Next time you step into your kitchen, look sharp: It may soon be unrecognizable. There is no place in the house that both technology and science are intersecting in such a revolutionary way—and that means robotic personal assistants, specialty tea brewed with precision temperature control, 3-D-printed healthy snacks, chillers that flash-freeze, drawers that seal sous-vide bags, sparkling water that flows directly out of the tap and high-tech counter tops with the glamour of marble without the penetrating stains.
We saw this and more at IMM Cologne’s 2017 edition of LivingKitchen. From January 16-19, the interior furniture fair presented three exhibition halls showcasing the latest kitchen products from more than 200 international exhibitors.
1. Robotic Personal Kitchen Assistant
How long before that layer cake is done? What’s in the fridge? Mykie (short for my kitchen elf), a well-mannered robot prototype from Bosch, is here to help. Communicating through facial expressions and movement as well as speech, Mykie can understand voice commands and project recipes on a wall. While designed for the kitchen, Mykie can chip in on a variety of daily tasks and would work with the rest of Bosch’s home-connected appliances. A release date has not yet been announced.
Watch this video on the robotic kitchen.
2. The Perfect Cup of Tea
Tea connoisseurs know tea is more than just a bag tossed in boiling water: A change of just three degrees in temperature and/or five seconds in brewing time can make all the difference. With help from Xbox designers, Teforia aims to put generations of tea knowledge into one machine that can customize not just preparation but caffeine levels, antioxidant levels and flavor and aroma notes from an easy-to-use smart-connected machine. Learn more here.
3. Edible 3-D-Printed Growth
Much discussion swirls over how to use 3-D technology for food—with some frighteningly unappetizing results. Chloé Rutzerveld has a better answer. With her prototype project Edible Growth, the designer uses seeds, spores and yeast to create a food ecosystem, which can be 3-D-printed when consumers decide it’s time to harvest.
Before your dinner guests realize it’s missing, Irinox’s Freddy, billed as the first blast chiller designed for domestic use, can quickly chill a bottle of wine at 1 degree Celsius per minute. Also ideal for preparing ready meals or storing, Freddy can freeze a raspberry solid in just two hours—verses the 15-20 hours shedding quality and freshness in a typical freezer. Controlled thawing, warming and low-temperature cooking are also built in.
5. Integrated Sous-Vide
Sous-vide, the method of cooking food in vacuum-sealed plastic pouches in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam celebrated by top chefs, has become more accessible to the average homeowner in recent years. Case in point: Neff’s FullSteam compact oven and Küppersbusch’s CBD 6850.0 compact oven, both have sous-vide cooking functions for gentle cooking in a vacuum bag and optional vacuum drawers for vacuuming the bags, marinating and storing.
6. Smart-Connected Cooktops
Cooking a steak just got easier with the cookConnect system from Siemens. Select a recipe via smartphone or tablet, and the system can automatically adjust the temperature of the cooktop and pan used with iQ700 induction cooktops—meaning al dente pasta and fewer accidental char incidents.
7. Integrated Sparkling Water
With Blue Home from Grohe, sparkling water flows directly out of the tap—eliminating both extra appliances and heavy lifting of bottles. Incorporating both a filter and a carbonator, the system is available as Duo, with two separate waterways for unfiltered and filtered water, or as Mono, which delivers three types of filtered and chilled table water—still, medium, sparkling—from one tap fitted with a handle.
“A couple of years ago, GROHE launched “GROHE Blue”, which deliveres cool and filtered water in still, medium and sparkling. In fall of last year, this water system was “updated” and improved for private households. This new version for private households is called GROHE Blue Home.”
“The concept is the same: it delivers cool, filtered water in still, medium and sparkling. However, the cooler is slimmer, the installation is easier, the CO2 bottle and filter are included in the cooler box and don‘t require external piping and the faucet is slimmer and in a more modern look with an easy handling concept. While the bigger version “GROHE Blue” is still available (especially for offices etc.), the slimmer version is now even more perfect for private households.”
8. Water-Connected Espresso Machine
Espresso machines tend to be fussy: With its fully automatic espresso machine 400 series and 200 series, Gaggenau removes a step, adding and draining the water for you. Both systems are available with a fixed inlet and outlet water connection. The systems can also create a highly personalized coffee for up to eight people—thanks to interchangeable bean containers switching up the beans and programming determining strength levels, water temperature, coffee-to-milk ratio, and cup size.
9. The Transformation of the Oven Hood
Let’s face it: hood air filtration systems—those bulky boxes over your stove—tend to be ugly and take up an enormous amount of space. How about one that looks more like a flat screen TV? Kopffreihaube Vision from Novy‘s slim silhouette is just 90 by 120 centimeters and touts the latest energy efficient technology. Forgoing the conventional vertical exhaust channel, it is installed directly behind the hood.
Or you could eliminate the hood entirely. Enter the Flex induction cooktop with integrated ventilation system from Gaggenau. The energy-efficient system tests the vapor in the air and removes up to 85 percent of odor with charcoal filters. Similarly, the FlexInduction stove with integrated ventilation from Neff delivers the unrestricted view and unobstructed headroom over the cooktop. Both extractors are integrated directly into an 80 centimeter cooktop, maximizing space. The systems kick in as soon as steam begins to rise, thanks to automatic sensors, and then draws it down and whisks it away.
10. Precision Color by Le Corbusier
If there was anybody in the 20th century who knew color, it was Le Corbusier, the French/Swiss architect, photographer and painter who developed an elaborate subjective color system based on what colors go well together. With Les Couleurs, Leicht brings his hues to the kitchen for the first time, in careful combinations designed to align.
11. High-tech Surfaces
Manufacturers continue to achieve endless breakthroughs with kitchen surfaces, with recipes for manufactured stone focusing on beauty and durability. Cosentino introduces to its Silestone line of manufactured stone Eternal, in six marble-like shades. Each hue, embellished with vein-like patterns visible to the depths of the slab, even at intersections and edges, is manufactured with the manufacturer’s new N-boost technology, adding greater cleansing ease, color intensity, and surface brightness.
An updated version of its Metal-X², Zeyko’s Horizon Forum Metal-X² Aluminum kitchen celebrates imperfection with a soft honeycombed structured surface. The imperfect look is created from hand-applied liquid metal. Paired with silver fir veneer, it comes with an extra deep worktop—giving it workspace times two.
With the Aura iTOPKer Camel surface, Inalco expands its iTOPKer collection of porcelain stone slabs for countertops with a semi-polished lappato finishing. Delivering a warm color, its soft veins are inspired by the fine-grained compact sandstone formed by the sedimentation of siliceous rocks. Similar to the more than 40 other finishes currently available in the line, the slabs are 12 millimeters thick and come in a 1500 by 3200 millimeter large-format for virtually seamless cover.
Thin or thick? Whether focusing on aesthetics or space-saving, Goldilocks is satisfied with the flexibility of porcelain stone slabs, presented by Florim. Offered in three thicknesses (6, 12 and 20 millimeters) and cut to size, the slabs can be transformed into dining tables, flooring or kitchen worktops.
No longer limited to walls and floors, concrete finds a new outlet as a velvety concrete kitchen surface by Warendorf. Contrasted with natural stone and walnut, the manufacturer debuted the surface in its demonstration of the MK 3 kitchen, focusing on “pure materials.” In line with the idea of smooth surfaces, Valcucine exhibited dematerialized tops for their islands and wall arrangements.