Modern taps look a little like something from a sci-fi film. Or at least like they belong in a professional kitchen. By separating water outlets from their controls, completely new ideas are being opened up in kitchen design.
Modern technology has always been quickly taken up as a key part of the kitchen. As early as the 1950s, the electric cooker and refrigerator were widely finding their way into private homes. They were followed in the 1970s by the dishwasher, then the extractor hood and, finally, it was the turn of the induction hob and the steamer to conquer the modern kitchen. Today, they have been joined by other innovative inventions that make all kitchen chores and the preparation of meals easier: height-adjustable island units, optimally lit working zones, hidden sound systems, quiet dishwashers, sparkling or boiling water from the kitchen tap. Manufacturers of kitchen taps have now given further thought to optimising the wide range of demands placed on kitchen sinks.
As the linchpin of the kitchen, every handle or knob on a sink should be easy to use. Two new operating concepts for taps are now available that facilitate the daily kitchen routine by separating the tap and controls and moving the latter to the front rim of the sink. This makes operation significantly easier and more intuitive and offers added value to all users regardless of age, height or any physical disability. The second variant involves kitchen taps that can be operated at the touch of a button directly on the spout. A large button on the front of the fittings starts and stops the flow of water from the multi-jet kitchen tap. With both operating variants, the water controls also work using the back of the hand or the elbow – if the user is holding a pan in both hands or has dirty fingers, for example. There is no need for electrical connections or additional devices under the sink, because the operation of the new tap technology is purely mechanical.
The user is barely aware of the highly complex technology behind the boost in convenience; it is operated using very simple functions such as “on” or “off” and “warm” or “cold”. By tilting and turning the ergonomic rotating levers, the desired water temperature and water quantity can be set precisely. Once preset, the tap can then be started and stopped intuitively all day long at the push of a button on the spout. This allows the tap to be operated comfortably from the front while performing a task.
As well as increasing convenience, kitchen designers are also optimising hygiene at the sink workstation using ergonomic fittings. Smooth surfaces and optimised operating levers and buttons or knobs with flat operating elements mean weak points or contact surfaces allowing access to bacteria are minimised. Together with the appropriate choice of materials for the kitchen sink, such as stainless steel or ceramic, the sink workstation is now optimally protected against bacterial hazards. Even if there are only a few kitchen taps with touchless functions available at the moment, this technology – familiar from public conveniences – will increasingly be found in private homes.
But there are also new accessories for underneath the kitchen sink that provide greater comfort. Taps with a pull-out spout make work in the kitchen much more flexible. hansgrohe is launching innovative accessories with the new sBox for pull-out taps. It stores the hose for the pull-out tap in a flat box that fits inside standard base units. This is designed to exclude the risk of colliding with drawers or waste systems, but it also ensures that work at the sink is comfortable, easy and quiet. What’s more, the pull-out hose integrated in the hansgrohe sBox extends further. It has an operating radius that is up to 26 centimetres larger than non-sBox pull-out models. This makes it easy to fill pots and other large containers without having to place them in the sink.
The new generation of taps enhance the kitchen sink. Touch taps with water that flows at the press of a button or touch-free models and hybrid taps that can be operated both manually and without contact have increasing appeal in the kitchen and simplify work considerably. Separating the water outlet from its control opens up the way for completely new ideas in kitchen planning. Less contact with dirty hands also reduces bacterial adhesion. And these innovations give the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink a tidy new look.