Future kitchen concepts – cooking up a storm in home design

oliver Furniture, Technology/ Energy Saving, Water saving

As technology plays an increasingly larger role in our everyday lives we thought we’d take a look at some of the weird and wonderful gadgets which are being designed for the kitchens of the future. The kitchen is fast becoming the centre of the home, being used for much more than just cooking. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place earlier this month in Las Vegas and gave us a wonderful insight into the future of our homes.

Whirlpool recently exhibited a range of concepts stating that ‘they innovate to bring simplicity to the lives of those using their products’. One of these concepts is the CoolVox fridge which aims to bring entertainment into your kitchen. Complete with Bluetooth technology the fridge allows you to play music directly from an app, but not only that, you can also download instructional ‘how to cook’ podcasts to be played directly through the refrigerator, simple! It’ll have you jiving round your kitchen in no thyme (sorry, couldn’t resist that)

It’s common practice in my home to put something in the fridge and then forget it about it, by the time we remember it again, it’s more than likely to have gone off. One of the finalists from last years Electrolux Design Lab competition designed a concept to transform the way in which we refrigerate and store food. ‘Impress‘ is a refrigeration wall which clearly holds your food and drink for you. By having these products visible you are less likely to forget about them, resulting in the decrease of food waste. Impress also does not refrigerate when there is nothing in it, saving on wasteful energy consumption. We like the hexagonal bee hive aesthetics too – most apt.

Food waste is something that occurs in almost every kitchen, but is there another way to use it if you dont compost? Philips have created this concept kitchen which powers itself with food leftovers. The central island has a cutting surface, a gas range and a bio-digester. The bacteria in the bio-digester feeds on waste such as vegetable trimmings to produce methane gas which in turn fuels the range and the lights and heats water. Any dehydrated residue can then be used as compost. The connected larder also includes a vegetable garden and a terracotta evaporative cooling unit providing a green alternative to refrigeration. They seem to have thought of everything – however the setting does look a little more sparse than most domestic kitchens.

But for a more realistic way to solving your food waste problems, check out lovefoodhatewaste.com for simple and practical solutions. Or how about these Vacuum food storage containers which are available in a wide variety of sizes. By removing the air out of the container, food is kept fresh for up to 5 times longer. Each container also has its own shelf to prevent food sitting in liquid and they all have a date indicator so you know exactly when you prepared it. Tests show that salads stayed fresh for 14 days, Strawberries stayed fresh for 21 days and raw meat for 9 days. Brilliant.

Another concept from the Electrolux design lab is The Snail designed by Peter Alwin. It is a portable heating and cooking device which uses magnetic induction processes. Due to its small size, the size of a snail, it can be attached directly on to a pot, saucepan or  a bowl in order to heat its contents. Inbuilt sensors even allow for The Snail to detect the food type being heated enabling it to automatically adjust the time and temperature, stopping items from burning. It’s not dissimilar to The Ribbon which we’ve mentioned previously.

But if cooking food by hand just isn’t for you, then you’ll be happy to hear that 3D food  printing could be the answer, take a look at these digital food printers. They allow you to invent unique foods whilst keeping track of nutritional values and keeping your carbon footprints down. Various concepts have been created, predicting digital gastronomy to become a part of our everyday lives.

The Mo’Sphere was another finalist in the 2012 Electrolux Design Lab competition. As with the digital food printers, the Mo’Sphere allows for creativity, interaction and excitement, but this time through the world of molecular cooking. Molecular cooking is something we associate perhaps with Heston Blumenthal and other celebrity chefs, but this concept brings it right into your home. It allows you to carry out flash freezing, and create foams, frosts and even candy floss. It’s like having your very own science lab in your kitchen- fun, cooking and geekdom all in one handy sphere!

Although Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand they are still a huge consumer of both water and energy. The Dualwash Bipartite Dishwasher is a concept which has completely reinvented your average dishwasher. The concept uses liquid Carbon Dioxide to clean your dishes and when there are stubborn particles the Carbon Dioxide transforms back to a gas and forces the stubborn particles into the filter. The concept dishwasher also acts as a cabinet so once it is loaded, the dishes are already put away- time saving, energy saving and a cool gadget too – just what we want from kitchens of the future.