Category Archives: Kitchen

Co-Living: What will ‘home’ look like in the year 2030?

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Ikea researches the concept of co-living in their One Shared House 2030 survey

When Ikea’s future living lab Space 10 teamed up with New York designers Anton & Irene to research the concept of co-living, they decided to set up an online form for people to fill in so they could state their preferences for a harmonious shared living space.

They describe this as a type of ‘playful research’, acknowledging that One Shared House 2030 isn’t a scientific survey, but as around 7,000 responses from over 150 countries were submitted, it produced enough material to provide some insight into the way we will live in the future.

Respondents were split 50/50 male/female, 85% were aged 18 to 39 years old, and most were either single or in childless relationships, and from Europe, North America and Asia.

They stated that, preferably, the occupants of a shared house would have equal ownership of the space, and the ideal housemates would be a diverse mix, but all clean, honest and considerate.

Respondents said that they were willing to share utilities, the internet, gardens and work-spaces.

However, privacy was the biggest concern for most, who said they would be unwilling to share bathrooms or bedrooms, and would prefer to have their groceries in the kitchen ring-fenced. They would also like to choose how their private spaces were furnished themselves.

For the majority, the appeal of co-living lay in the prospect of having a better social life, and respondents also said that they would like to live in tight-knit communities of four to 10 people.

This is interesting. Two broader trends that we have seen gathering momentum over recent years are single-occupancy living and multi-generational living. If, in fact, people would prefer to live in small communities, are the majority of people living by themselves doing so not through choice, but because circumstances or the lack of such communities have forced them to?

Futurist Will Higham told Trend-Monitor that he believed that one reason children are choosing to stay living in the multi-generational family home is to be part of a “small trust group”.

So is the multi-generational living template actually one that most people would like to recreate? Not exactly, it seems.

While respondents to the online survey stated that other people’s pets would be welcome in this shared community, other people’s small children and teenagers would not be.

They also said they would like to have control over the choice of new housemates joining the home – a luxury not afforded to families.

However, in both types of home the kitchen needs to be big enough to accommodate communal gatherings, and the numerous bathrooms need to be private spaces that provide respite from the busy home.

All this is vital information for architects and designers working on the living spaces of tomorrow. While co-living is a concept that solves many social problems, the loneliness of the single occupant being one of them, many shared spaces currently being built are designed to house hundreds of people.

With increased numbers, those all-important elements of community and privacy can end up getting lost.

People need a balance between ‘my space’, ‘your space’, and ‘our space’. Such findings indicate that we will always have great desire for control over our space and things.”

Lydia Choi-Johansson, Ikea Intelligence Specialist
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Tile Trends Spotted at Cevisama 2019

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Cevisama, Spain’s international tile fair, has become a key date in the calendar for those tracking global tile trends. Taking place this year from 28th January to 1st February, it attracted around 91,000 professionals from 155 different countries, with 120,000sq m of show space dedicated to 793 companies in total.

Here are 8 key tile trends that we spotted at the show, and a preview of the top tile trends that you’ll see emerging over the next year.

Tile Trend #1: Ageing Beauty

Wabi sabi – the Japanese lifestyle trend of embracing a life less perfect and finding beauty in items as they grow old, was making its presence felt at the show. Tiles mimicking rusting and corroding metal, peeling wallpaper and moss growing on stone were on display – the ageing look was everywhere and testimony to the ever-evolving technology now available to tile manufacturers. Particularly effective were the Forge and Patchwork products on the Saloni stand.

Tile Trend #1 – Wabi sabi, the Japanese lifestyle trend of embracing a life less perfect and finding beauty in items as they grow old, was making its presence felt @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #2: Artisanal Appearance

As the current quest for imperfect perfection continues, ceramic tiles convincingly imitating a hand-made look were being showcased on several stands. Vives, Natucer and Peronda’s Harmony brand were among many that were displaying products that sought to recreate an authentic artisanal feel, and give the illusion that each tile is a handcrafted one-off.

Tile Trend #2 – Tiles that seek to recreate an authentic artisanal feel, and give the illusion that each tile is a handcrafted one-off @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #3: Marvelous Marble

Last year was all about the large-format approach to marble lookalikes, and there were still plenty of those epic tiles in evidence. However, as tile renditions of marble continue to gain popularity because of their practical benefits compared to the real thing, also making an entrance were fragments of marble and small marble tiles in delicate shapes – an intriguing new take on a traditional look.

Tile Trend #3 – Small marble tiles in delicate shapes – an intriguing new take on a traditional look @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #4: Giant Terrazzo

Terrazzo tiles re-entered the style arena at Cevisama 2018, but this year they were getting the maximalist treatment. Terrazzo patterns with great chunks in bold, contrasting colours were making an impact at the show, with Harmony’s Slice tile in Dark Green demonstrating just how dramatic the terrazzo effect can be.

Tile Trend #4 – Terrazzo patterns with great chunks in bold, contrasting colours were making an impact @cevisama this year #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #5: Wood Effect

Wood-effect porcelain tiles were still enjoying the spotlight this year, after a hugely successful outing in 2018. The practical benefits and ease of maintenance of tiles over the real thing make them an attractive alternative in kitchen and bathroom settings, with Grespania’s Rioja wall and floor tiles recreating the aged and worn look particularly effectively.

Tile Trend #5 – Wood-effect porcelain tiles were still enjoying the spotlight this year @cevisama, after a hugely successful outing in 2018 #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #6: Colours and Shapes

A playful approach to colours and shapes was in evidence, particularly on the Harmony stand. One of the brand’s latest collaborations is with design studio Stone Design, who have created the Twinkle collection. By taking a square tile and replacing one corner with a curve, and then placing four tiles with the curve together, the effect is of a twinkling star. The Dash collection in collaboration with Raw Color also plays with pattern in a cool, contemporary way.

Tile Trend # 6 – A playful approach to colours and shapes was in evidence @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #7: Thinking Pink

There was more colour in evidence compared to last year’s exhibition, with soft or pastel pink making a surprise entry as one of this year’s hot new shades. It was being used either as a bold accent or colour pop, or as colour blocking in a scheme combined with other tiles, as on the Vives stand, with its Hanami Rosa range.

Tile Trend #7 – Soft or pastel pinks made a surprise entry as one of this year’s hot new shades for tiles @cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet

Tile Trend #8: Making a Point

The hexagon, which garnered a huge following in 2018, was still making an appearance on most stands but there were other elements starting to creep in too, in particular the angular, pointed shapes of the triangle and the diamond. Natucer devoted substantial stand space to demonstrating the surprising number of effects that can be achieved by placing the simple triangle shape in different laying patterns.

Tile Trend #8 – Triangle and diamond shapes take over from the hexagon at Cevisama 2019 @Cevisama #tiletrends Click To Tweet
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Trend-Driven Innovation

The pace of innovation within the kitchen industry is phenomenal and this is never more obvious than when visiting the big trade shows such as CES in Las Vegas, LivingKitchen in Cologne or Eurocucina in Milan.

In its truest sense, innovation means providing ideas out of the blue, leading to significant discoveries and achievements, and it is tempting when seeing all these new, interesting and exciting devices and inventions to find a way to include them all in your own R&D programme.

But how many of these new ideas will really appeal to your target market, the UK householder?

The Trend-Monitor approach is to take a more focused view and our starting point is always the societal shifts that will influence the way we use our kitchens in the future.

For example, we look at the impact of multi-generational families all sharing the same kitchen and noise levels in open living spaces, consumer concerns over food wastage and air pollution, the lack of space and increased working hours facing the average homeowner, and much more …

From this focused viewpoint, we can put new innovations and technologies into a better context and from here we can assess how manufacturers, designers and innovators are reacting to these shifts, not just within the kitchen industry, but also with an eye on the wider environments.

Our latest report features seven key design and innovation trends that are directly relevant to changing consumer attitudes which impact on kitchen behaviours. And what is really is interesting to see is the way in which these trends interact with each other and how really clever innovation has the ability to address more than one trend at a time.

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Kitchen Design and Innovation Trends Report 2019

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This report looks at the key trends that influence the way we use our kitchens and highlights the innovations that tap into these trends, not just within the kitchen industry but also the wider environment

If you are a Kitchen TREND-MONITOR Insight Partner, this report will automatically be added to your account

The pace of innovation within the kitchen industry is phenomenal and this is never more obvious than when visiting the big trade shows such as CES in Las Vegas, LivingKitchen in Cologne or Eurocucina in Milan.

In its truest sense, innovation means providing ideas out of the blue, leading to significant discoveries and achievements, and it was tempting to include in this report everything new, interesting or exciting that we’d seen on our travels.

However, at Trend-Monitor we take a more focused approach and our starting point is always the  societal shifts that influence the way we use our kitchens. From here we highlight how manufacturers, designers and innovators are reacting to these shifts, not just within the kitchen industry, but also with an eye on the wider environments.

Innovation is an iterative process and with this in mind we have no hesitation in featuring products that are still at development stage. These early prototypes are nonetheless significant and earn their place in this report by addressing a strong consumer need or requirement for the kitchen space.

The seven key trends featured in this report are relevant to changing consumer attitudes which impact on kitchen behaviours, and it is interesting to note the way in which these trends interact with each other and how a number of the innovations have the ability to address more than one trend at a time

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Influencer Interview – Elena Corchero, Futurist at Unruly

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In this interview, Elena Corchero, futurist at Unruly, talks about the highlights at this year’s CES trade show in Las Vegas, and the key trends that will influence how we live in our homes in the future

Interview by Emma Hedges

TM. You’ve recently come back from visiting CES in Las Vegas. Tell us about some of the things that were on show.

EC. There were more than 4,500 exhibitors across 2.7 million sq feet, and the Las Vegas Conference Centre was where all the major brands were. That had the innovation car and mobility area, which is one of the largest because obviously, you have driverless cars, you have flying taxis – you might think that it doesn’t link to kitchens and bathrooms but the fact that they are driverless, means that being in a car becomes your second home.

That raises the question, what do you do there? Do you have more entertainment? Do you do sports when you are going from one place to another? Are you going to focus on efficiency and work? Are you going to do cooking? That’s not coming any time soon, but cars eventually will be like a second home, so almost like caravans. So you can imagine eventually this will lead to the question – why have a home?

Cars eventually will be like a second home, so almost like caravans. So you can imagine eventually this will lead to the question – why have a home? @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

A key trend is everything to do with mobility. This has two sides – one is the obvious mobility of future cars, flying taxis and so on. The other one is tech that is more mobile. So we have flexible screens that you can roll like a yoga mat, and phones that you can fold.

There will be a lot of technology that follows you around. Robots that have a screen that you can talk to or use to talk to someone else, so you are hands-free wherever you go and can be exercising or playing. The screen detects you and moves with you.

TM. How do you see the trend involving voice assistants progressing?

EC. There is a difference between voice assistants in any device and those in smart speakers. Most people do have an iPhone, and the majority of voice assistants used are Siri (44%), Google (30%) Alexa (17%), Bixby (which is Samsung, 4%) and the rest are 5%. Those are the statistics for voice assistants on their own.

When we go to the smart speakers, that switches around, Alexa is number one and Google is catching up quickly going from 8% in 2017 to 30% now, it is the only assistant that reaches 100% understanding and they promoted it in a truly surprising way during CES with a Fun Park train ride!

Right now 41% of American consumers have access to a smart speaker. In 2017 that was 21%, so the amount of people in the US with access to a smart speaker has doubled. Eventually, the voice will be omnipresent. Now your fridge has it, your TV has it, your oven has it, so very soon you will just speak wherever you are and there will always be a device that can capture your command.

TM. Which were the other products that stood out at the show?

EC. One of the award-winning companies was Toto, who produce smart toilets. We know smart toilets are big in Japan, but now they are coming to Europe.

Eventually, they will be able to do analytics of people’s waste. Toilet analytics is a growing trend and it will become common at some point. You will collect this data for your own awareness, or to sell the data because that data might have value one day, or to connect to your doctor or trainer.

Toilet analytics is a growing trend and it will become common at some point. You will collect this data for your own awareness or to connect to your doctor or trainer. @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

This was also evident in the pet industry. We know that more people have pets, and there were companies at the show launching automatic pet toilets that also one day will monitor pets’ health.

Fascinating to see that there are so many other problems in the world but technology is focusing on where the money is, and we know that pet owners invest a lot!

Fascinating to see that there are so many other problems in the world but technology is focusing on where the money is, and we know that pet owners invest a lot! @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

So the ‘quantified self’, and access to technologies to track health are growing and in new directions. There was a home blood test kit, and there was also a concept by Proctor & Gamble’s Oral B where your toothbrush will be able to analyse your saliva… one day these biometrics will be shared with your kitchen, with your fridge and food assistant to manage your nutritional intake, bathrooms and kitchens have never been more connected!

We’re looking at ensuring at an older age we’re fully able, so we can retire at 80 and not at 60. We imagine a longer future but with better health. The ageing population is a massive market that is starting to become much more obvious and Japan is focusing their technologies and initiatives very much on this.

Samsung was doing a lot of robotics aimed at this. Assisted robotics that can help you in the home, but also assisted robotics that you can wear to help you with mobility issues – ‘Exoskeletons’ they’re called.

Two other areas associated with health are quality of sleep and quality of air, and a lot of brands are developing devices that will make you aware of the quality of your air, and others are doing this plus purifying the air.

TM. Which other innovations might have an impact on kitchen and bathroom design?

EC. Well, the idea that any surface of any shape becomes a screen is very obvious. On the LG stand there was an installation called ‘The Massive Curve of Nature’ and it was literally an all-involving screen projecting nature – so you were under the sea or in a forest and the screen was curvy. It was fascinating. That is the new flexible-screen technology that LG can apply on any surface.

Also, there was ‘The Wall’ from Samsung, which is modular and bezel-free making it flexible in screen size so users can customise it to fit any room or space making a wall look seamless.

Audi showed a car with a beautiful wooden interior but it was, in fact, a screen and acted as a display as well. We see something changing in the way we interact with surfaces.

We saw this with mirrors, which when they are touch screens get dirty very easily. So all the mirrors I saw at CES detect gestures, so you control the mirrors by moving your arms and hands, and by facial gestures.

We see less touching and more gestures; appliances being self-aware; any kind of surface becoming a screen; health awareness everywhere, from the fridge to the toilet; and everything leading also to the nomadic life. I really believe in all this technology moving with us, and allowing us to be more nomadic – more free and flexible.

I really believe in all this technology moving with us, and allowing us to be more nomadic – more free and flexible. @ElenaCorchero @unrulyco Click To Tweet

TM. Do you think in general consumers are embracing Internet of Things technology more?

EC. There is not enough information out there for consumers to understand how user-friendly it can be, but now companies are figuring this out.

The new Bosch video is brilliant. They had a problem – they have all sorts of products, from fridges to lawnmowers, and they didn’t have an identity for it all. They finally came up with this hashtag that is very trendy already – #likeabosch – and they show that if you only use Bosch products, because they are all connected to the internet you can live ‘like a boss’ because you don’t have to do anything. This video really puts the IoT as a mainstream subject that last year it wasn’t.

But the good thing about the IoT is how it allows you to stay closer to your loved ones. You might ask for example, why have a smart kettle? I still need to fill it up with water and all it does is turn on and off. But the thing is, if you give that to your grandmother you will know how often she has her tea, and you know that at 9 am that kettle goes on every day, and if one day that doesn’t happen you can give her a call to make sure she’s alright.

So the IoT shouldn’t be seen as a selfish thing or a comfort thing – it is about how it is going to make us part of collective communities.

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What Happened to the Future?

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The latest exhibition at the Design Museum asks: ‘What happened to the future?’

Here at Trend-Monitor we often talk to futurists, innovators, architects and designers about what the home of the future will look like – but do they necessarily turn out to be right?

Here at Trend-Monitor we often talk to futurists, innovators, architects and designers about what the home of the future will look like – but do they necessarily turn out to be right? @DesignMuseum Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s useful to look back and assess whether those predictions actually came true, and that’s what Home Futures: Living in Yesterday’s Tomorrow aims to do. It’s the latest exhibition currently on at the Design Museum, which is the result of a partnership with the IKEA Museum Almhult. Bringing together an array of avant-garde speculations in the form of around 150 objects and experiences, the exhibition asks: “Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”

There are various rare works on display, including original furniture from the Smithsons’ House of the Future (1956), original footage from the General Motors Kitchen of Tomorrow (1956), and an original model of Total Furnishing Unit by Joe Colombo (1972), which organisers say help to provide visitors with a thought-provoking view of yesterday’s tomorrow.

“Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”

The show is divided into six relevant themes, all of which reflect key trends that are influencing the way we live in our homes today. The first is Living Smart, which traces the modernist ideal of the ‘home as machine’ and juxtaposes it with our current view of the connected ‘smart home’. Illustrations by Heath Robinson depicting unlikely household gadgetry and contraptions are shown alongside a range of smart devices.

Living on the Move explores the 20th-century view of a simple, nomadic lifestyle, while Living Autonomously delves into the 1970s notion of self sufficiency. This looks at Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione, a 1974 design guide to assembling furniture from basic materials, and also features a newly commissioned modular furniture series by Brussels studio Open Structures.

Addressing the issue of housing shortages, Living with Less focuses on fully fitted home units and minimal solutions, and looks at Joe Colombo’s 1970s vision, alongside Gary Chang’s Hong Kong Transformer contemporary micro apartment with shifting walls. Domestic Arcadia looks at the home as a series of organic forms that evoke the natural landscape.

Living with Others examines the way in which we negotiate privacy in the home – something that is increasingly relevant in the face of the current rising number of multi-generational homes. This is also reflected in the ‘One Shared House 2030’ project by New York designers Anton & Irene in collaboration with the Ikea-funded ‘future living lab’, SPACE 10.

“We at Ikea have always been curious about innovative technology, inventing new techniques, materials and logistical solutions. Behind every single product lies years of research, experimentation and testing,” said Jutta Viheria, the Ikea Museum’s Exhibition and Communications Manager. “By partnering with the Design Museum on this exhibition, we are continuing our mission of collaborating with organisations that view the world from a different perspective, allowing us to gain new insights into this crazy old world of ours,” she explained.

How did the future look?

According to the Design Museum, radical thinkers and designers of the 20th century imagined our future homes as places where…

A global, invisible network would connect us all
Supersurface was a speculative proposal for a universal grid that would allow people to live without objects or the need to work, in a state of permanent nomadism.

We would work from anywhere we wanted
In 1969, years before laptops allowed for work on the go, Hans Hollein proposed a mobile office in the form of a transparent bubble for a nomadic lifestyle. It forecasted the conditions of work and life in an automated, networked world.

We would live surrounded by screens
Ugo La Pietra’s Casa Telematica (1983), or the Telematic House, imagined ways in which media and telecommunication will change the homes of the future

Home appliances would be smart and autonomous
The 1950s “Miracle Kitchen” of the future had its own Roomba (robotic hoover)

More people would live in cities, in smaller spaces
Joe Colombo designed a Total Furnishing Unit, which was a whole house in just 28 square meters.

Art and design would merge
An example of this is the iconic red lips sofa by Gufram

Bocca, Red Lip Sofa by Gufram

The exhibition at the Design Museum finishes on 24th March 2019.

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Wabi Sabi: The new consumer trend that celebrates imperfection

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Forget Hygge – there’s a new social trend that’s increasingly making its presence felt in 2019 and this time we’ve imported it from Japan.

According to consumer and behavioural futurist Will Higham, wabi sabi is one of this year’s top emerging socio-cultural developments to watch, which could present a commercial opportunity for businesses.

The wabi-sabi approach has been integrated into Japanese culture for centuries. While in its current rendition, it has a distinctive ‘style’, like Hygge, it is more than just an interiors trend. It’s a recipe for a more mindful way of life that, in many ways, represents a backlash against some of the other social trends that we’re witnessing right now.

“We are living in a time of brain-hacking algorithms, pop-up propaganda and information everywhere,” says Beth Kempton in her book Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life. “From the moment we wake up, to the time we stumble into bed, we are fed messages about what we should look like, wear, eat and buy, how much we should be earning, who we should love and how we should parent.”

So as our daily lives pick up the pace, as technology careers ahead at breakneck speed, and as influencers constantly bombard us with images of envy-inspiring lifestyle perfection, can wabi sabi offer some kind of antidote?

“Wabi is about finding beauty in simplicity, and a spiritual richness and serenity in detaching from the material world,” explains Kempton. “Sabi is more concerned with the passage of time, with the way that all things grow and decay and how ageing alters the visual nature of those things. It’s less about what we see, and more about how we see.”

So why does this matter? Wabi sabi is being credited with helping to drive the latest trend for upcycling products – creatively decorating and reusing old or unwanted items – and it appears to be in tune with a more sustainable, and less throwaway, way of life. As single-use items become anathema to the current mood, and sustainability rises up the consumer list of priorities, there’s plenty for businesses to consider.

This has implications for everything from the way in which consumers and retailers tackle food waste, to a wider acceptance of the way the human body looks as it ages. It points to a shift in what consumers consider to be aspirational. But, when it comes down to it, is a mindset that enables us to embrace transience, imperfection, and everything that makes us different, being driven by the global megatrend of individualism?

According to consumer and behavioural futurist Will Higham @NextBigThingCo, wabi sabi is one of this year’s top emerging socio-cultural developments to watch, which could present a commercial opportunity for businesses. Click To Tweet

This being the case, how will consumers’ reactions to images presented to them as desirable by the mass media, and – crucially – the way in which businesses present information about their brands to their audiences evolve?

When it comes to marketing materials, the appetite for a less brash, more personalised approach is growing. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops.

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The Future Kitchen: Alfredo Häberli’s vision for LivingKitchen 2019

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When Argentine-Swiss designer Alfredo Häberli was invited by LivingKitchen’s organisers Koelnmesse to design a display at the exhibition entitled ‘Future Kitchen’, he decided to take an alternative approach to the display.

“I deliberately want to elevate my design to a certain level of abstraction because the times in which we are living are moving incredibly fast. I therefore decided to base my design for Future Kitchen on a blend of minimalist architecture and virtual reality.”

Alfredo Häberli

Haberli also wanted to address some important issues. The knowledge that we are already confronted with an increasing population, climate change and resource scarcity, raises some critical questions – how will sensuality be preserved if, in the future, food is produced in laboratories and reduced to the supply of protein? What happens when the act of cooking mutates into pure self-expression and hedonistic luxury? What will the kitchen of the future look like if we need to find solutions for preventing food waste?

These thoughts are an important part of today’s discourse about how to feed the planet. With my concept, I would therefore like to bring the kitchen and the preparation of food back into focus. As a workshop and the soul of the house, the kitchen is the link to the adjacent zones of the home, as well as the cultural activities connected with it – and thus forms the space for Sense & Sensuality

Alfredo Häberli

Taking the title ‘Sense and Sensuality, A Kitchen for the Near Future‘, the 160sq m stand at LivingKitchen was sparsely furnished with a long glass table and some chairs, with shelving, walls and surfaces painted a vibrant green, so at first visitors may have been a little perplexed by the nature of the display.

In an unconventional move, the detail of Häberli’s vision was only accessible with the help of audio guides and tablets, via a downloadable app. By scanning QR codes positioned on the green surfaces, visitors were able to access the different designs on a smart device.

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Häberli’s Future Kitchen was essentially a sociable space, and formed the central living zone in a future house. The emphasis was on space saving and efficient living, and also sustainability, with the increasing shortage of resources in mind. A garden for growing vegetables was positioned alongside the kitchen in the installation, and prominent water cisterns for conserving and recycling water for all uses in the home were located in the kitchen and bathroom areas.

There were a total of 11 kitchen gadgets and appliances in the Future Kitchen. Prominent among them was a transparent, horizontal fridge concept – the result of a collaboration with Samsung. Keeping the contents visible from the outside meant that unnecessary opening and searching for items was avoided, with Häberli’s idea being that the energy released when the fridge door was opened could be fed into an integrated lower storage area that served as a warming rack for tableware

Schott Ceran partnered in the creation of the ultra-thin hob concept, which could be picked up like a tray to be positioned on any surface, and even outside to cook meals or keep them warm. It was without zones, but was able to recognise different sizes of pots and pans and heat them accordingly, while the portable element also allowed it to be stowed away when not in use.

The vision for the oven in the Future Kitchen was that it would descend from the ceiling when required, and was also transparent to enable the user to see the cooking process without opening the door, to reduce unnecessary heat loss.

Describing the kitchen utensil as neither oven nor steamer nor plate warmer, but as a ‘Heating Shell’ in which the energy required for cooking is supplied to the food from all sides instead of just from the bottom.

And to ensure that an ideal workflow can be established in the small apartments of the future, the «Heating Shell» also serves as a hatch between the kitchen and the dining area – there are openings on several sides that allow the appliance to be loaded and unloaded. When not in use, the unit floats back up towards the ceiling

Häberli describes his installation as “a glimpse of the near future”. His view is clearly that saving the planet is directly connected to the activities that take place in the kitchen at home.

View the Future Kitchen Brochure and Topics >

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Indoor Smart Gardens

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So much technological innovation is being devoted to keeping food fresher for longer – is an indoor smart garden the next step when it comes to living sustainably and having the freshest food possible to hand?

Click & Grow, the producer of self-watering indoor gardens, was founded in 2009 by CEO Mattias Lepp and has recently seen huge investment from Ikea’s parent company, Ingka Group.

Smart Garden display at Ikea Greenwich

The company’s breakthrough technology means that non-GM and pesticide-free plants can be grown “with zero effort” at home. The plant pods, full of ‘smart soil’ and seeds, are similar in size to coffee machine capsules, and come in 45 different plant varieties including herbs, salad greens, vegetables, fruit and flowers.

Adjustable LED lamps offer enhanced lighting to encourage plant growth, and the water used is prevented from evaporating. The ‘smart soil’ is almost completely covered so that water leaves the system only by plant transpiration.

According to Click & Grow, plants grown using the Smart Gardens and Wall Farms use 95% less water, contain up to 600% more vitamins, and grow 30% faster than plants grown with current agricultural methods.

Lepp believes the the next step for smart indoor gardens is “to see how hyper-local farming can have a lasting impact on the sustainability of our food chain and reduce food waste”, and he thinks that they have already earned “their rightful place among kitchen tools” in the home.

The Plantcube, which is produced by Agrilution, is the brainchild of Max Lössl and Philipp Wagner. It is described as an ‘intelligent home greenhouse’ that enables the user to grow a wide selection of greens, including salads and herbs.

The Plantcube

It works on the same principle as hydroponic cultivation, so it doesn’t require soil. Automatic watering is supplied on a cycle of up to 12 times a day, and the ideal light has been created in collaboration with Osram to provide the right conditions for photosynthesis to occur.

The greens are also said to be nutrient rich and grown without pesticides. Added to that, as the user only harvests the amount they wish to use while the rest keeps until it’s needed, there is a reduction in the amount of food wasted or thrown away.

The Agrilution app means that the user is able to monitor the plants’ progress and growth phases remotely, can reorder varieties, and is even able to access recipes to make the most of the produce grown.

The Plantcube is available as a freestanding cabinet, but it is the same size as a fridge or wine cooler, and can be incorporated into the kitchen design as an undercounter solution.

Its minimal appearance and handle-less design also means that it can be integrated into a kitchen island or vertical bank of appliances with ease. This is important news for kitchen designers – the indoor smart garden just came one step closer to becoming part of everyday life.

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The Cabin Spacey Minimal House

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Is the Cabin Spacey ‘minimal house’ what the home of the future looks like?

When they decided to think about making a prototype to meet the demands of how people will live in the future, architects Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch set about addressing some of the restrictions of traditional living today.

The configuration of most apartments comprises two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom, and has changed very little for generations. The team wanted to come up with something more flexible that addressed the changing needs of the ‘modern metropolitan’.

Equally, as urbanisation continues and space becomes an increasingly sought-after commodity, they needed the cabin to be compact.

The smallest unit measures just over 25sq metres and can comfortably accommodate two people. The king-sized bed overlooks the living area, and features storage space and a USB docking station.

The bathroom is equipped with Grohe products, and the kitchen is kitted out with a hob, steaming hot tap, fridge, washing machine, and coffee machine, with many of the products by Bosch.

The multi-functional lounge area has a window seat that doubles as a guest bed, as well as a dining table. There is an array of smart tech that enhances home comfort and efficiency, including a smart mirror, intelligent heating control, Sonos sound system, Phillips Hue lighting system, Amazon Echo and Kiwi.ki smart lock.

One of the main advantages of the ‘minimal house’ is that it is completely sustainable, with a solid wooden structure made from renewable raw materials.

A large solar battery, integrated into the innovation’s sandwich floor and with panels on the roof to collect energy from the sun, provides power so even though the Cabin Spacey is connected to the energy network, it produces energy itself.

When coming up with Cabin Spacey, Becker and Rauch decided that today’s ‘urban nomads’ require a home that is above all easy to transport and to install.

“An increasing demand for mobility is shaping new forms and habits of accommodation,” says Becker. “Our overall goal from the beginning was to lower the access barriers to appropriate living space in exceptional locations.”

The beauty of Cabin Spacey is that it can be hooked up to existing utilities and infrastructures, so in theory is able to be set down just as easily in a car park, as it is in a garden or on a stretch of urban wasteland, or on an unused roof.

According to the company, Berlin alone has space for 55,000 apartments on unused rooftops that are unsuitable for development, but where Cabin Spacey might work perfectly.

Cabin Spacey was not a pop-up idea. It’s a combined answer to several paradigm shifts, newly arisen needs and behaviour changes in living and travelling – Simon Becker, CEO and founder of Cabin Spacey @cabinspacey #tinyhousemovement Click To Tweet

Officially launched last June, the result is an environmentally friendly, intelligent space, that meets the occupants’ needs, while offering all-round flexibility for contemporary living.

Source: Cabin Spacey

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