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By Alice Lesch Kelly
Even the sharpest looking kitchen appliance will quickly lose its appeal if it doesn’t make life at home easier. Just looking good is not enough.
When it comes to groundbreaking and stylish kitchen design, chances are products from Scandinavia or even Japan come to mind first. But these days, some of the most exciting kitchen innovations are coming from New Zealand, where pioneering designers are reinventing appliances based on how modern families cook and live.
One of the leaders of New Zealand kitchen design is Fisher & Paykel, which has been challenging assumptions about conventional appliance design since 1934. With a commitment to innovation and a passion for smart design, Fisher & Paykel has revolutionized the way appliances are created.
Before making a new product, Fisher & Paykel designers spend extensive amounts of time inside homes, watching how families interact with their kitchens and their appliances.
“We are curious about people—how they live, where they live, what they do, and how they use things,” says Daniel Witten-Hannah, Fisher & Paykel’s vice president of product development.
For example, after observing families using standard dishwashers and noticing their preference for drawers over cabinets, Fisher & Paykel designers envisioned and then created a drawer-style dishwasher that was completely different from any in the world. The DishDrawer Dishwasher is an attractive, compact, efficient, and ergonomically intelligent alternative to standard bend-and-load dishwashers. “Our design breakthrough came when we stopped looking at dishwashers and began spending time in real homes, studying people using their appliances,” says Mark Elmore, head of design at Fisher & Paykel.
A similar approach inspired the creation of the CoolDrawer multi-temperature drawer-based refrigerator, which provides five different temperature settings: fridge, freezer, chill, pantry, and wine mode. The CoolDrawer uses innovative refrigeration technology that continuously adjusts the flow of cold air based on daily use and ambient temperature, ensuring optimal cooling throughout the refrigerator.
And it still has a sleek design that accentuates any kitchen style.
A new oven, from scratch
While spending time with families in their kitchens, designers learned that people wanted an oven with more internal cooking space than standard ovens offered. But customers were not eager to sacrifice cooking quality and efficiency to get more space. That’s how Fisher & Paykel came to create its popular, award-winning, which typifies New Zealand design.
“Rather than tweaking the existing design of our ovens to work a little better, we started at the beginning,” says Lauren Palmer, chief designer. “As we recorded insights into how people cooked, we thought of ways that we could solve each problem. Our aim was to perfect each part, then put these innovations together to create the best possible oven.”
Consumers also wanted an oven door that stayed cool and was easy to maneuver. By incorporating a cool-touch feature with an innovative venting system and using lightweight construction materials, designers created an oven door that can be opened and closed easily and safely with just one hand. And knowing that customers wanted an intuitive control panel that made all of the oven’s functions simple to use, designers created an interface that clearly explains what each function does.
“We intentionally avoided touch screen-style interfaces with complex programming,” Palmer says. “We knew customers wanted perfect results whether they were cooking pastry or rotisserie chicken, so we’ve exhaustively tested each function to ensure consistent, ideal cooking.”
Substance plus style
Aesthetics and quality are as important as innovative functionality in New Zealand kitchen design. Consumers around the world choose appliances designed in New Zealand not only for their performance, but for their clean lines, modern simplicity, and emphasis on craftsmanship.
Fisher & Paykel appliance designers use the best available materials for every part of every product, including high-quality metals and glass. Every detail is thoughtfully considered, from the weight of an appliance dial to layout of control panels.
When today’s consumers purchase kitchen appliances, they want the whole package: gorgeous style, smart design, and innovative functionality. To find all these qualities in one appliance, look no further than New Zealand, where collaboration between design engineers and customers is reinventing the world of kitchen design.
Whitten-Hannah says Fisher & Paykel takes a logical approach to all of its decisions. It watches ordinary consumers in action, and learns from their habits. “By understanding our customers—the way people use kitchens and appliances, how they cook and eat—we have discovered insights that have made us rethink how to design appliances.”
Sponsored by Fisher & Paykel
Give your kitchen the same great style as the rest of your home
Kitchens are more than the place to cook. Appliances like drawer-style dishwashers lend ingenuity and modern style.
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