As someone who lives and breathes industrial design, my team and I keep a close eye on design trends on a daily basis. Some might call it obsessive, but for us, these trends are pivotal when it comes to helping homeowners enjoy life in the kitchen—from the food you share and the memories you make, to the products you rely on to deliver these experiences. Today, I’m excited to share with you how some of 2017’s biggest design trends inspired the design of some of our Bosch appliances this year.
How Trends Influence the Product
Just as you would with a recipe or a kitchen remodel, the very first question our Bosch design team asks when designing an appliance is “what is the goal?” I know that sounds incredibly simple, but it’s really the lynchpin of everything we do.
Think about it this way. With a recipe, the goal is to create a particular dish. With a kitchen remodel the goal is to not only create a space to cook that particular dish, but also to design a room where you love to spend your free time. When it comes to product design, the goal is to design an appliance that not only delivers time after time and will match your kitchen design for years to come, but also enhances the emotional experience of spending time in your kitchen.
So if longevity is so important, it might seem counterintuitive that we look to design trends to develop our products. Why? Well, “trends,” like the built-in banquets with slipcovered foam cushions in the 1980’s, to the floral wall paper of the 1990’s and even last year’s color of the year, are inherently fleeting. Just like in fashion, where everything old is new again, it is true that some trends see a resurgence. However, our job as industrial designers is to isolate what is behind the trend and how that information can improve Bosch products so that they continue to provide a purposeful value to homeowners.
What does this look like? A few examples can be seen in two exciting Bosch developments from 2017—our new dishwasher line and our Home Connect products.
More Than Just a Kitchen
The Design Trend: You’ve likely heard of open-concept home design. Influential throughout both new builds and remodels, this design option physically opens living spaces to create a harmonious flow between rooms—and the activities that happen within those rooms. This design choice has given way to the natural progression of another trend, which is an evolution of the kitchen as more than just a space to cook. Whether it’s a gathering place for family and friends or a joint living space in which the kids do their homework, families are spending more time in the kitchen, even when they’re not cooking.
The Design Trend, Realized: When designing for an open-concept space, interior designers merge the once separate spaces through a series of purposeful design choices. Most commonly, this is achieved through the use of color and natural materials being used throughout the entire home to create cohesion. But, it’s important that your appliances follow suit, too, as they are such an integral part of the kitchen.
At Bosch, we’ve long considered the kitchen the heart of the home, but this trend opened our eyes to other elements—and that’s when our design team got to work. Spending more time in your kitchen means that your appliances need to work hard for you without disruption. We designed the Bosch dishwasher to be one of the quietest dishwashers on the market so that your most important conversations are not interrupted by noisy appliances.
Another factor to consider with open-concept layouts is clutter. Let’s face it. While enjoying a glass of wine with friends around your kitchen island, the last thing you want to see is a sink full of dirty dishes. However, finding a place in your dishwasher for every bowl, utensil or glass can sometimes be a challenge. Thinking about the use of an open-concept kitchen, the new MyWay Rack was designed to increase space and the functionality of your dishwasher so that spending more time in the kitchen doesn’t mean more dishwasher loads. As well, you can declutter your kitchen by opting for appliances that install flush for a seamless aesthetic, such as Bosch wall ovens.
The Design Trend: It’s no surprise that the other major trend we’ve seen in 2017 is the integration of technology within home products. However, increased technology doesn’t necessarily mean more screen time. Instead, the focus is on creating intuitive ecosystems that help make life that much easier by being able to control many of the functions of your appliances from one central source. The underlying trend here is that these connected ecosystems are using technology to enhance human interaction, not disrupt it.
The Design Trend, Realized: Recognizing that technology will continue to play a bigger role in the home, our industrial design team couldn’t be more excited about our Bosch Home Connect products. We want Bosch owners to complete every day home activities—from making a cup of coffee to starting the oven or washing machine—without having to step away from meaningful conversations.
Take for example one of the most common activities at the end of a dinner party—finishing a meal with a cup of coffee. When I have friends and family over, brewing a pot of coffee has always been someone’s designated job, but the Bosch Home Connect Coffee Machine essentially eliminates that job. Via the Home Connect App, your guests can choose customized cups of coffee from the CoffeePlaylist feature so everyone can enjoy their perfect cup of coffee.
The same thought process went into the Bosch Connected oven, dishwasher and laundry products – your appliances stay one step ahead so you can be in two places at once. Imagine being able to preheat your oven from the other room. Or, not having to worry if you have dishwasher detergent because your smart dishwasher sensed you were running low and automatically ordered more detergent for you. How about checking the status of your laundry without even stepping into the laundry room? The Home Connect platform is just one way that Bosch appliances lets you enjoy every day household activities with less disruption.
Trends are one of the considerations we look to when creating products, but at the core of our design process is the consumer—so we want to hear from you! What design trends are you looking forward to incorporating into your home in 2018? Keep us updated on your home design journey by leaving a comment below.