14. May 2014
The future of kitchen design involves everything from smart appliances to sleek, minimalist form factors. But the cooktop remains the centerpiece of the kitchen. Now, drawing on both induction technology and glass-ceramic materials, designers have new opportunities at their fingertips to reimagine the look and feel of the traditional stovetop.
That’s exactly what Matthew Ortner, Industrial Design Manager at Viking, did in creating Viking’s new induction cooktops. We last spoke to Ortner about the future of kitchen design, and today we’re looking at the cooktops he developed as a concrete example of these trends playing out. Here’s Ortner on how the project was conceived and designed:
Could you describe how you settled on the color and look for Viking’s new induction cooktops?
We chose black glass for our standard electric cooktop, but we chose a very special finish for our induction cooktop. In the high-end kitchen market, induction is a more popular choice than electric. We used SCHOTT CERAN glass because it really gave us a different look than any of our competitors.
CERAN gives you a ton of options to give your product design touches you can’t achieve with other types of glass. The glass can be clear, and the backside of the glass is coated with a beautiful graphite metallic finish. The glass is 4 millimeters thick, and the top surface is coated with a semi-transparent graphic pattern. This creates an incredible depth to the glass that creates a very elegant look.
What’s new and exciting about this induction cooktop? How is this different from others on the market?
Our new design pushes past the traditional style to give the customer something truly unique. We incorporated EXCLUSIVE CoolLit LED lights to illuminate cooking zones, and element lights that indicate hot surfaces and active elements. There are blue, LED-powered light pipes around each induction burner. This separates us from all competitors, because there is nothing like this on the market.
CERAN glass gives Viking the option to mount lighting under the cooking surface without distorting or changing the brilliance of the lighting system below. We were able to create a sleek and minimal design that makes us stand out in the crowd.
Viking designed the cooktop trim to work on the gas, electric, and induction cooktop platforms and 30-inch and 36-inch sizes. The trim is a cantilevered design that gives the illusion that the cooktop is almost floating on your countertop. The trim is completely chrome-plated, which by its nature soaks in the colors and ambiance of the room, and gives the product a jewelry-like feel as it becomes one with the environment. The trim is a mix of zinc die-cast corner pieces attached by chrome-plated aluminum extrusions. The extrusion design makes it possible to accommodate different-sized cooktops with one tooled part.
What was the inspiration for the stove’s design? Does it draw on designs from other products or from other industries?
We looked at the design, the fit and finish, and the materials used in automobiles and cell phones as our inspiration. These markets are on the cutting edge of materials, colors, and finishes. We worked very hard to incorporate some of the same finishes and details into this cooktop line. For example, when you study the parting lines in automobiles and cell phones, you will notice how the molds seamlessly incorporate into one another so they go unnoticed and enhance the overall design. We took the same care with our cooktop frame to minimize seams and incorporate the parting lines so they become part of the design, rather than a distraction. Consumers will notice the cooktop’s overall architecture and structure has a similar feel and look to a high-end cell phone, but on a much larger scale.
What challenges or limitations, if any, did you have to overcome to achieve the design of the cooktop?
The series of gas, electric, and induction cooktops all needed to share design legacy and brand language. This can be difficult to achieve since each product uses a completely different cooking technology. Creating a design that’s sleek and minimal poses a challenge when you need the product to have attitude and style that separates itself from the sea of sameness in the cooktop market. By using a new chrome-plated frame system, CoolLit LED lighting, and our specialized cooking technologies, we were able to overcome these challenges.
Fueled by induction technology and made possible by glass-ceramic, Viking’s induction ranges sit on the cusp of a new era of cooking and kitchen design. Working with SCHOTT, Viking married the sleek forms championed by cars and phones with the promise of fast, efficient induction cooking to create a cooktop both functional and beautiful, a centerpiece of the kitchen of the future that’s possible today.