Available in both kitchen and smaller bar/prep models, Delta's Allora kitchen model balances form and function. It features a pull-down wand that switches from stream to spray with the click of a button. Photography by Delta.
The challenge, according to Judd Lord, industrial design manager for Delta Faucet Co., is blending new minimalist trends with the demand for better functionality and low-flow or hands-free options. "There's only so many ways you can recreate a tube," says Lord. "We're really trying to touch those intangibles. How do people use faucets? How does it sound when the water hits the bottom of the sink? We look at all of that."
"You have wonderful designs that you find in bathrooms all over. While visually stimulating, once you bring them over to the kitchen you have obvious performance issues to handle," says Kohler's Les Petch, product manager for kitchen faucets. "And from a practical standpoint, if you have an intricate faucet it becomes difficult to clean and maintain in the kitchen."
The green movement has been equally vexing from a design standpoint. In bathrooms, designing an elaborate system is not a major problem because you can wash your hands and brush your
|A quarter turn controls filtered water with Kohler's Karafe. Photography by Kohler.|
The minimalist European influence has firmly entrenched itself into both companies' design portfolios. Both are on the look out for the proverbial next big thing. "We have a dedicated design group that keeps their eyes on contemporary versus traditional styles. The minimalist, Scandinavian look has been prevalent on the European market for years," says Lord.
Step-in-step with these developments, Petch notes a more eclectic product selection in kitchens in particular, with consumers blending contemporary and traditional products. Stainless steel blended with Tuscan influences, or deep farmhouse sinks paired with high-arc, low-flow faucets are the norm. Figuring out how people mix-and-match and why is "perplexing," Lord says.Other Perks
Both Petch and Lord agree conditioned, or filtered, water is big. "In part, maybe, because people are using more bottled water and are becoming more aware of the impact of the environment of all these billions of plastic bottles. We are definitely seeing demand for filtration systems that blend in with the design aesthetic," says Petch.
"For a lot of markets, there's a feeling of 'been there, done that.' So we'll see what the next big thing is," says Lord. In looking out for the next hot trend, however, manufacturers will continue the battle against consumer and industry demands on their products.