In the hustle and bustle of Design Week in Milan 2010 I was lucky enough to attend Eurocucina with the brilliant folks at Miele.
The Eurocucina exhibition gave an insight into Future Technologies for the Kitchen (FTK), and the latest cutting edge products and appliances that will be available for our homes in the very near future with Miele, unsurprisingly, at the heart of it. Plenty of product launches and demos across the whole exhibition, with new appliances we can expect to grace our homes in the very near future.
Interactive and sensor driven kitchen features:
Built in speakers everywhere:
Smart hobs that know and sense where you put cookware:
Whirlpool‘s Red Dot Winning Glamour Oven and hob range:
Walking around and taking in many of the stands in FTK I came to a couple of conclusions.
We are most defiinitely a touch screen generation. From iPhones to Nintendo DSi’s, it is no longer a bonus feature or simply “nice to have” on a product, it’s expected. And kitchens, it would seem, are no different. Touch screen interfaces adorn a whole host of gadgets and appliances, with Miele shining as a standout example of this. Intuitive, clean, clear and functional interfaces add fantastic usability to many of their products, not just touch screen for touch screen’s sake, which notably seemed to overcomplicate things and add unnecessary clutter to some of their competitors.
Secondly, people love colour change LEDs. Now these are not unique components, nor are they often that functional, or even that surprising that they are everywhere (really, is it?), but they make members of the public go “oooh” and “aaah” very easily. After which they’ll probably buy the product regardless of how well it functions. Function is incredibly important in product design, especially so within the home. Once more Miele gave reason as to why they are regarded with such high end products, visual and aesthetic touches enhanced their designs perfectly to suit.
This impressed partly because it has visual appeal, but mainly because it functions so well.
A concept central island unit, catering for all kitchen appliances. Visually strong, and to a high level of detail design, housing everything in a sleek and stylish manner (even if it has somewhat missed a point of it being a minimal and space efficient unit, only to require a larger than your average kitchen floor plan to cater for it!).
Not entirely kitchen related per se, but across the way in the FTK hall Electrolux wowed me with their demonstration of a new piece of kitchen design software. The software itself looked fairly straight forward and was aesthetically solid, though nothing mind-blowing, but it was the medium through which they showed it off. A large glass display, rear projected with a touch screen overlay. Minority Report eat your heart out.
(and yes for those of you looking closely, that is an iPad bottom left. My first look at one in the flesh here at the show)
Outside FTK the exhibition extended for further than I managed to walk but I still discovered some fantastic works. The Design area particularly interested me, some pieces were fantastic and others, well, were more bizarre than I managed to understand. Notable highlights below:
SaloneSatellite also caught my attention later on in the day. The stands here were generally smaller and simpler than the other big names in the
rest of the exhibition but it showcased a fantastic selection of emerging designers across the world. A really good spread of representatives from the UK, Sweden and Germany, to Serbia, Australia and plenty from Japan too. Visual highlights below.
Surprisingly comfortable seating:
Vision – a digital camera with a finger framing interface:
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Instead, plenty more photos on my Flickr stream.