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2000s Archive

The Future Has Landed

Originally Published June 2006
An innovative Italian design firm runs circles around the notion that kitchens need to get bigger in order to get better

With appliances that you can turn on remotely using your cellphone, televisions showing up on the front of refrigerators and microwaves, and trash bins that open as you approach them, kitchen innovations are hardly in short supply these days. But the Sheer ball kitchen puts an entirely new spin on things. The island, or bottom hemisphere, and the wall unit are both made of carbon fiber, a material developed for use in Formula 1 race cars. The kitchen’s Italian design team, Dragdesign, says that not only is carbon fiber four times stronger than stainless steel, it’s also five times lighter. Weight is a particularly important consideration for the company, since the point is for customers to have the option of taking the entire kitchen with them when they move.

The island houses four electric infrared burners—one topped with a removable lavastone (cooking food on a lava-stone is touted for its health properties, since it requires no added fats). Just around the bend is a double sink—the right side can be covered with a removable dish drainer, and to the left there’s a removable cutting board. The hemispheric hood provides light for the island work surface and is equipped with an exhaust fan. But all you neatniks and minimalists out there will be more excited by the fact that with the simple push of a button, the top hemisphere can be lowered to completely enclose the work space.

The wall unit—which is designed to serve as a room divider or be positioned against a wall—provides a sleek solution for the placement of appliances. One end has space for a standard-size oven and dishwasher, the other for a refrigerator. (All appliances are sold separately.) An automatic screen slides down over the front of the unit and can in fact be used as a television screen.

The Florida-based company I moderni is handling the kitchen’s launch in the U.S. Look for it at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair taking place at New York City’s Javits Center from May 20 to 23 (or visit www.sheer.it). In Europe, the average price of a kitchen with accessories is 30,000 euros (U.S. pricing is still being determined); in other words, this cutting-edge capsule doesn’t come cheap. But -remember, you can take it with you.