this, Internet, television as well as other building services are operated and controlled from a central point."

Here are the accompanying images and captions from their press site:

Internet, television and other building services can be controlled at a central point from the hob.

A large screen in the kitchen frontage allows you to check cooking time and temperature and also look inside the oven. The screen provides the same multimedia capability as the hob.

Zone size and temperature can be adjusted by touch screen. The hob's multimedia capability not only provides Internet access but a recipe database, too.

Hardware ideas for flush-fitting fronts create new architectural options: On demand, they automatically retract and free up the work surface.

Height-adjustable wall units address the aspect of ergonomics. Cabinet elements can be lowered independently of each other.

Drawers, saucepan pull-outs and dishwashers that open from both sides of the work center afford particular convenience at the kitchen island.

All photos: Hettich

You might also enjoy my posts on top trends and top products from the 2011 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.

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