The kitchen space is as dynamic as human behaviour itself, and design and technology respond to the evolving lifestyles of consumers. Appliance maker Franke Faber has been clued into these signals, explains its senior director for marketing and R&D Hardesh Chojher.
A decade ago, appliance offerings for the kitchen consisted of an exhaust fan and a cooktop. With changing lifestyles, increasing western influence, the advent of modular kitchen design and high economic growth, there has been an influx of appliances into the kitchen. An increasing number of consumers are now replacing the exhaust fan with a hood, which not only provides superior functionality but is also aesthetically pleasing. The cooktop is getting replaced by the hob since hobs are sleeker than the bulky, basic-looking cooktop. As modular kitchens are gaining acceptance from the consumer, an altogether new category of appliances – like ovens, microwave ovens, dishwashers – have been added to the mix.
Modern appliances influence kitchen design in numerous ways, some that are apparent and some that are not. ‘Appliance in context’ is a significant global trend. One can’t take an oven with TFT display and capacitance touch and install it in a country setting of the kitchen. An increasing number of kitchen manufacturers are now working with appliance manufacturers, to evolve their products so that the appliance and the kitchen are entirely in sync in terms of aesthetics, fit, finish or functionality.
Climate change has prompted appliance manufacturers to work towards enhanced resource-efficiency. This particular aspect has prompted manufacturers to collaborate with kitchen manufacturers for developing optimal solutions. For example, kitchen appliances of the future will draw power from the solar grid installed within individual dwelling units. As a result, the entire kitchen layouts shall have to be customised to support this development.
At the core of modern kitchen design are three elements – the Worktop where the food is prepared; Sink where the water for cooking and waste disposal happens; and Refrigerator where the food preserved for cooking is stored. In an ideal kitchen, these three distinct elements have to be placed in an equilateral triangle, with the consumer in the centre. This spatial arrangement ensures that the consumer performs all tasks optimally. Hence cooktops, refrigerators and sinks are the three essential elements which have become must-have over the last four decades of kitchen evolution.
Nowadays, an increasing number of consumers want their kitchen to be the hub for all gadgets required for various kinds of cooking. They now demand ovens and microwave ovens in the kitchen. Design, along with neat spatial arrangement, has become an essential consideration for them. Hence the chimney has suddenly transitioned from being a good-to-have to an essential appliance within the kitchen space.
Franke Faber has been pioneering innovation in the kitchen space. We are the inventors of sinks and kitchen chimneys. Amongst our most recent innovations to market, the 3D chimney, which offers three-way suction through bottom and lateral filters, is an excellent example of consumer-relevant innovation.
The challenge that the consumer presented us was that the current chimney resolved only 80% of her problems. The smoke that escaped the bottom vents continued to create a smoky and unhealthy environment in the kitchen. To resolve this issue, we created a range of 3D chimneys which had lateral vents mounted on the sides. These vents not only captured the smoke that escaped the bottom vent but also in the process managed to reduce the noise generated by the hood since the surface area for grease capture increased and hence there was less turbulence.
The 3D hood is amongst our top selling products. Besides, we also sell a range of Silk chimneys, which have strong acceptance from the consumer. This product is amongst the most silent chimneys in the market, with a noise level almost 20% lower than of any other chimney of its class. This enables the consumer to cook in a completely noise-free environment.