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15 April 2011

DESIGN VIEW: Built-in ovens

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Apr John McLauchlan senior product manager Neff
John McLauchlan senior product manager at Neff takes a look at the trends in built-in ovens...

For washing, cooling and dishwashers, integration is a natural transition from freestanding to built-in.

Integration creates a smooth finish and keeps everything in the kitchen streamlined. In these three product categories, there is no doubt that integration is a logical choice for the design-conscious.  

However, when it comes to cooking, there is one big difference: the oven has to be accessible. On a practical level, it does not make sense for it to be concealed from view. On an aesthetic level, you lose the main design element of the kitchen if you hide the oven away.

In any kitchen installation, it is the cooking appliances that are the instant attraction. In fact, with the increasing popularity of full integration, the cooking appliances often remain the only ones in full view.  

That's why the choices of oven, hob and hood models are considered to be the most crucial appliance decisions to be made in any kitchen design.

Handle-less designs have been seen across many furniture ranges over the past year and some might say this should follow through into the oven arena. However, if you remove oven handles, you make them less conspicuous and you end up taking away another of the main design elements. It is just not practical for everyday cooking.

Everyone likes a new kitchen 'gadget' and there are always new ideas coming to the fore. Gadgets only work if they can offer significant benefits to the end user.  

With our 'SlideAway' door oven, for example, we tried to combine beauty and brains in one focal appliance, without compromising on design or practicality.
Design coordination is a significant trend in this market and so-called 'banking' of several cooking appliances, where ovens can be built in horizontally or vertically in any combination, provides innumerable options to suit any kitchen.  

The wide availability of specialist cooking appliances, such as steam ovens, coffee machines and warming drawers, also offers a great sales opportunity to significantly increase the overall appliance count.

Displaying a variety of cooking appliances in a showroom environment is vital for this. By showing various configurations and possibilities - preferably with 'live' illumination - it will be easier to entice the customer to trade up and/or extend the number of cooking options.

For the future, we do not envisage any radical changes in oven design. The introduction of new design trends should always be balanced against practicality, safety and simple user convenience.

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