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Monday, March 3, 2008

Kitchen trends to watch in Asia

Erikson and the new Illuminated Induction Cooktop

Imagine your whole family spending more time in the kitchen, the children doing their homework or web surfing on the island while mom whips up a hearty meal. Your kitchen – minimalist in design, colourful with a mix of materials (stainless steel, wood, etc), coupled with just the right amount of lighting to create the perfect ambience – is the focal point where your guests are entertained.

According to Electrolux Asia Pacific director of design Lars Erikson, this is where trends are heading. “Cooking is no longer a solitary chore, but a time for sharing and interaction,” he said.
Erikson was giving a preview of Electrolux’s Illuminated Induction Cooktop (EIIC) in Petaling Jaya recently.

A survey conducted two years ago on kitchen activities globally and in Malaysia showed that out of the 2,000 people interviewed, 50% spent their time socialising with their family in the kitchen. Sweden recorded the highest percentage where 80% of the people interviewed spent time with their family in the kitchen. The survey also found that people regarded their homes as
a sanctuary and not just a place to eat and sleep. “They want to show their homes off as a reflection of their personality. Appliances are almost like pieces of jewellery for the home,” Erikson said.

Integrated kitchen design
Erikson said Asian kitchens are evolving to become places for interaction where kitchens are the heart of domestic life. The kitchen and the living area are now integrated with open-plan designs. This is evident especially in upper income groups where the perception of cooking has changed – increasingly it is seen as a creative and social act instead of work.

Professional style
There is a demand for a different style of kitchen, one that is open and accessible to the rest of the house while reflecting the appearance of professional kitchens. “The enhanced status of cooking is making the kitchen a prestige object for showing off one’s wealth or cooking professionalism”, Erikson said.
Going green
More kitchen designers are also creating eco-friendly kitchens built with environmentally safe materials, as new environmental design standards require appliances to be more energy and water efficient. Erikson said architects and consumers now have more options for products that minimise harm to the environment in its manufacturing process and offer the ability to reduce waste over a long term.
The new live-in room
He foresees an increasingly blurred line between kitchen and living rooms, and a greater connection between inside and outdoor areas. “However, in the future, I can imagine outdoor kitchens with outdoor sofas and entertainment units. That will demand a much more flexible kitchen, with appliances that are more mobile. For example, you could move your oven outdoors, or install more products such as outdoor fridges. I think there are enormous possibilities by expanding into the outdoors,” Erikson said.

Illuminating changes
Instead of the typical fluorescent lighting in most kitchens, modern kitchen lighting would “play with your emotions” – strategically placed lights would create a warm ambiance and a calming effect. Erikson said the new thinking in lighting is brought through the evolution of the kitchen. White illumination has been widely used as it fits well with most kitchen colour themes and is good for food preparation.

“Illumination in kitchens must undergo a transition from pure work light to stimulating moods especially during meals, when it is more appropriate to have a cozy and warm atmosphere,” he added.

Minimalist style
Today, the typical modern kitchen usually includes a full-height wall for storage and cooking, with an island bench that acts as a link and physical separation between the kitchen and the living space. And when it comes to appliances, they are normally picked from one range to achieve the consistent look.

Taking on a minimalist style, Electrolux recently introduced the Electrolux Illuminated Induction Cooktop where the cooking area is made from white ceramic glass and features touch controls, which become illuminated with white light strips around the cooking area. According to Erikson, the company wanted to get away from the black square in the benchtop, which has remained unchanged for the last 20 to 30 years, and create a different experience beyond functionality.

Priced at US$9,999 (approximately RM32,647), Erikson said the EIIC is the most expensive in the world and encapsulates Electrolux design values, combining great technology with great design. He added that the technology cost for induction is going down and foresees a surge in demand for induction cooktops.

The EIIC was first introduced at the end of last year in Japan and is now available in Malaysia.

Induction makes for much cooler kitchens, as no heat is lost to the air directly from the hob. The cookers are also faster, safer and more energy-efficient than traditional hobs. However, only certain pots and pans can be used on induction hobs.

By theSun (by Rosalynn Poh)

1 comment:

Justin said...

My range cooker from rangemaster worth every penny. I wanted so much a black gas range cooker and now I have it. I can finally say that I am a happy cooker.