Silent kitchen appliances, hobs operated from an iPad and intuitive showers - all on display at kbb London, last month’s kitchen, bedroom and bathroom event. Grahame Morrison, editor of kbb News, highlights five interior trends

Smart appliances

The iPod generation is influencing both the design and function of appliances. French appliance company De Dietrich has just introduced the world’s first totally zoneless induction hob that enables a pan or pans to be placed anywhere on its surface and be individually controlled via a touchpad similar to a smartphone screen.

Gorenje Appliances has a unique iChef+ oven module with a large colour display that allows selection of the functions simply by sliding your finger across the screen or remotely, using an iPad. The main menu is the gateway to the cooking programme menu: from SIMPLEbake, AUTObake, MYbake, EXTRA and PRObake to STEPbake, a unique and patented feature, allowing you to set up to three cooking stages with different, fully customised settings.

White goods manufacturer Indesit, energy supplier npower and RLtec, the smart grid technology company have created fridges fitted with grid-balancing technology that could reduce UK CO2 emissions by two million tonnes a year.

The dynamic demand technology helps to maintain the balance between supply and demand across the national electricity grid. Up to 3,000 UK npower customers will be supplied with these appliances, free of charge, in the world’s first residential test of the technology.

Design on demand

Forbo Flooring, in association with digital printers Printed Space, is offering vinyl flooring that can display literally thousands of different images and designs using digital print technology. Illustrations, photos and maps can be printed with pin sharp clarity on Forbo’s vinyl. And for that extra personal touch, a client’s own illustration or quotation can be produced by Printed Space and put onto the flooring, which carries a 10-year guarantee. Prices start from £95/m2 and delivery takes between six and eight weeks.

Hi-tech bathrooms

The “hard” surfaces of bathrooms are increasingly taking on a softer, friendlier form, helped in part by alternatives to the traditional fireclay that allow for more precise contours and smooth lavish surfaces.

Recent developments by lighting control manufacturers Taptile, allows for lighting controls to be placed under tiles so that smooth lines in the bathroom are maintained. Surface decorations provide a visual clue as to where the lights (up to three circuits per system) are controlled.

Ideal Standard’s e-Vision, created by design house Artefakt, is for consumers with an eye for cutting-edge design and an interest in trendy technological applications in their bathroom. This latest innovation is an industry first: the intuitive, digital shower control system enables users to pre-program individual settings for personalised water flow, volume and temperature with a simple touch from their fingertips. Wash basin and bath controls are also available, and the range is expected to be launched in the UK in September 2011.

White is the new black

“Forget practical beige”, says Christopher Guy, founder of interior design specialists Christoper Guy, “minimal white in a wide spectrum of shades is set to be big this year whether it’s seen in fabrics or brilliantly shiny white furniture.”

With +ARTESIO, the result of a collaboration between architect Hadi Teherani and German kitchen company Poggenpohl, walls, floor and ceiling fuse with the kitchen, making the luxurious white furniture almost part of the fabric of the home itself. And several appliance manufacturers have made an about-turn from their headlong rush into stainless steel to produce “new” white ranges. Whirlpool Appliances’ Glamour Line kitchen range, for example, has just been extended to include new all-white additions. The visually striking white collection comprises an oven and hood fashioned from white glass, and white hob and a side-by-side fridge freezer.

Kitchen style living rooms

In many modern homes the kitchen as a room alone does not exist and it is part of the living space of the property. This means that, increasingly, kitchen furniture is setting the style of the main living area. Modern kitchen furniture manufactured by the German kitchen company SieMatic, for example, with its handle-less fronts and high gloss surfaces is equally at home when it is used as a media centre or living area storage, as it is in the kitchen space. Appliance manufacturers such as AEG are responding to this development by producing appliances (dishwashers in particular), that are not only frugal when it comes to water and energy consumption but can run quietly in an open living space so they do not disturb the after-dinner conversation.