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It was only a generation or two ago the kitchen’s role within a home was primarily defined as functional – a utilitarian space hidden from view dedicated to the preparation of food and little else. Today, kitchens flourish as an extension of our living areas, hearth and heart of our homes, and where friends and family are most apt to be found congregating and mingling before, during, and after mealtime daily. If home is where the heart is, it’s most often located somewhere in the vicinity of the kitchen…a domestic home base increasingly expected to balance aesthetic impression with dependable function.
So it’s no longer enough to pick out the requisite premium kitchen appliances and cabinetry in planning the ideal kitchen. Discerning home owners, in partnership with kitchen/interior designers, now envision the kitchen holistically just as any other room within the home, demanding functional, aesthetic, hygienic, and ultimately livable spaces integrating the tangible and intangible to match their lifestyles and personal preferences – a goal coined as “Livable Design”.
Whereas web-connected smart appliances receive much of the fanfare in shaping the kitchens of the future, in reality the most interesting technological advances within the communal space can be hiding in plain sight. For example: Germany-based BLANCO, a kitchen technology manufacturer, offers an innovative and patented hydrophobic granite composite kitchen sink known as SILGRANIT®, an example of every day innovation – not “everyday”, but every day, as in a product that reveals its advancements with daily use.
“But what’s so exciting about a kitchen sink?”
To appreciate the advancements delivered by SILGRANIT® one needs to stop and consider the demands of the average kitchen sink during daily use: sharp edged utensils tossed with abandon, hot pots and pans delivered straight from the stove to await washing later, and the myriad of liquids and foods capable of leaving their marks in and around the sink. Oh, and it all has to look fantastic when not in use.
Where traditional stone or metal kitchen sinks show the wear and tear of daily use quickly, BLANCO’s combination of tightly molded quartz combined with a mixture of other proprietary ingredients results in their near-impenetrable SILGRANIT®, a material capable of surviving unexpected accidents, as illustrated by the dramatic gravitational example of metal meeting sink shown above. Blemishes simply rub away with a minimum of effort, stains are never given the opportunity to leave their mark.
SILGRANIT®‘s uniform, non-porous, and stain resistant surface also makes it a hygienic solution, easy to clean, and scientifically proven to keep it so. The Institut BioChem was commissioned to independently test the properties of SILGRANIT®’s Hygienic Plus hygienic protection formula.
Lab-testing verified SILGRANIT®’s ability to inhibit the proliferation of bacteria, offering a 100% food-safe surface. The secret lies twofold: first within the material’s water-repellent nature – a dry surface is an unwelcome environment for bacteria – in unison with BLANCO’s patented surface formula, resulting in reducing the growth of “hygienically relevant bacteria by up to 98%”.
BLANCO product manager Eric Gundersen also emphasizes some of their product’s innovations reveal themselves only under the harshest moments of duress: “The maximum temperature an average oven or range reaches is about 500 degrees. A cast iron skillet will really start smoking around 500 degrees as well. So we wanted to test this capacity with SILGRANIT®. If you grabbed a burning pan or pot – and dropped it in a sink – would the sink be able to take it? We literally put flames on the sink and discovered we couldn’t burn it. We want customers to feel confident that a burning pan will be ok, so SILGRANIT® is rated for a heat tolerance of up to 536 degrees Fahrenheit”.
Beyond SILGRANIT®‘s technical merits, kitchen design professionals like Gloria Graham Sollecito of Artful Kitchens and Cheryl Kees Clendenon of In Detail Interiors, praised the material for its flexibility aesthetically, as well as its functionally within a modern kitchen.
“It does not look as industrial as stainless, nor Old World like fire clay, offering 30 shapes and 8 color to choose from. THIS is flexibility and is key to my approach to design. No cookie cutter looks for me, so I need products that can morph according to my needs,” says Clendenon.
“Versatility is very important, so I like a product that gives you many choices that allow you to create a personalized statement every time. SILGRANIT® sinks are practically indestructible and you can accessorize them to get the most out of a small space,” chimes in Sollecito.
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Performance, durability, and safety aren’t always primary motivations while sourcing a kitchen sink, but invisibly and dependably, innovative materials like BLANCO SILGRANIT® fulfill aesthetic expectations of the kitchen of today while also delivering a myriad of versatility of functionality appreciable with every passing use. With all of the talk of smart home technology, it may prove the smartest innovations within the kitchen may not be web-enabled, but ones engineered to passively serve our most important and basic of everyday tasks exemplifying livable design.
For more information on BLANCO’s products, visit blancoamerica.com.