Combining contrasts – Lyndon Craig’s perspective on the future of home appliances at EuroCucina 2012
The latest kitchen devices showcased at the EuroCucina 2012 indicate that seemingly contrasting design goals can be combined through innovation. Appliances of the future will enhance our experiences through digital technology while becoming more environmentally friendly. Their design will range from ultra-minimalist to extreme decoration. Electrolux’s Senior Design Manager Lyndon Craig shares his observations and insights.
The latest mobile phones and tablets are giving consumers increased expectations from their technology, and this is making the jump into appliances. Many manufacturers displayed colour screens and advanced interfaces. Electrolux’s Inspiration Oven range showcased a colour touch screen, which uses rich, detailed photography and slick animations to give you easier access to greater features and functionality.
Similarly, many talked about connectivity between different appliances and the Internet. This allows products to be controlled remotely, or for recipes and other information to be collected by the product.
The benefits of connectivity were taken to the extreme by Electrolux’s fully hidden Integrated Oven. It is entirely built-in behind a kitchen cabinet panel, and controlled via a link to a tablet. An internal camera transmits an image of your cooking food to the tablet, so you can keep an eye on it, even from another room.
Other innovative ways of displaying information included several uses of projections. Dishwashers which project the time remaining in a cycle onto the floor were shown, as well as an oven concept from Electrolux which projects the oven settings onto the glass of the door, allowing a far larger screen than would ever be possible on the top panel.
Energy use was a major feature of the latest appliances, showing how significantly appliance energy usage has decreased over the past decade. Energy monitors which show how much energy you are using, and encourage you to reduce consumption were also seen, while dishwashers continue to reduce water consumption.
From Ultra-Minimalism to Extreme Decoration
While the bulk of products on display were still based on a professional stainless steel look, many others were taking aesthetics in new directions.
Ultra-Minimalist black glass cooktops have graphics and controls that disappear when the product is turned off, and come to life by lighting up when it is turned on. Matching black ovens, with displays that are hidden until lit, work with the same minimalist theme – some of the ovens don’t even have oven windows, and Electrolux took this to a new level by showing a fully Built-In Oven concept.
Low-profile gas burners are being flushed into cooktops, with extremely low, minimalist pan supports giving an open, streamlined appearance.
At the other extreme were some extremely brightly coloured appliances – both cooktops and ovens – as well as ranges with changeable, patterned “skins”.
For more images, check out the album on The Little White Book Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/KG7LE8.
Lyndon Craig is a Senior Design Manager for Electrolux leading the Industrial Design team in Sydney. He is the creative lead for the design of Kitchen Appliance ranges across all product areas in Australia and New Zealand, and manages the design of Electrolux Refrigeration products regionally across the Asia Pacific.