Real objects of furniture, today hoods offer a large variety of solutions to be integrated in any kind of kitchen in the best way. And if outside they are refined, inside they are technological jewels which allow to achieve high performance
by Elena Corti
Sophisticated processing, original design and advanced technologies characterize the latest generation of hoods, representing for the channel of architects and the kitchen showrooms a quality choice to meet the wishes of demanding customers, who look in this appliance style, attention to detail and performance. There are many innovations in the hood sector, as well as there are many innovations in the kitchen environment. Latest products reveal the important research work carried out by producers in the choice of materials, and in the aesthetic and technology areas. The evolution in design transformed the hood from a simple service appliance to a real piece of furniture that fits harmoniously into every kitchen thanks to the wide variety of solutions available, such as wall-mounted hoods, island, ceiling, built-in in the cabinets or integrated into the hob.
The variety of styles joins which of types: from vertical and inclined models with clean lines, enhanced by the purity of glass and stainless steel, to products characterized by particular shapes and wide color ranges, from chandelier devices that also become light points to hoods that dress in shimmering glass to embellish the environment, becoming protagonists of the kitchen. These models are made of fine materials and craftsmanship, which make the appliance a sophisticated object, able to give character to the place where it is installed.
Manufacturers have been able to create a compromise between aesthetics and technology, creating beautiful but also high performant products and easy to use, able to furnish and simultaneously ensure a healthy environment. From a technological point of view, hoods can work with sucking or filtering system: in the latter case, the appliance not only sucks the air but also filters it and diffuses it purified into the environment. Among the latest innovations there is the perimeter aspiration, which forces fumes, vapors and odors from the hob to go through suction zones placed along the perimeter of the hood. This solution is effective and allows at the same time to hide the filters, creating a pleasant aesthetic effects.
On average, the suction speed can be adjusted in 3-4 levels, to which the intensive mode is added that increases the speed of extraction when the vapors are particularly intense. Among the most interesting features that the latest generation of hoods can offer, there is also the post-cooking function that allows the delayed shutdown of the motor so that residual odors, once the user has finished cooking, are completely removed. In addition, hood can perform a continuous exchange of air in the kitchen, automatically activating the minimum speed for a few minutes every hour, so that the air is always fresh and pleasant. Another useful solution is the filters saturation indicator, through which a special indicator signals when the filters have to be replaced or cleaned.
Generally, the most advanced hoods are handled with very intuitive touch controls, allowing the user to manage the product in a fast and practical way: many models allow to control the appliance also via remote control or with a downloadable application on the smartphone. The high functionality of hoods, finally, is ensured by quality components: not only the filters to block odors and grease, that can be washed in the dishwasher, but also high efficiency engines that provide excellent capture capacity, reduced noise, and for several models, energy consumption in A or A+ classes. Much hoods, then, use Led lights that have the advantage of being efficient, ensuring long life and provide a good distribution of light on the work surface.
More and more connected with the hob
Technological innovation enabled hoods manufacturers to create cutting-edge products that allow to obtain a strong connection between hob and hood for more effective results. In the connected home, the Internet of Things allows to make the hob dialogue with the hood, which automatically adjusts the suction power according to the kind of cooking that is made on the hob and the amount of emitted vapors, ensuring the optimal air conditions in the kitchen.
Moreover, several manufacturers offer a hob with an integrated suction system: so there is no distance between the two appliances also ensuring the minimum encumbrance. The downdraft models, then, equipped with automated movement, allow the hood to emerge from the worktop if its activation is necessary. If not needed, the hood “disappears” within the worktop itself.
Thanks to this solution, it is possible to have more space when the kitchen is designed, while offering the end user an advanced tool to ensure the air quality.
Design and technology: what is the predominant element?
Companies that produce hoods experiment very much both on the aesthetic side and on technologies aspects. But is aesthetics now a prevalent factor in the decision of purchase a hood?
«Design continues to be the first element in the product choice – says Evelyn Passanante, head of retail Italy at Baraldi – however increasingly new technologies complemented it by making a hood a sophisticated object. We think that these two aspects cannot be separated: the new products we have realized have very elegant and refined shapes, but they would not be really appreciated if there were not new technological contents». Consumers are demanding regarding the appliances performance and companies have invested in research activities in order to obtain high technological value products, but able to have character and style.
«Design has become a more and more important factor for the success of industrial products and, consequently, of the manufacturing companies, affecting the quality of the home environment and the daily life – Emanuele Canavari, marketing manager of Sirius, explains -. The realization of a kitchen hood is, however, for us a creative process based not only on design, but on a synthesis of instrumental factors (such as engineering, technology, materials and aesthetics), that have the aim to propose solutions able to meet the user’s needs and desires. Our goal is to create functional items with a cultural value: simple objects, understandable, easy to use, which do not follow the trend of the moment, but that have the ambition to last over time. To create a hierarchy of importance within these factors is not possible in our way of thinking, as they are all fundamental aspects that we try to care even in the smallest details.»
There is no doubt, however, that the growing attention of producers for hoods style has been determinant in making evolve these products from simple functional tools to objects with a pleasant aesthetics as to make them become real stars of the kitchen. «Today thinking of designing a hood without taking into account aesthetics would be really paradoxical – Serena Sorana, marketing manager at Faber states -. New trends in interior decor have significantly modified the role of the hood and its engineering, transforming this appliance in the heart of the house and not only of the kitchen. With this evolution hood becomes the central point of the home, the main actor that establishes the style. Keeping in mind these premises, there is a tendency to create more and more aesthetically interesting and innovative appliances: the goal of Faber is that of being able to reconcile this consumer need with a very refined products in terms of quality. Especially with our latest proposals, we have focused on innovative models for design, choice of materials and technologies. Just think of Nautilus, amazing diffuser that with a thickness of only 15 cm allows to the hoods that integrate it to achieve the A energy class. A significant result considering that we are talking about products that, with the old technologies, would only have reached the C class. The small size of Nautilus facilitates its use especially in vertical hoods, which can show a design characterized by surfaces perfectly perpendicular to the hob. In our opinion, it is necessary to succeed in making technology and design evolve in parallel: we cannot have an aesthetically perfect hood but with performance to forget. In particular, at Faber we have always distinguish ourselves for the innovations of our technologies, advanced and able to meet the consumers’ needs. Besides Talìka, which embodies just the evolution of this union between aesthetics and functionality, two representative models are Ilma and Luft: they are an expression of high design and of an unprecedented technology which is Steam Off System».
«Design is the perfect compromise between aesthetics and technology – Elica explains – as a distinguishing factor, as a key driver for innovation and competitiveness strategy. Design intended as “designated”, giving the products a meaning, a purpose, a mission. Hoods and the appliances in general are becoming more and more objects of furniture in our homes, so that design plays a central role. The search of Elica always addresses to continuous functional and technological innovation, and the aim of design will be to ‘tame’ this technology and combine it with the aesthetic emotion.»
The great variety of products that manufacturers make available allows operators of the sector, as architects and kitchen retailers, to offer customers countless variations to choose for harmonizing hood with the rest of the furniture. «Design is one of the main selection driver of a hood and perhaps represents the first decisive factor in addressing the consumer choice – says Patrizia Serioli, product manager at Miele -. There are basically two ways to handle this need: to integrate the hood so that it “disappears” inside the kitchen, which then maintains the exclusive of design, or to highlight the hood design harmonizing it with that of the surrounding environment. For each of the two choices, however, consumers do not take into account all those models that cannot meet this demand of attention to aesthetics. However, we must also say that it is technology that allows a real differentiation of the offer and an evolution of the extraction concept in terms of energy efficiency and ease of use.»
The aesthetic refinement, then, becomes also a distinctive element for those companies that make of Made-in-Italy one of their flagship to compete in foreign markets. «Design in kitchen hoods really matters very much – says Giovanni Kalogerakis, export manager at Smalvic -. An appliance of this kind has been freed from its role of ” service tool” just thanks to design, up to become a piece of furniture in the kitchen environment. Performance in terms of suction and low noise are undoubtedly important, and therefore the applied technology is fundamental, but aesthetics in recent times, especially in some markets, is leading …».
«Design in cooker hoods is essential – declares Marco Guerzoni, product manager at Glem Gas -. It is the strength with the higher incidence, because hood comes to have a central role in furnishing the kitchen, characterizing the environment. Technology is surely very important, but design is the dominant aspect in this kind of appliance». The aesthetic factor is essential especially in those models of hoods focused on the style and elegance of the workmanship.
«Design has an added value only for models that are separated from the furniture (for example ceiling hoods) – Paolo Mainardi, brand manager at Fulgor Milano comments, in turn – otherwise it is technology that differentiates products.»