12 Jul 2013
As kitchen styles and décor continue to evolve to accommodate our changing lifestyles, so does the design of kitchen appliances.
This is according to Mercia de Jager from appliance manufacturer, Miele. Some kitchen appliance trends come and go, while others become instant classics. The stainless steel finish is a prime example – once only found in commercial kitchens, she says that today it is a design staple in modern kitchen design. "The trick is to sift through all the various trends and find the ones that will stand the test of time.”
She says that appliance design trends are centred on practicality, attractive aesthetics and the changing trends in cooking and home entertaining. However, de Jager says it is important to choose appliances that suit your lifestyle and needs. She says that an appliance needs to be attractive and functional – the role of any appliance remains that of simplifying your life, saving you time and offering you more effective ways of preparing your food.
She provides an overview on the top five factors that are shaping the kitchen appliances of the future.
1. Touch screens
One of the most innovative technological developments to grab the public’s attention has been the introduction of touch screen interfaces. The touch screen has had an enormous impact on the way we interact with machines and devices. In line with this trend, de Jager notes that Miele is introducing new user interfaces and displays across all its built-in appliances.
A double cappuccino at the touch of a single button, finding the desired automatic programme on a steam cooker in an instant, or selecting the operating mode and temperature in a few steps before baking – all this can be achieved in an elegant and simple manner.
2. Designer aesthetics
The merging of the kitchen with the living and dining rooms continues to be a major kitchen design trend that is having an enormous impact on appliance design. “In modern kitchens with an open transition to the living area, built-in appliances should ideally form part of the overall concept of the interior design," says de Jager. It is no longer acceptable for appliances to be purely functional – they need to look good too.
A modern kitchen and living environment can be characterised by a puristic and linear design, which induces a sense of transparency and is encountered in interior architecture as a combination with large glass surfaces. The most common living style today is what is often classified as “contemporary”. De Jager says the key features here are the use of a variety of materials and surface finishes, which leave a harmonious overall impression.
Alongside adherence to particular architectural styles, colour also has a profound impact on the overall impression of a kitchen.
3. Simpler, better, faster
Functionality has always, and will continue to shape appliance trends, she says. “Regarding appliances, design should never be an end in itself – it should always occur in symbiosis with maximum functionality."
De Jager says that ovens with pyrolytic cleaning for example, offer users an effortless way of removing grease splashes and residue in the cabinet by incinerating them to ash at very high temperatures. All that remains is for the ash to be wiped away, as with Miele’s Generation 6000.
4. Going green
Concern for the environment is a trend that is shaping the way appliances are made. She says energy efficient appliances are an imperative in today’s market as more consumers are becoming aware of how delicate our environment is, and who are also looking to save money on their ever-increasing water and electricity bills.
Technology such as induction cooking has made inroads as a result of the green trend, de Jager says. “Hardly any other appliance category has experienced such fast growth year on year as induction cooking, thanks to benefits of speed, controllability and economy." Unlike conventional cooking with gas or electricity, induction cooking - as the name implies – ‘induces’ heat directly in the base of the pan,saving time and energy.
5. Looking and feeling good
As modern lifestyles create new health challenges, maintaining or improving health and wellness has become a well-established priority in many people’s lives. As health infrastructures feel the strain of rising demand and falling support, the responsibility for people to find their own path to good health has become more important.
“The global recession seems to have shifted the focus of health and wellness toward managing the basics," she says. Being proactive in keeping yourself as healthy as possible has the benefit of ensuring that you look your best and negates the need for medical treatment and time-out from the workplace. "As a result, improving your basic nutrition has become a major objective for many.”
She notes that cooking methods such as steaming have grown in popularity. "Steam ovens represent a mega-trend in the kitchen, incorporating the principles of healthy, wholesome cooking like no other appliance."
The kitchen was once a room that guests tended to avoid, but it has now become one of the feature rooms in a home, thanks to innovative designs and designer trends.
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