i+D - November/December 2019 - 32

The Connected Kitchen - By Jessica Goldbogen Harlan

We rely on our smartphones, smart speakers, and other connected devices
to wake us up in the morning, tell us the latest news, monitor our health,
entertain us, document our lives, and more. So, it should come as no
surprise that we have high expectations about the rest of our surroundings
at home.
Manufacturers have been working for decades to make kitchens more
functional through the use of technology, from touchscreen panels on
a refrigerator door, to Wi-Fi-enabled appliances that can be monitored
and controlled with an app.
But, are today's consumers ready for tomorrow's innovations? Yes...but with
an annotation. Designers say that with respect to technology, homeowners
are concerned about how easy it is to use, whether it might break or become
obsolete, and, perhaps most important, whether it'll be an eyesore in their
otherwise sleek kitchen. "With kitchens, it is still more about the aesthetics
than it is about the technology," says Alison Knapp, a Hamilton, Ontario,
Canada-based interior designer. "[Homeowners are] more concerned
with the look and the cleanability of it, and whether it'll seem dated within
five years."
Designers also note that while consumers like having the digital age bells
and whistles, they don't want to actually have to look at them. "Electrical
outlets used to really disrupt a backsplash, but now we're having them built
into the underside of the upper cabinetry," explains Knapp. "We're doing
communications centers where USB outlets are being built into cabinetry,
or technology drawers where people can plug in their devices and have
them be easy to locate in the morning."

Thermador's newly
redesigned Masterpiece
Collection pairs
modern kitchen designs
with industry-leading
technology across
cooling, cooking,
and dish care.

That's not to say that innovation and technology don't play
their part in the kitchen, however. Being able to control lighting
in the kitchen and throughout the house with a smartphone
is becoming increasingly commonplace. And, Knapp says her
customers also are drawn to smaller appliances that can be
controlled from a phone, such as a coffee maker or a tea kettle.
Jennifer Fordham Blanco, a Dallas-based interior designer for
Poggenpohl US, also reports that her clients are very excited
about some of the technology and connectivity in small,
countertop appliances. Not surprisingly, that presents a whole
new challenge in kitchen design: concealing them when they're
not in use. "Most of my clients don't want to see them, but
they don't want them to be hard to get to," she says. "I do a lot
of appliance garages or areas where you can pull out big doors
to cover them. My favorite is putting them in a secondary area
like a butler's pantry."
But, there's one item, which in the not-so-distant past was
itself considered the height of high tech, that is starting
to fall by the wayside: the microwave.

"For almost every project I work on, [clients are] requesting
that a microwave not be in the kitchen," reveals Knapp.
Instead, steam ovens are usurping a microwave's place as
a way of quickly and healthily cooking and heating foods.

(Image: Thermador/BSH Home
Appliances Corporation)

32

And, as for appliances themselves, many customers still
prefer panel-ready dishwashers or refrigerators that can blend
seamlessly into the rest of the kitchen, rather than appliances
that look like the control panel of a futuristic machine.

i+D - November/December 2019



i+D - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - November/December 2019

Contents
i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover1
i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover2
i+D - November/December 2019 - 3
i+D - November/December 2019 - 4
i+D - November/December 2019 - 5
i+D - November/December 2019 - 6
i+D - November/December 2019 - 7
i+D - November/December 2019 - 8
i+D - November/December 2019 - 9
i+D - November/December 2019 - Contents
i+D - November/December 2019 - 11
i+D - November/December 2019 - 12
i+D - November/December 2019 - 13
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i+D - November/December 2019 - Cover3
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