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issue: February 2009 APPLIANCE Magazine

China Report
Designs for Chinese Kitchens

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Yaling Lee, managing editor

The winning kitchen appliances of the 2008 iF Design Awards China showcase how to answer local cooking needs.

The Fast Chill refrigerator from Electrolux Home Appliances China Company, Ltd. can reportedly achieve a cooling speed four times faster than usual, thus sealing in the freshness faster.

The 2008 iF Design Awards China marked the sixth year since iF International Forum Design GmbH started hosting the event for the Greater China area. Several appliances from local and global OEMs won the Household & Home category for features tailored for Chinese cooking habits, innovative technologies, and human factors design.

Design with a Local Flavor

Among the winners are three products in the Bright series of kitchen appliances from Electrolux Home Appliances China Company, Ltd. (Beijing; www.electrolux.com.cn). The Safe 2 gas cooktop, as its name suggests, incorporates a child-safe lock and a timer with two 4-kW burners that produce powerful flames—essential for stir-frying. The cooktop automatically shuts off gas supply and sounds an alarm if the flame blows out unexpectedly.

The firm’s Fast Chill refrigerator, which uses a dynamic cooling system that boosts heat transfer rate, can achieve a cooling speed reportedly four times faster than usual, and therefore locking in the freshness faster. One of its “intelligent modes,” which feature different cooling procedures and temperatures, is for hot soup, which is a regular dinner course in most Chinese households. No time to wait for the soup to cool down before putting it into the fridge? A drawer lined with stainless-steel alloy was designed just for that purpose—it withstands heat up to 80ºC. Similarly, the Power Boost
cooker hood has been designed with traditional oil-heavy Chinese cooking in mind. It can generate stronger suction for a short duration and features two filters with two layers to prevent oil drop.

Powerful suction is apparently a draw for cooker hoods used in Chinese kitchens. Three other winning cooker hoods from BS Home Appliances Sales Company, Ltd. (Nanjing, China; www.bsh-group.cn), all emphasize stellar suction performance. Its DKE178BTI model boasts an air velocity up to 970 m3/hr in 90 seconds.

Sacon Group Company, Ltd. (Shanghai, www.sacon.cn), won the award with its 108T gas cooker, the result of six years of research, the firm says. Two five-ring burners each provide a heat output of 5 kW, reportedly the most powerful household model in the Chinese market. Championing the slogan, “Cooking Authentic Chinese Food with Chinese Fire,” the firm says the unique ring design and its patented ignition technology make it possible to achieve much more powerful and evenly distributed flames. It has a vanadium titanium ceramic panel and enamel burner racks, as well as a timer that turns off the gas when time is up. A safety feature automatically shuts off gas when a spillage occurs. With a simple change of component, the gas cooker can work with natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, and manufactured gas.

Another gas cooker garnering the award was designed by Hangzhou Flyingfish Industrial Design Company, Ltd. (www.ffid.com.cn). Manufacturer Zhejiang Dandy Kitchen Utensil Company, Ltd. (Hangzhou, China; www.chinadandy.com), says its Junhui-series gas cooker uses simple lines and curves to achieve a streamlined minimalist look. The enamel burner racks are designed with textured surfaces to keep round-bottomed woks from sliding around. The 4-kW cooker is also equipped with a timer and automatic gas-shutoff function.

Using a proprietary U-shaped ultraviolet tube and the ozone and radiation methods, the sterilizing cupboard from Fotile is said to kill 100% of bacteria and germs.

Human Touch

Some winning products were singled out for their emphasis on human factors design. Zhongshan Vatti Gas Appliance Stock Company, Ltd. (Zhongshan, Guangdong, China; www.vatti-china.com) teamed up with Danish design firm CBD Group Corp. (Beijing; www.cbd-group.com/en), to produce V-series 10D
kitchen appliances, which include the hood, cooker, and sterilizing cupboard. The hood has an interface area slanted at an angle of 10º, so users don’t have to tilt their heads back as much to access the control. Moreover, the hood provides an attractive solution to the sticky problem of intractable grease buildup inside the cooker hood in Chinese kitchens. It is equipped with a unique autocleaning function, which involves a detergent tank and a small pump that sprays detergent on the fan when the autoclean button is pushed. The Teflon-coated fan blades can reportedly separate grease from the air and deposit it in removable cups for easy cleaning.

The award-winning Bosch compact-series cooker hood features powerful suction that meets the needs of Chinese-style cooking. The cooktop adopts Schott temper glass to ensure easy cleaning.

Innovative Sterilization

In Chinese households, where the use of dishwashers is rare, people rely mostly on sterilizing cupboards to dry and store dishes. In humid climates, those cupboards not only protect wooden chopsticks from getting moldy, but also keep utensils away from pests such as cockroaches and mice. The cupboard from Fotile Kitchenware Company, Ltd. (Ningbo, China; www.
fotile.com), won over the judges with a patented sterilization tube design. Fotile cites a scientific study that shows if the distance of ultraviolet radiation is more than 40 cm away from the point of radiation, the sterilization effect is greatly reduced. To address this problem, the company developed a U-shaped ultraviolet tube that runs along the top edges of the cupboard, making sure no area is more than 40 cm away from the light source. It employs both the ozone and radiation methods to kill 100% of bacteria and germs, while a negative ion sterilization system removes unpleasant smells. There is also a delay-start function (up to 99 hours).

Fotile has recently launched China’s first kitchen technology R&D center certified by the state. To earn the title as a state-level technology center requires strong financial standing, advanced in-house R&D and testing labs, proprietary core technologies, and a proven track record of innovation, the firm says. The 6000-m2 facility is worth 20 million RMB (approx. US$3 million) in total investment.


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