The kitchen can be a veritable hotbed of technology. From the first labour-saving appliances, such as the washing machine, to more recent interactive devices, such as fridges that contact you when you’re running out of milk, we are always looking for ways to make day-to-day life more efficient. With this in mind, Electrolux has developed its new design concept, the ‘Heart of the Home’ – a futuristic kitchen table combined with a cooking surface.
Unveiled earlier this month, the key feature of the appliance is its adaptability: its surface physically changes to suit your cooking preferences and its hi-tech interactivity has it offering ideas to boost your culinary expertise.
If you’re a beans-on-toast kind of chef, you can get inspiration for dinner by simply placing a bunch of ingredients on the surface. The appliance analyses them and suggests a few recipes. Pick one that you fancy, then mark out the cooking area with your hand and press down the malleable surface to create a ‘pan’. When the surface is the right size and shape, you can set the correct temperature and timings with the touch of a finger.
Because it combines the functions of table and oven – and even has a small sink area – it takes up a lot less space in the home than separate appliances. This makes it perfect for city flats or social kitchens that are a magnet to friends and family. The recipe suggestions will help eliminate food waste, and the lack of pots and pans will reduce the amount of washing up, saving water and detergents.
However, you’ll still have to wash your plates, and of course clean the surface of the appliance. The malleable surface also sounds like it might be prone to accidents if you accidentally lean on the wrong area and morph the shape of your ‘pan’ while it’s in use. And it might not be ideal if you want to cook but your child needs to use the table to do their homework.
So will this really be the way we do things in the future? Given that more people now live in cities than in rural areas, and the number of urbanites is expected to rise to 74 per cent of the population by 2050, streamlined and multifunction appliances will certainly make the most of limited space. Flexibility is key and this idea certainly ticks those boxes, as well as being a talking point and fun to use.
As a design concept, it’s a beauty, but there is no launch date and no price tag so who knows whether or not it will become part of our lives. But it’s a fabulous idea and one that can give us all hope that one day we’ll be able to spontaneously whip up something delicious from the contents of the cupboard when unexpected guests pop round for dinner.
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