Design luminaries bring their knowledge and know-how to the Italian sanitary fittings brand....
10 May 2012
The Future Kitchen
What will the kitchen of the future look like? Malcolm Owens, CEO of Sampford IXL, Australia, shares some insights with Alice Blackwood as he reflects on EuroCucina at the 2012 Milan Furniture Fair.
What were the stand-outs for you at EuroCucina at this year's Milan Fair?
The stand out was the BSH brands which took centre stage with one very large stand divided into 4 separate brand entities – Gaggenau, Neff, Bosch and Siemens.
Each with its own theme, Gaggenau was the stand out with the theme of 'raw materials' and how they are honed into masterpieces.
The Gaggenau Vario cooking range was a standout and the stand was constantly busy and there was a level of excitement and wow factor not equalled with other brands.
Most brands offered something new and interesting, which generates excitement around the category.
The full product concept has been addressed by the key brands and reflected in their new product offerings: conservation, preparation, cooking and cleaning.
What sort of direction is the kitchen of the future taking, judging from what you saw at Eurocucina?
The kitchen of the future combines simplicity of design, minimalist in style with efficient and highly functional appliances that combine form and function.
Materials continue to focus on the natural use of stone bench tops, clean working surfaces and stainless steel.
Lighting, both in appliances and the kitchen is softer with a trend to a clean, white light.
Appliance displays have moved to a clean white from the oranges, reds and greens of previous years.
Induction cooking was a trend that stood out from most brands, along with some very nice extraction (range hood) solutions where style, noise reduction and ease of cleaning were a key focus.
Designs of range hoods certainly have progressed from the purely functional to an aesthetically pleasing component of the kitchen décor.
What were the trends in terms of materials, colour palettes and gadgets?
Interestingly, there was a polarisation of approaches across the brands.
Some, as I have mentioned above, focus on simplicity, clean lines, muted colours with focus on stainless steel, steel greys and muted hues; in many ways a calm palette drawn from beach and forest where the emphasis on natural materials and finishes was a dominant theme.
At the other extreme we saw some manufacturers again playing with colours; particularly in ovens and range hoods with bright reds, blues and greens.
Design was a key trend that has progressed well over recent years. Brand design and image as well as functional performance and features are key to a successful brand today.
It's important that the brands stick to their brand principles and are authentic and sustainable.
I saw a strong focus on quality that offers the user something of real value rather than focusing on cheaper products that result in brand and market erosion that sends entire categories into profitless oblivion as we have seen in the AV market recently.
It was evident that there had been significant investment in research and development, design and production techniques which is an excellent sign for our industry.
This show was less about gadgets and more about product efficiency and the environmental impact of appliances. Most brands had a 'green' message covering energy usage, efficiency, use of natural materials, carbon footprints and recyclability.
This was the stand out message from this year's show.