We live in a world where it’s very easy to take the technology around us for granted. We can forget that at its best, it’s designed to improve our quality of life. Such is the prevalence of technology, that we can easily fall into the trap of perpetually looking for the least expensive version of any item, but there are some occasions where the extra investment makes the world of difference, turning a home from simply functional to helpful and enjoyable. Nowhere is that more true, than in our kitchens and utility rooms.
Improving quality of life
From the Siemens or Gaggenau coffee machine that has your morning brew ready and waiting at the required time, sending you a reminder text telling you to ‘enjoy your coffee’, to the Miele oven that adjusts its temperature as a particular meal cooks, so you don’t have to keep an eye on it to prevent burning. The digital age has not only made it possible for many of us to work from home; it has also made it possible for our home to start playing a greater role in taking care of us while we’re in it.
While some might be less than thrilled about our constant online interaction than others, one of the benefits of always being connected to the internet is the intelligence it can harness for making everyday tasks seamless and enjoyable. Siemens is largely recognised for leading the way in this area, and other industry leaders have followed. For example, if you’re a Miele client and you have one of their top-of-the-range ovens, you can download their catalogue of recipes, created by leading chefs, for free. These recipes are pre-programmed to your appliance and as a result, it can monitor cooking times and temperatures and tell you when it’s ready.
With so much access (under normal circumstances), to exceptional chefs and foods from around the world, our palettes have become more sophisticated over the years. Our culinary wants have changed from the days when our kitchen was filled with one oven and a microwave. The technology has adjusted accordingly, with perhaps four ovens providing different cooking environments in the same space that you may have once had two. Not only does technology come with recipes, but the intelligence to cook them to perfection as well.
Making daily routine easier and safer
Safety is a big driver in the development of technology, especially in the kitchen. The induction hob has been a big leap in this area, and the likes of Gaggenau have taken that a step further with the Flex Induction Cooktop. It traces the shape of the pan that you are using and will heat that area only, so you don’t waste electricity, but you cook food evenly. Miele has also expanded on the theme, with a similar product that allows you to move the pan. It will continue to recognise said cooking utensil and retain the temperature no matter where you put it on the surface.
Equally, appliances now communicate with one another to improve the ease of use as well as safety. This is perhaps best illustrated in the form of extractor fans, linked to the hob, and which will adjust their intensity according to the cooking. Hopefully, that means that the days of accidentally setting off the fire alarm with an overly enthusiastic frying pan, are gone. It is a particularly prominent feature amongst downdraft extractor hoods. It has become an intelligent ecosystem where you are still the user, but all the elements communicate with one another as well.
Technology that helps prevent waste
Technology is a powerful tool for helping us to prevent wastage in the home and in turn make our lifestyles more eco-friendly. For example, a vacuum drawer from brands like Miele, are typically used to help prepare and cook very soft and tender meat. However, it also allows for much more efficient and effective storage of leftover ingredients. It can even be used to reseal jars so that sauces and other items last longer. For families, it can be exceptionally useful in preparing food ahead of time, while for individuals or couples who don’t use as much of an ingredient in one go, it can also be a gamechanger.
The advent of fridges with intelligent air filters to remove bacteria, that can detect expiry dates and alert you so that you use products efficiently, as well as those that can tie in with your food order when you’re running out of something – all these things help with waste prevention as well as convenience. In a difference area, Miele has developed a dishwasher that has a single detergent PowerDisc that serves for multiple washes instead of replacing the tab each time. It can even place an order for a new disc to be sent from the brand, by post, when it starts to run out. There are also washing machines with similar capabilities. The net result is better use of your time, less packaging and greater efficiency.
With so much technology around us it can sometimes be difficult to see the opportunity we’re really being presented with. Using great design, the goal is not simply to have technology for technology’s sake, but to use it in a way that truly enhances your lifestyle, your wellbeing and reflects your values as well.
Contact Nicholas Anthony for a kitchen design consultation