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American Society of Interior Designers, San Diego Chapter | Summer 2007 Issue

Notes from KBIS 2007: New Trends in Kitchen Design
By Lisa Wilson-Wirth
Arclinea San Diego (Industry Partner ASID, Allied AIA)

More than simply furnishing solutions, the modern kitchen is uniquely customized to the culinary and lifestyle requirements of the client. Like the most gracious of hosts, it must fulfil simultaneous roles, with elegance and unflappable grace. It is at once a carefully planned work space, technically sophisticate with chef’s details and functionality — and an intimate gathering place, family room, dining room, and centre for socializing or entertainment.

To successfully balance these multiple and varied roles, the question designers must ask (and answer) in each of their designs is this: How do I effectively balance creativity with technology? At the NKBA’s annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and Conference (KBIS) in Las Vegas this past May, nearly 1,000 manufacturers came to the table with new ideas and products to help us answer that question. In this column, I take a closer look at the most promising kitchen design trends and technologies leading the way.

Emerging: Technology Driven Personalization

Imagine a kitchen that varies according to need, uniquely customisable by user and use. Such personalization offers great advantage in a range of situations, improving usability and accessibility, and enhancing the overall ergonomics of a project. Several highlights:


DA 424V island hood

The DA 424V island hood from Miele features a unique motorized system for adjusting the hood height, up or down, up to 12 inches. It’s an ideal solution for a household with cooks of different heights — and provides aesthetic advantages in situations where “stowing” the hood (up and out of the way) is desired.



  "Up-Down" Table  

The “Up-Down” Table from Arclinea employs hydraulics to change the functional makeup of the island.  With a simple touch of a button, users can lower or raise the planked wooden dining table, easily transitioning from dining height to an ergonomic work surface, and vice versa.


Holding Strong: Genuine Domestic Environments

Kitchens are increasingly integral to the architecture of the overall project, serving as the philosophical and practical heart of the home, the focal point of appeal and liveability. The seamless integration of appliances into these elegant designs is key to its success. New products to watch:


Refrigeration within custom cabinetryBoth Miele and Gaggenau are joining Sub-Zero in offering refrigeration that can be fully integrated within custom cabinetry. Available in modular all-refrigerator or all-freezer options, and over-under models, the new models offer expanded options where a flush, built-in presentation is desired.

    Improved downdraft ventilation with high power, low noise, and a hidden profile when not in use, allows the kitchen the elegance of a real living room, a room to look at, use and inhabit.


On the Rise: Point-of-Use Functionality

Moving beyond the static “work triangle,” layouts incorporating separate but connected work zones are in demand. Designed to be multi-cook and multi-function, work zones include cooking, prep, baking, staging, wet work, and storage, to name a few. Designs are based on the careful study of the movements involved in food preparation and cooking, featuring ergonomic, point-of-use placement of high-use appliances. Fresh ideas:


Integrate key functions at waist-heightGaggenau’s new wall-mounted BL 253 Lift Oven brings the cooking directly to you. The ceramic base lowers to counter-height, allowing dishes to be loaded onto the base or slid into the unit’s four racks, before being raised into the cooking cavity. When dinner is ready, lower the lift for food staging and warming, unloading and serving.

    Drawer-based integrated appliances —from warming drawers, refrigerator drawers, to microwave drawers — make it possible to integrate key functions at waist-height. Dacor joins Sharp in its introduction of a microwave drawer option; the unit can be installed in an island, under counter, or in a tall wall below a single wall oven.


On the Rise: Green by Design

Incorporating eco-intelligent materials and appliances is paramount to forward-thinking design. One standout technology hitting its stride: The next generation of induction technology. Environmentally friendly and impressive in functionality, the newest generation of induction is superior in functionality and substantially more affordable than older models. Look for:

  Induction cooktops

Wolf, Gaggenau, Miele and Thermador to roll out new 5- and 6-burner induction cooktops later this year. These new induction hobs consume a portion of the electricity of a standard electric cooktop; are significantly more efficient in heat transfer; provide rapid heating; and offer greater heat consistency and a similar degree of control as their gas counterparts.


In embracing these new products and technologies in our projects, we are able to strike the perfect balance in our designs: a modern, liveable kitchen in which technology is at the service of the everyday and not overwhelming it. Now we’re cooking!

For more information on the trends or products reviewed, contact the author at or

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