Aug 26 2020

Hidden technology: an almost invisible solution for lift-up flaps

The less space technology takes up in furniture, the more storage space is ultimately available for the user. With the new Kinvaro T-Slim flap-lift mechanism, GRASS has now developed a thin fitting that provides just that: almost invisible technology that creates maximum space.

Overhead wall cabinets with lift-up fronts are usually storage solutions positioned at the ideal ergonomic height. They are within direct reach and offer comfortable access. It’s not for no reason that they are now among the most common types of storage. Equally suitable for the kitchen, bathroom, office, living room or bedroom, they can hold everything that is needed regularly but should not be visible at first glance. 

When less is more

It all comes down to one thing in fittings: reduction. Fittings today should be effective, strong, secure but also thin. The technology and the mechanism may be paramount, but they should leave nothing to be desired visually. Flap-lift solutions have developed rapidly over the last few years. Technological progress has kept on moving the boundaries.

Until recently it would have been unimaginable for a strong flap-lift system to be completely integrated into the side wall of an overhead wall cabinet. But why is it so important for a flap-lift system to be inconspicuous? The answer is simple: Overhead wall cabinets are mounted at eye level. And who wants to look at dominant technical components, especially when what really matters is the contents of the cabinets and their design? 

The new Kinvaro T-Slim flap-lift system seeks to remain invisible. The engineers wanted to reduce the size of the complex mechanism of the lift-up fitting to 12 millimetres overall. The fitting now blends almost unnoticeably into the furniture, which opens up new possibilities for overhead wall cabinets and caters for a current trend. Horizontal storage solutions with lift-up flaps are currently experiencing a renaissance. 

“We have been a furniture industry pioneer for over 70 years,” says Harald Küper, Flap Lift Mechanism Product Manager at GRASS. “With Kinvaro T-Slim, we’re adding a new chapter to our innovation history. After the first-ever concealed hinge and the invention of the double-wall drawer, we have now developed a new dimension of invisibility with Kinvaro T-Slim.”

“If less is more, then maybe nothing is everything.” These words by architect Rem Koolhaas were the seed of inspiration behind Kinvaro T-Slim. © Grass

A movement system that allows the design to take the spotlight 

The challenge quickly became clear during the fitting’s development: When furniture is installed at eye level, every technical feature is immediately obvious. To avoid detracting from the furniture’s appearance, the fitting must be so thin that it allows the design to take the spotlight.

With an overall size of 12 millimetres, the lift-up fitting is the thinnest currently available. It gives furniture designers greater flexibility in their work than ever before for one simple reason: With a minimum side wall thickness of 16 millimetres, anything becomes possible. Wood or MDF can be used as the material, but the fitting is equally suitable for use with glass front flaps combined with aluminium frames.

“The best movement mechanisms distinguish themselves by the fact that they give precedence to the design of the furniture they have been fitted to,” says Harald Klüh, Global Brand Manager at GRASS. Alongside the clear aesthetic benefits, the reduction in size has a further advantage: As the flap lift-up system requires very little space, optimal use can be made of the available storage room.

Concealed technology

The joints of the flap lift-up mechanism are made from nickel-plated steel. When in motion, the five-part jointed hinge arm reveals all the technology concealed inside it: The cabinet front is easy to move, and the closing movement is gentle thanks to the soft-close technology, a feature for greater comfort that is especially important in overhead wall cabinets.

The flap has an opening angle of 107 degrees, meaning it opens well beyond the user’s area of movement, so it can stay open without being in the way. For overhead wall cabinets fitted immediately below the ceiling, an opening-angle limiting stay is included as standard. This stops the front from lifting too high. Tipmatic can be integrated to create handle-free cabinet versions.

GRASS provides several fitting options for its latest product: Kinvaro T-Slim can be either inset or overlaid and screwed on, which is the standard option in the industry. The two-part covering cap can be fitted and removed without any tools. This allows adjustments to be made to the flap-lift system even after it has been installed if necessary. It is easily attached to the front with a clip. The spring tension is fully adjustable and can be calibrated from the front.

This harnessing of technology and mechanics has produced a new flap lift-up solution that is set to enhance the design of overhead wall cabinets for years to come. Blending almost imperceptibly into the side wall of the carcass, the fitting allows the design to take precedence, opening up new possibilities.

Author: Bernadette Trepte

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