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Designing an experience – the oven side of Alex Gray

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The oven is the heart of the kitchen for Alex, integral in creating the overall experience of cooking at home.Alex was one of the creative minds behind classic Electrolux appliances such as the Westinghouse and Eline oven ranges.Alex was one of the creative minds behind classic Electrolux appliances such as the Westinghouse and Eline oven ranges.

Just call him the Oz of kitchens. For Electrolux Senior Industrial Designer Alex Gray, installing an oven into the kitchen isn’t just a matter of what bakes best, it’s about putting a heart into the stainless steel of your cooking area.

Having worked on major appliances for Electrolux since 2002, this Australian designer counts among his designs, products and oven furniture such as grills and baking trays for the successful E:line and Westinghouse kitchen collections. Here, he shares his thoughts on oven design and where it’s headed.

Westinghouse kitchen

Westinghouse oven

1. Tell us a bit about how you became a designer. Why ovens?

I grew up in Orange, New South Wales and have always been interested in manufacturing and how things are made. I’ve always had a desire to build things better and cooler so pursuing a career in industrial design was a natural move for me.

Although ovens might not seem like sexy products which people desire, I love that our appliances are products that are involved in creating experiences.  From  having a meal  with your family, to  parties with your friends or just because you love to cook.

The products we create are part of that experience and if done well, can enhance that experience by reducing some of the stress of an event no matter how casual. It feels like an overused statement, but the kitchen really is the heart of the home. Plus, I love to cook too.

2. What do you consider when designing an oven for the Asian markets?

We consider how a consumer uses an oven and what they want to cook. That may sound pretty straight forward but different cultures have different needs. We look to address these needs with tailored oven furniture. While one region might require a deep roasting dish for large cuts of meat, another region might require baking trays which perform well when there are four of them in the oven.

3. What are the current trends in oven design, and do you see them changing anytime soon?

Style wise, an oven should have clean and simple lines which compliment your kitchen. High contrast like the Ebony range is another trend that has grown in popularity and will continue.

We are seeing a growing trend with more advanced technology with regard to interfaces to give a richer end-user experience with the next step from this being connectivity to the internet or a wireless device.

4. If you were to purchase an oven for your own home, what would you look out for in terms of design, features and how it integrates into your lifestyle?

I would like a very minimal looking oven with steam and pyrolytic cleaning.

5. Do you use ovens yourself regularly? What are your favourite dishes to cook in them?

I have a couple of ovens and use them almost everyday.  Pizza is a family favourite in my house.

6. Recommend one Electrolux oven for our readers.

eline range oven

The Ebony Duo oven with IOI

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