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Friday, June 20, 2014

COLOR IS THE NEW STAINLESS STEEL

Among the great chefs of the world, it is widely believed that the success of a meal is directly related on the color and texture of the ingredients. I have always believed that color is the essential ingredient to create the ideal kitchen, a playground to experiment with your taste, senses and your personal style without restriction.

 
Color provides sensation, mood and personality. The colors we choose for our kitchen reflects the way we look at life.  Color defines who we are as individuals. As the kitchen becomes more neutral, we find that pockets of color will define the character of the space. 

Color was once the exclusive domain of the affluent home owner who never worried about the effect of color on the resale value of the home.  But today, the American palette is developing a more sophisticated eye for complex color along with the freedom of expression.

Approaching the kitchen as a fashion statement, I am always on the watch for color trends and influences. From the runways of Paris to the auto salons of Milan…Color is everywhere and that includes the kitchen. A stainless steel appliance, that cornerstone of modern kitchen design, is now giving way to bright, bold and edgy color combinations. 

Not since the 70’s, with a limited pallet of Harvest Gold and Avocado Green, has there been such an opportunity to add color to the kitchen.  Today, many manufacturers offer anywhere from basic primary colors like Red, Blue, Yellow and Green to the entire color spectrum of the human eye. 

From the passionate feelings created by a Sangria-Red  or Maze-Yellow to the timeless qualities of Cobalt-Blue or Forrest Green, to the crispness of a Sunset Orange to the sophistication of rich violet. Color gives life to space and allows form and function to take shape. With its expressive quality and its striking appeal, I feel that space is inseparable from color.

Dacor, the California based manufacturer of ultra-premium kitchen appliances, announced that color personalization would be an added option with their new DacorMatch Color System. Dacor customers can easily personalize their cooking appliance with the new color option. 


In addition, the DacorDesignTeam has hand-selected 10 vibrant color choices for its wall ovens and ranges including Cordon Bleu, Sangria, Tangerine, Crimson, Smoke, Black Tie, Arctic, Citron, Envy and Radiant Orchid, the personal favorite of movie star and TV host, Oprah Winfrey and the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year.
Available nationwide this fall, the color personalization option is designed to empower the Dacor customer.  “Dacor believes in encouraging customers’ self-expression not only through cooking, but also through kitchen design,” says Dacor President, Steve Joseph.  “By offering ovens and ranges for customers in any color they choose, we are empowering them to truly make the kitchen their own.”

It appears that we are on the leading edge of a color renaissance. Returning to the center-stage after along hiatus, color is back with a vengeance. Evoking multi-sensory impressions, color is reaching, once again, to new heights of popularity. If the new definition of luxury is personalization, then it may be safe to say that “Color is the new stainless steel”.
 
 
 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

THE NEW PRINCIPLES OF KITCHEN DESIGN, a re-post

I have been designing kitchens for over 30 years and like most of my peers, associates and contemporaries, I have followed religiously the holy tenets of our faith…the un-questioned “work-triangle”, that was until I met a holy-man from a far away land called Michigan, on a pilgrimage to share his vision of how things should work and a set of principles to live by.

It is truly hard to believe that we are still design kitchens based on an idea born out of the “rational” movement of the 1900’s. The work-tri-angle was created to maximize the efficiency and eliminate unneeded steps and movements in the preparation and cooking of the daily meals, thus allowing the woman of the house to free up her valuable time for more important tasks like cleaning, laundry and childcare.

This once private domain of the feminine world has now given way to a new social order and reflects the world that we live in. Today we find a more “democratized” environment, where everyone is welcomed in the kitchen, a place where family, friends, and guests are invited, if not encouraged, to participate in the ritual of preparation.

And with this increased activity and additional bodies, all in a high-traffic ballet of fire, boiling water and sharp pointy things, we find that the assembly-line kitchen of the past century, with its uniform horizon of sink, dishwasher, cook-top, oven and refrigerator, forever locked in its limited one-person “work-triangle”, must make way to a new way of thinking.

The pilgrim I speak of is industry thought-leader, designer and manufacturer, Pete Walker. His evolutionary or maybe more correct, revolutionary concept is called the “Proximity Principles©”. According to Pete’s first principle, “A kitchen should be arranged around a series of task based work centers in relative proximity to each other and in proper sequence relative to tasks as they actually occur in the art of cookery”.

According to Pete, the Principles dictate the adaptation of the site conditions to various task-appropriate layouts and the results of their use are uniformly functional. As is true of any situation, site and structural issues and the constraints of budget,  will impact the final result. In other words, no matter the size, shape or budget of the kitchen, the Principles always improve the use of whatever space is available.

To further his beliefs, Pete has created a line of eco-centric kitchens that embody his philosophy; the Proximity Kitchen System™ eliminates the vast number of unnecessary options, elements and configurations currently found in both domestic and imported mass-manufactured kitchen product lines. His streamlined collection leaves the designer with an elegant intersection of minimalist product and maximizes achievable function.

A kitchen based on the “Principles” is therefore no longer skewed by geometric happenstance; the obsolete “work triangle”, but, based on a set of irreducible “first principles”. These principles organize a clear set of design techniques and protocols which create space that allow an individual to move gracefully through a kitchen where everything comes easily to hand as it is needed or as Pete would say, “Life within reach”.

Like any movement or belief out of the norm, Pete and his “Principles” have its share of nah-sayers and distracters, but there seems to be an ever growing legion of architects, interior designers and kitchen specialist, who call themselves “Proxies”, that have embraced this new thought in both mind and heart as well as action in the practice of their trade.

If you would like to know more about Pete and the Principles or would like additional information regarding the Proximity Kitchen System, I would encourage you to visit www.proximitykitchen.com

Sunday, January 5, 2014

WHERE DO YOU COOK? REDEFINING THE CULINARY EXPERIENCE

Just imagine for a moment in the not so distant future that you have been delayed at work with and unscheduled meeting and find yourself running 45 minutes late for dinner…no worries...you just pullout your mobile device and access your oven and with a couple of well placed taps upon the screen, you simply re-calibrate the cooking time on your roast to finish at 7:30 when you arrive home…Science-fiction?  No…not anymore.

The Connected Kitchen will be the next big thing to hit your home…with smart phone  technology slowly creeping into all of your home electronics…it will be just a matter of time before the kitchen, once again becomes the central core of family life.  

Easy, convenient and connected, that’s what the modern homeowner wants in their next appliance. With both partners working, time has become a luxury, so appliances need to step-up and participate in the process and take some of the burden in meal preparation.

The American consumer wants a true smart appliance and not just another mindless drone, They want appliances that can be accessed remotely via a smart-phone or tablet, so they can be free themselves from the confines of the kitchen and to monitor their meals or appliances from where ever they are.  Pre-heat the oven from the office, or start the casserole from the soccer field or maybe the range will speak directly with the factory regarding the results of a remote diagnostic system check. 

Dacor, the Southern California based luxury appliance manufacturer, is no longer imagining the future as much as defining the future with the launch of the Discovery iQ Wall-Oven and Discovery 48” iQ Dual-Fuel Range at the 2014 International Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 7 – 10, 2014.

"It’s not about technology for technology sake…it’s about simplifying the process, to make the culinary experience accessible to everyone and to empower the individual" said Steve Joseph at a CES press event.  He went on to say, “Our new products are breaking new ground in the kitchen appliance industry with smart technology that makes cooking an extension of the connected lifestyle." Said Steve Joseph, President of Dacor.

The proprietary iQ Cooking App, accessed through an integrated Android interface,   eliminates the guesswork associated with preparing popular dishes and family recipes by way of a pre-programmed guide.  It enables users to prepare a wide range of dishes to perfection with the touch of a finger. Simply select the desired recipe from the display menu, insert the dish, initiate the program and relax as the oven takes care of the rest. Additionally, when the desired cooking time has been reached, the oven will place the dish on warming mode and send you a text that your meal is ready to serve.  

“The Discovery iQ Wall Oven and 48” iQ Range are truly revolutionary and have raised the bar for cooking convenience and performance by combining advanced cooking technology with the insight of the iQ Cooking application. Dacor has empowered the novice chef to perform at expert levels with a simple swipe of a finger. With control features such as Guided Cooking, Quick Start Guide, Slow Cook Mode and Personal Recipe Storage, the home chef is almost guaranteed to cook all their favorite dishes to perfection.

As Arthur C Clark once wrote, "Something is about to happen...something wonderful.". Dacor has truly taken the next step in the advancement of cooking technology and yes Mr Clark...Something "wonderful" is about to happen.

Follow this link to a great YouTUBE video on the iQ Wall Oven : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-e1o93JFiM&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLGKHQD1-BqQkhz2IWjOEkXh6NM0wEhSs4


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

THE MALE CENTRIC KITCHEN…the new paradigm

A few years back, while preparing a marketing study for an Italian kitchen manufacturer looking to expand their presence in North America…I made a startling discovery…kitchens were not just for women.  The industry demographics were all wrong and misleading.  The popular myth that women were the driving point of all kitchen sales was an assumption.  It was believed that the prototypical kitchen consumer was female, married, 35 – 45 with one or more child.  And this was true on the whole…but what we discovered was that economics and age changed everything. 

Middle-class kitchens with children still at home were female driven and functional by nature.  Breakfast and dinner were prepared by Mom and homework was done at the kitchen table…all very “June Cleaver”, all very American.  But when it came to up-market, affluent kitchens…the tables were turned and the kitchen went from one of traditional design and functionality to one of clean and simple lines and cooking as entertainment.  And at the helm we discovered a 55 – 65 year old male, directing the design and purchase of this new playground.  Where the female, middle-class purchaser was focused on function, convenience and budget, the affluent male buyer is focused on aesthetics, technology and value. 

Once considered off limits to the American male, today’s modern kitchen has become the new workshop, a place of refuge that our fathers once spent hours locked away on weekends, tinkering, building, repairing and mostly escaping the pressures of everyday life, as well as the wife and kids. Clean modern lines, sleek glass and chrome surfaces and enough technology to launch a mission to mars…Today’s male has found a new venue for relaxation and self-expression.

In a recent UK study regarding the cooking habits of the British Male, some very startling statics have emerged to further challenge our perceptions and assumptions.   As women move in greater numbers into the workforce and in some cases taking the role of “bread-winner”, it appears that men have taken to their new domestic position with relish.
  
In the UK study:
  • 86% of males polled cook meals regularly
  • The average male surveyed spends up to 11 ½ hours weekly preparing and cooking meals.
  • Those interviewed said they can prepare 4 meals a week from a repertoire of 11 recipes from scratch
  • 2/3rds of those polled say they cook far more than their father’s simple weekend efforts on the barbeque.
  • 63% prepare weekday meals
  • 37% prepare kids meals and packed lunches.
  • The average male surveyed has spent up to $700 a year on kitchen gadgets and equipment.
  • 44% would rather spend money on kitchen tools than the new tech gadget
  • 28% would give up their season tickets for a new kitchen appliance.
  • The top three kitchen wish-list items:
    • New Cookware (38%)
    • A new Oven or Range (36%)
    • Quality Knife Set (35%)
 With the proliferation of cooking shows, mostly with male chefs in the leading role, 7 out of 10 males polled felt more confident in the their role as home-chef and that most felt that they were far better cooks than their female domestic partners.

To the modern male, today’s kitchen is about lifestyle and it’s about living.  If stress and anxiety are the bi-products of the modern world, then nothing is more coveted by today’s male than relaxation and contentment. 

His kitchen can be defined by the details.  When designing for the male, it’s important to speak about the intangible aspects of the kitchen we must address happiness and comfort, taste and design, exclusivity and uniqueness.  The kitchen must be viewed as a reward for his hard work, a symbol of his accomplishments.

When it comes to the kitchen, he wants the best the industry has to offer.  To him, spending more for quality is worth it and it is expected.  He believes that value is more important than price and that “brand” means security and quality. 
The products he chooses for his kitchen must be manufactured by a well-known and trusted name and is prestigious as well as exclusive.

Socially driven and status aware, exclusivity and appearance is the key to his personality.  He looks for products that are unique and will enhance the way he is perceived by others.  Branding is at the heart of his decision making, as he believes; they are the traditional indicators of quality.   It’s about the pleasure of owning an original.  It’s about exclusivity.  And ultimately, it’s about self-expression. 

Up until recently, the kitchen was designed as a functional laboratory for a single participant, the “woman of the house”, the ‘little lady’, “mom”.  It was laid out with assembly line efficiency with a window centered on the sink so mom, in her frilly apron and pearls, could watch the little ones in the back yard at play.

The evolution of the Male Centric Kitchen has grown far from its primary function of food preparation, and nurturing to that of “social arena”, serving as living room, dinning room, home-office, entertainment and media center.   More democratic than “Moms” kitchen, everyone is welcomed, if not encouraged, to participate in the Male Centric Kitchen. 

Simple and clean, open and inviting, the exclusion of all things extraneous best describes the Male Centric Kitchen.  A kitchen without boundaries or barriers, a kitchen free from conventional thought and restrictions, a kitchen created to reflect the individual.


The Male Centric Kitchen, in its new domestic role, finds itself reflecting a family style based on the sharing of traditional roles and function.  The living area embraces the kitchen as a multifunctional arena, were food is prepared, people talk, guests are entertained and the last email of the day is read and responded too…a space where the day begins and the party always ends.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

COOKING AT TWICE THE SPEED OF GAS

With today's modern kitchen consuming as much as 40% of all household energy, energy conscious homeowners will truly appreciate the earth-friendly Renaissance 36" and 30" Induction Cooktops by DACORUsing 90% of the energy they generate for cooking, induction outperforms both standard electric and gas cooktops in both speed and energy conservation, thus making induction the fastest and most energy efficient form of cooking on the planet today.

The Renaissance Induction Cooktop is the perfect blend of sophisticated styling, advanced engineering and quality craftsmanship. The Renaissance Induction Cooktop uses electromagnetic energy to stimulate iron molecules in the cookware to heat the cooking vessel. Each induction element, hidden below the ceramic-glass surface, heats pots and pans quickly and consistently with precise control.


The SenseTech™ Induction Technology automatically detects the presence and size of your cookware and matches energy transference with no residual heat loss, keeping cookware handles and the kitchen cooler. Unlike traditional cooking surfaces that heat up and stay hot long after the meal has been prepared, the glass-ceramic surface quickly cools down once the pot or pan has been removed or turned off.



The Renaissance Induction Cooktop by DACOR is the perfect choice for the modern, energy efficient kitchen.  Designed and manufactured in California, the 36” Induction cooktop with 5 cooking zones and the 4 zone 30” model areavailable in black ceramic glass (as shown with optional Raised Ventilation).  The Renaissance Induction Cooktops are available through authorized Dacor retailers nationwide.

Founded in 1965, the California based DACOR, is a family owned and operated US manufacturer of luxury kitchen appliances.  Dedicated to quality, craftsmanship and innovation, DACOR has integrated fashion, function and technology to create unique kitchen products that are built to reflect the lifestyle and needs of the homeowner.  Never one to follow, Dacor continues to push the boundaries of cooking technology, challenging old norms, blazing new trails and setting new benchmarks.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dacor at Dwell on Design

Dwell on Design (DOD) 2013, the "uber" home and lifestyle show held each June at the Los Angeles Convention Center has come and gone.  Although I did not have the opportunity to attend this year, due to personal reasons, I had the honor and privilege to design and specify the booth for DACOR, the California based luxury appliance manufacturer.

The creative brief set out by DACOR was simple and to the point.  The 20 x 30 display area would be divided into two distinct kitchen environments representing the “yin and yang” of the DACOR production selection with a focus on their latest innovations and product offerings.

Innovation has been the foundation of Dacor since the early 60’s when founder, Stan Joseph, created the first self-contained ventilation system for the home kitchen.  This was followed by the revolutionary in-door barbeque, only to be topped by the first 30” wall oven, which now has become an industry standard.

Not one to rest on the laurels and triumphs of others, Steve Joseph, grandson of Stan and current President of DACOR, wanted to break with tradition and showcase DACOR’s new products in a kitchen setting so people could truly see the appliances in a real life setting.  Steve wanted a contemporary presentation that would reflect the DWELL on DESIGN theme of “Living in the Modern World”. 

The space was divided into two 15 x 20 spaces, one to feature the up-market, Discovery Collection and the other, the value-centric Distinctive Collection.  Instead of using kitchen cabinetry, we decided to create a kitchen landscape to use as a backdrop for the appliances.  The focus was to be on the appliances and not on the cabinetry itself.  So we created fronts only with no working doors or drawers.  For the Discovery side we selected a dark walnut Formica with a Formica Carrara marble counter.  For the Distinctive we selected the Formica Sol Yellow (3209) with a soft Wheat countertop.

Celebrity Chef and TV host, Brian Malarkey performed at a special presentation for members of the press and the A+D community.  So for the Discovery side we created the feel of a large, affluent kitchen with island.  The island would act as center stage for Brian to perform his culinary magic, so we included a live, 36” Renaissance Induction cCooktop.  The island included a 30” Renaissance Warming Drawer and 30” Discovery Micro-wave Drawer.  On the back wall to the right, we included the new Discovery IQ wall-oven with integrated Android tablet operating system that can be operated remotely from a smart-phone or tablet.  To the left we showcased the Discovery 48” French Door Refrigerator, as well as a built-in Discovery WineStation with under-counter wine storage.  The center-piece was a 48” Discovery Dual-Fuel Range with 48” Discovery Decorative Hood.

On the Distinctive side we created a loft-style kitchen with island.  This presentation featured the new Renaissance Induction Range with touch-controls and flush handle, giving the range a clean and contemporary look and feel.  To the left we displayed the 36” Renaissance French Door, Stainless Steel Refrigerator with Ice + Water in the Door.  On the right we included a stacked combination of Microwave, Single Oven and Warming Drawer.  On the Island we selected the Renaissance 30” Induction Cooktop with integrated Renaissance Raised-Vent element.

From all reports and feedback, it appears that DACOR at Dwell on Design was a huge success and that the product and presentation was well received by all.  To experience Dacor at Dwell, please visit the DACOR Face book page for additional photos and videos or check out dacor.com regarding the all the products mentioned above

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SO COOL, IT'S HAUTE...THE NEW INDUCTION RANGE BY DACOR



Imagine a range without boundaries or barriers, an environment free from conventional thought and restrictions, a range created to reflect the needs and lifestyle of today’s modern homeowner.   Dacor, the luxury appliance manufacturer, based in Southern California, has broken all the rules with the introduction of the Renaissance 30” Induction Range, which brings design and high technology together in a seamless ballet of form and function.  

Only Dacor could combine a state-of-the-art induction cooking surface, the fastest, safest and most efficient form of cooking, with the epicurean experience of a Four-Part Pure Convection™ Oven, add a glass touch-control panel with your choice of handles and you have a stainless steel range that will reflect your style and taste.

The Renaissance 30” Induction Range is the perfect blend of sophisticated styling, advanced engineering and quality craftsmanship.  The Induction Range uses electromagnetic energy to stimulate iron molecules to heat the cooking vessel itself.  Unlike traditional cooking surfaces that heat up and stay hot long after the meal has been prepared, the glass-ceramic surface of the Induction element stays cool to the touch as it is unaffected by the magnetic field.  Each induction element, hidden below the ceramic-glass surface, heats pots and pans quickly and consistently with precise control.

In addition, the induction range comes standard with Dacor’s exclusive Four-Part Pure Convection™ System.  The convection element, baffle, fan, and filter allow home chefs to cook with hot-air for even and consistent cooking without hotspots while allowing you to cook multiple dishes without flavor transfer.

If all of the above wasn't enough, Dacor allows you to personalize your range by selecting one of two handle options, the professional Epicure® stainless steel handle, or the proprietary Flush (as shown) stainless steel handle, which gives the range a clean contemporary look.

For almost 50 years, Dacor, three generations, family owned and operated, has been  responsible for many of the innovations that have changed the way we live and cook in the modern kitchen,