Italian design studio Tipic has created Tulèr – a smart kitchen countertop that integrates various interactive functions including a scale, induction cooking and a sink that appears out of the surface with a simple gesture.
Unveiled at Eurocucina in April 2016, the bi-annual kitchen event at the Salone del Mobile furniture show in Milan, the Tulèr kitchen (for Offmat) features a counter made from a quartz composite that has a number of technologies built into the stone.
Conceived as a laboratory-like work bench, the counter includes a sink with a base that sits flush with the top when not in use to make it seem like part of the surface. A motion sensor is embedded under the surface of the stone, and is activated by waving a hand over it. This triggers the base to lower via a piston mechanism and the tap to activate automatically. Further gestures can be used to control the temperature and flow of the water.
“We thought about a basin that could be flat, that you can work on, and then with sensors inside the marble or quartz, with a simple gesture of your hand like magic the top opens and you have a sink,… So you have not to touch anything, it’s very clean, it’s very natural, and it’s something a bit new but with existing technology.”
– Tipic co-founder Tommaso Corà.
Also embedded into the worktop is a kitchen scale that uses pressure sensors to weigh ingredients. This is visible as an area of the stone surface with a ring of light around it – the light turns blue and then red in increments to show weights of up to two kilograms. The designers hope to connect this device to a recipe app in later versions, to replicate ingredient measurements to the gram.
A smaller circle indicates a wireless charging station for a phone or tablet.
The wiring and computer systems required to make each sensor work and generate a response are concealed within the counter, which is supported on slim metal trestle-style legs, and a column underneath the sink also provides drainage.
The design is intended to be a glimpse of the future of what the kitchen could be. Tipic sought to push the boundaries of what we know as a standard kitchen but not to the point where it became alien or unnatural.
Two working prototypes of the Tulèr kitchen were on display at Eurocucina from 12 to 17 April, and the brand plans to make the designs available commercially before the end of 2016.
Tulèr was created for Offmat, a new kitchen research brand launched by Tipic and communications agency Display for marble and stone company Marmo Arredo, which also owns the Quartzforms company in Germany.