The Future of Kitchen Design Is Hands-Free and Smartphone-Activated
Douglas Gilman put a new designer kitchen in his Manhattan apartment last year with entertaining in mind. He placed the sleek marble-accented Dada kitchen, from Italy’s Molteni&C, at the center of the airy 2,800-square-foot home that he created from combining two adjacent units in a former West Village printing house. He figured it would give him easier access to his guests.
But the arrival of Covid-19 restrictions has meant much more cooking, and next to no entertaining, and it’s his high-tech German appliances that have come to the rescue, including an induction cooktop that can sense where he places a pan, and a speed oven that combines convection and microwave technology.
“My ovens are almost more advanced than my computer,” says the 39-year-old financial-services professional of his $30,000 set of appliances from Gaggenau, Miele, and the U.S. brand Sub-Zero.
Eating may still be analog, but kitchens have taken up residence in the digital age, as designers and appliance makers increasingly rely on a host of technological innovations to update the traditional tasks of cooking, storing and cleaning up. Kitchen-appliance categories haven’t changed much since the 1970s, when microwave ovens began appearing on ordinary countertops. But cameras, sensors, artificial intelligence and newfangled materials are now turning those appliances into ultrasophisticated hardware, while smart functions and connectivity are recasting the Cloud as the latest kitchen accessory.
Buyers of Miele’s new G7000 series dishwashers never have to worry about running out of detergent. When the machine runs low, a sensor prompts their smartphones to reorder the brand’s trademark detergent disk from the company’s online shop.
Meanwhile, Bosch, Miele’s competitor in the luxury dishwasher market, has introduced Zeolite, an alkaline mineral compound, in its new dishwasher series. Among other tasks, the compound helps plastic items dry more efficiently.
Elsewhere in the kitchen, cameras in refrigerators can be called up on smartphones, allowing you to look into your fridge from the grocery aisle to see what you need to buy. For European homeowners, Bosch’s new Cloud-accessing system has a fridge camera to suggest recipes based on what you already have on-hand.
As the Covid-19 pandemic draws new focus to the kitchen, with families forsaking frequent dinners out for daily home-cooked meals, players in the industry are noticing an uptake in sales—accompanied by a greater interest in high-tech options. Even induction stovetops, which can be a hard sell for gas-loving Americans, have seen demand rise by 35%.
Appliance sales declined in the early months of the pandemic, but now “U.S. demand has really come back strong,” says Axel Kniehl, theexecutive director of sales and marketingfor Miele. “Consumers can’t spend money on other things, so they have started renovating theirkitchens.”
Covid-19 is changing homeowners’ basic expectations for the kitchen, according to a new survey compiled by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Companies are seeing soaring requests for items that help keep the cooking area more sanitized, such as touchless faucets and antimicrobial surfaces.
Kohler, the Wisconsin-based plumbing company that specializes in luxury finishes, says a majority of homeowners recently sampled are starting to regard the touchless faucets as must-haves. Kohler now combines voice automation with their touchless feature, allowing you to command your faucet to pour exact amounts of water. Homeowners can go so far as to customize voice orders by recipe. Daniel Markham, a Utah-based influencer who has Kohler faucets in his new home, shouts out “mac and cheese” for just the right amount of water for the recipe his family of five uses.
Benot Favier, managing director of La Cornue, the French oven and stove maker based outside Paris known for its customizable luxury gas range, says he expects a 15% to 20% rise in sales in 2020. Mr. Benoit says customers are increasingly interested in copper detailing, which is thought to have antimicrobial properties.
法国烤箱和灶具制造商La Cornue的董事总经理伯努瓦·法维尔(Benot Favier)说，他预计2020年销售额将增长15%至20%。La Cornue位于巴黎郊外，以可定制的豪华煤气灶而闻名。伯努瓦说，顾客对铜的细节越来越感兴趣，因为铜被认为具有抗菌性能。
Earlier this year, at the height of the pandemic, La Cornue introduced the Chteau Suprême, an Art Deco-inspired upgrade on its traditional design. The unit allows homeowners to mix and match induction and gas burners with a teppanyaki plate and a walnut cutting board. Prices run as high as $165,000.
今年早些时候，在疫情最严重的时候，La Cornue推出了苏必烈酒庄(Cháteau Suprême)，这是对其传统设计的艺术装饰灵感的升级。该装置允许房主将感应燃烧器和燃气炉与铁板和核桃切菜板混合搭配。价格高达16.5万美元。
Thermador, the California-based luxury appliance brand, offers an extra-low simmering feature that, the company says, lets you melt chocolate on a paper plate. Thermador users can hook up all its appliances categories to the same app, which will alert you that the fridge door is open, let your preheat your oven, or adjust the temperature of your wine cabinet to accommodate an unusual varietal.
On its high-tech to-do list: finding ways to digitalize its luxury gas stoves.
Designer-kitchen makers are also going high-tech. This year, Italy’s Boffi introduced a high-performance ceramic-like material called MDI, which can be used for a range of kitchen surfaces, including countertops and filler space around appliances. Nonporous, as well as crack- and stain-resistant, it is much easier to clean, and therefore more hygienic. A high-tech alternative to other materials, such as stone and stainless steel, it has a grain-like finish that is soft to the touch.
The rise in outdoor cooking as safer for entertaining than closed space has companies investing in research into materials for planned outdoor-kitchen lines, say a handful of executives.
In a new smart home in Phoenix, Dean Heckler, a 47-year-old industrial designer, and his wife, Angela Heckler, a 35-year-old fundraising director and singer-songwriter, put their new high-tech kitchen, finished in early 2020, at the center of a long, glass-enclosed, open-plan living space.
在凤凰城的一座新的智能住宅里，47岁的工业设计师迪恩·赫克勒(Dean Heckler)和他的妻子、35岁的筹款总监兼创作型歌手安吉拉·赫克勒(Angela Heckler)把他们的新高科技厨房放在了一个长长的玻璃封闭式开放式生活空间的中心。这间厨房于2020年初完工。
The island—covered in Dekton, a high-tech mineral composite with a large quartz content—is outfitted with an induction stove that senses pan size and a downdraft vent system. All blend in so seamlessly that the unit looks like a dining table.
“You don’t notice the kitchen unless you’re using it,” says Cavin Costello, the couple’s architect. “But it still has all the firepower.”
The Hecklers spent about $125,000 on the kitchen, including nearly $4,000 on a built-in Miele coffee maker, with sensors that detect the height of the cup being filled. They planned their project with automation in mind, and everything from their irrigation system to their house locks and lights can be controlled by Apple HomeKit and Siri.
A high-tech standout: their Steinway piano, which can record Mrs. Heckler’s performances to an app, where her compositions can then be edited. It can also play on its own on command. “You can treat the piano like a HomePod,” says Mr. Heckler.
For a Wisconsin couple, who wanted the kitchen in their Maui vacation home to be modern but not complicated, an innovative element is used to accent traditional touches. The couple, working with Chicago designer Mick De Giulio, spent about $380,000 on the kitchen, which includes a range of expensive wood detailing, mixing wenge and smoked-Eucalyptus veneers with solid Monkey Pod, a locally grown hardwood.
对于威斯康星州的一对夫妇来说，他们希望毛伊岛度假屋的厨房既现代又不复杂，创新的元素被用来强调传统风格。这对夫妇与芝加哥设计师米克·德·朱利奥(Mick De Giulio)合作，在厨房上花费了约38万美元，其中包括一系列昂贵的木材细节，混合了香肠和熏制的桉树单板，以及当地种植的实心猴子荚(Solid Monkey Pod)。
Mr. De Giulio designed the $12,000 LED light fixture to complement the various finishes. LED lighting was once too harsh, he says, but the latest generation “gives off a really nice light that is complementary to wood grains.”
The humble toaster got an upgrade last year from Revolution Cooking, a Massachusetts-based company whose touch-screen Revolution Toaster uses a quick-heating alloy to flash-toast and evenly brown while holding in moisture.
Europeans in select markets can now buy a new countertop Bosch cooking appliance called the Cookit that uses sensors to perfect a range of cooking functions, from evenly reheating leftovers to searing a steak.
Miele has recently introduced a whole new kind of oven, called the Dialog, which allows you to cook closely placed foods at different temperatures. The company likes to show off the technology by cooking a fish in a block of ice. It can mean cooking a roast for hours, while a nearby pan of vegetables is cooked al dente.
Up-to-date kitchen appliances are key in the latest home-sales market, says Michael Harper, an agent with Boston’s of MGS Group Real Estate. He says a suite of new Sub-Zero Wolf kitchen appliances is a star selling point for a single-family Back Bay townhouse that dates to the 1890s.
波士顿MGS Group Real Estate的经纪人迈克尔·哈珀(Michael Harper)说，最新的厨房电器是最新住宅销售市场的关键。他说，一套新的Sub-Zero Wolf厨房电器是一栋可以追溯到19世纪90年代的单户后海湾联排别墅的明星卖点。
The four-bedroom, seven-bathroom home, which just underwent a gut renovation, has an asking price of $9.995 million. “Luxury buyers want what they want, and they want it now,” he says, of the turn-key kitchen, which has an island covered in Italian Paonazzo marble, with a honed finish meant to resist stains.
While the pandemic is boosting current sales, kitchen companies are looking to the future. Bosch is researching induction surfaces that may one day do away with stove tops entirely, letting you turn select surfaces into potential burners. Miele is now marketing small vertical farm units, called Plantcubes for growing herbs and greens.
Robotic devices already have a place in American kitchens thanks to iRobot, the Massachusetts company that introduced the robotic vacuum cleaner back in 2002, and, a decade later, the robotic mop. (In Phoenix, the Hecklers, use the company’s latest vacuum model, the self-emptying Roomba s9 to help keep dog hair to a minimum.) Colin Angle, iRobot’s CEO, foresees kitchen robots will next be used to take care of other menial tasks, such as loading and unloading dishwashers.
机器人设备已经在美国厨房中占有一席之地，这要归功于马萨诸塞州的iRobot公司，该公司早在2002年就推出了机器人吸尘器，10年后又推出了机器人拖把。(在凤凰城，质问者使用了该公司最新的吸尘器型号--自动排空的Roomba S9，以帮助将狗毛降至最低。)。IRobot首席执行官科林·安格尔(Colin Angel)预计，厨房机器人下一步将被用来处理其他繁琐的任务，比如装卸洗碗机。
Howie Choset, a Professor of Robotics at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, has his doubts about humanoid robots as servants-of-the-future. But he does see a growing role for machine-learning technology to help out with cooking technique, citing a potential future smartphone app.
匹兹堡卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)的机器人学教授豪伊·乔赛特(Howie Choset)对人形机器人是否为未来的仆人表示怀疑。但他确实认为机器学习技术在帮助烹饪技术方面发挥着越来越大的作用，并指出未来可能会有一款智能手机应用程序。
Prof. Choset, part of a team doing kitchen-related robotics research in conjunction with the Culinary Institute of America, believes the app may only be a year or two away. He sees cooks perfecting their slicing, dicing, braising and basting, while the camera in their smartphone tracks their technique, and voice-equipped technology shouts out pointers—comparing them to the actions of an expert chef.
乔塞特教授是与美国烹饪学院(Cuinary Institute Of America)合作进行厨房相关机器人研究的团队的一员，他认为这款应用可能只需要一两年的时间。他看到厨师们正在完善他们的切片、切丁、炖肉和烤肉，而他们智能手机上的摄像头可以追踪他们的技术，配备语音的技术会发出指示-将他们比作专家厨师的行为。
Back in his own kitchen, Prof. Choset says he is still working on the basics. “I just learned to cook oatmeal,” he says.