Post-COVID Kitchen of the Future

Post-COVID Kitchen of the Future

Imagine Tessa walking into her kitchen. She pulls her favorite coffee cup out and puts it on top of the induction counter. “Good Morning Tessa, it will be sunny and 85 degrees today.” She taps the counter and proceeds to sip her coffee while looking out onto the projection of one of her favorite spots in the world, the Colorado Rockies. She is mindful of time, in one hour the back wall kitchen cabinetry will transform and open up into her workspace.  A pre-set zoom conference appears on the smart glass wall and Tessa begins her workday.

Hailed a visionary designer, American Standard asked Michele Alfano to start thinking about the Post Covid kitchen of the future. Today, the kitchen is known as the heart of the home. The Kitchen of the Future will be known to nourish the mind, heart, body and planet, marrying technology and nature to create a self-sustainable space for healthy living. Through Michele Alfano Design’s (MAD) signature lens Poetic Modernism®, new forms of human engagement within the kitchen will affect our brain, our multiple senses, and impact our well-being.

In today’s post we will talk about how it impacts the MIND:

Michele Alfano Design Kitchen of the Future for American Standard

For sure we see the Kitchen of the Future to include smart technology to make our lives easier, convenient and promote healthy living:

  • Gesture and voice recognition:  technology that recognizes it is you and controls appliances to your liking which will ultimately improve your cooking experience.
  • Smart surfaces: The smart counter is designed to respond to our real time needs. The smart induction surface will have sensor technology that can learn our likes and our routines and assist us with it all.
  • Smart glass wall: (projected mountain landscape) The smart glass wall is either connected by voice recognition or connected back to our counters and/or appliances and information will be projected onto the glass backsplash. The glass wall recognizes who you are and will have the ability to show video chats, recipes, your schedule for the day, your email, the weather, the time, and different inspiring landscapes.
  • Workspace in the kitchen:  during the pandemic we all experienced working from home. The perimeter cabinetry along the glass wall is designed to hide a desk area. For zoom conferences, the perimeter cabinetry slides open and transforms into a comfortable workspace. The Smart glass wall serves as a large computer screen for zoom chats.
  • Video chats, and zooms can be displayed on the Smart glass wall providing flexibility to work.
  • Smart appliances: appliances will learn about you, your habits, your behaviors and help you to cook more efficiently.
    • Wall oven of the future: Combined sous vide and steam wall oven to suit all needs. A smart cooking oven that learns actions, and makes recommendations on the smart wall. Sous vide / Steam professional cooking techniques will be the new cooking staple. Convenience food at home will no longer mean unhealthy or poor quality. Smart cooking solutions will balance time, taste and health.
    • Induction cooktop of the future: connected to the smart wall and smart counter, smart cooking cooktop that learns actions, and makes recommendations on the smart wall.
    • Sink of the future: trough used for herb prepping, and entertaining. A far off futuristic idea is the trough can turn into a dishwasher.
    • Refrigerator and Freezer: bacteria sensors to tell you when your food is not fresh.
    • Wine refrigerator: recognizes your wine habits and pairs wine with your meals.
    • American Standard’s Saybrook Filtered kitchen faucet: A filtered faucet in the kitchen is essential to every health conscious home. American Standard’s Saybrook Filtered Kitchen Faucet is engineered to provide easy access to safe, clean drinking water at the push of a button. The faucet delivers fresh filtered water and regular tap water from a single, easy-to-install faucet. This environmentally friendly solution eliminates reliance on plastic water bottles with a sleek design that serves as a work of art in the space.

Stay tuned for the next article where we will talk about how the Kitchen of the Future influences the heart, body, and earth.

Is there fear of the Smart Home?

Is there fear of the Smart Home?

What is a Smart Home? By definition it is a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer. At the recent Kitchen and Bath Industry show (KBIS), Kitchen and bath appliances for the home were featured showing connectivity to communication centers like Home Connect and Alexa. Designers like myself were very excited about these new steps in technology for the home and see the potential of not only making our clients lives easier but also saving time so family and friends can be the priority.

For example, Thermador’s Connected Experience is your gateway to “exceptional culinary experiences.” With the Home Connect app you can control your dishwasher, refrigerator, wine refrigerator or coffee machine, and access a world of culinary inspiration with recipes and product tutorials.  At the show, I asked Alexa to make me a cappuccino. Can you imagine doing that at home? This also would be great for aging hands. Samsung’s family hub incorporates cameras inside your refrigerator to capture images and transmit the images to your smartphone. You then know what to order if you are at the store. Or order directly from your refrigerator panel.  This saves you a trip to the market since your food will be shipped right to your home….Talk about saving time and helping people who are not feeling well. Signature Kitchen Suites True Sommelier App makes wine recommendations, including food and wine pairings based on the wines stored in your collections. Become a real wine expert!

Unlimited personalization possibilities heighten entertaining and cooking at home. But will our clients embrace this technology? There are always budget concerns since these appliances are more expensive than your typical appliances. However, I think budget concerns may be a cloaking devise for a true technology fear.  These systems rely on the Internet connection, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Questions have come up like, “what if something will happen with the Internet or if your Bluetooth isn’t working?  What if the system fails in the middle of a dishwashing cycle? What if my grocery information gets lost in the hub? These are true fears that our clients, especially the baby boomers are thinking about and maybe they may feel more secure with the typical home versus the smart home.  

Unless there are clear answers to these fears, what is supposed to amplify our lives for the better may turn into a headache that needs constant user attention. We live in a connected world and I think each company should calm the nerves of homeowners with product assistance. I know Thermador offers remote diagnostics within their app when product assistance is needed. However, knowing that there will be a human being on the other end to help may calm the nerves of folks who are on the fence about buying smart home technology. As a designer who believes in innovation, I will not only be speaking to the kitchen and bath brands about human assistance but also educating my clients the benefits of technology in the home outweigh the fears.