June 14, 2006 When world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid was asked to design a kitchen by DuPont and Ernestomeda for the Milan Furniture Fair, the chances were that it would be very special, but it’s hard to imagine how delighted DuPont must have been with the result, which not only showcases the company’s remarkable design material Corian to perfection, but has just gone on display in the Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of a special exhibition celebrating Hadid's equally remarkable worldwide projects. The exquisite Z. Island is equipped with numerous futuristic features such as embedded heating membranes, touch control panels, sound activators and scent dispensers, LED lighting and a multimedia entertainment system, including a flat screen and an Apple Macintosh Mini for serving iTunes. Such has been the interest in the kitchen that Ernestomeda is now offering the kitchen as a special, on- request production. Be sure to see the images in the extensive photo gallery.
The innovative kitchen, in which Hadid and her design team partnered with DuPont and Ernestomeda, shows the extraordinary possibilities of DuPont Corian solid surfaces that are characteristic of Hadid's spatial designs. The project, originally developed in Europe, was a collaborative effort between the Italian kitchen brand, Ernestomeda; built-in home appliance manufacturer, Scholtes; and science-based materials, products and technologies company DuPont.
Hadid's kitchen concept was made a reality through the unique attributes of Corian, specifically the material's versatility and formability. The Z. Island by DuPont Corian, made entirely of Corian, includes two separate island units: "Fire" (the cooking area) and "Water" (the washing area). In addition, a modular cabinet-wall system (the storage unit) also made of Corian, complements the two islands.
"The Z. Island by DuPont Corian is an example of how Corian can be used in any environment in conjunction with other materials," said Mark Vergnano, vice president and general manager - DuPont Building Innovations. "It exemplifies great design and function. For DuPont, the main goal of the design was to show the capability of Corian to offer innovation, functionality and superior aesthetics and design while meeting the new possibilities offered by advanced technical solutions.
"The extraordinary design of this kitchen is characteristic of Zaha Hadid, who is renowned for her ability to break down barriers and push the boundaries in design," Vergnano added. "Thanks to her vision, we were able to create a kitchen that morphs advanced technologies, design techniques and the human senses."
The Z. Island is a marriage of aesthetics and function that provides a specific example of how Corian continuously allows designers to fulfill their artistic visions without compromise. Made in Corian Glacier White, it is equipped with a special heating membrane; interactive technology features, such as touch control panels, sound activators and scent dispensers; LED lighting; and a multimedia entertainment system, including an iPod and flat screen.
DuPont, a leader in science-based materials and technologies, is at the forefront of design and innovation. Initially, Corian was visible as a flat surface, targeting mostly kitchen and bathroom applications. Then, it was bent, molded and shaped, attracting interest and attention of some top creative minds, becoming a highly specified material of the design world. Later, the capability of Corian to mix with many other materials was emphasized and, over time, lesser-known properties of Corian, such as translucency, were highlighted. Recently, as illustrated by Hadid's kitchen, Corian has been combined with information technology and other modern hi- tech systems.
On the main island’s top surface all cooking functions are inscribed plus a series of electronic features creating a futuristic outlook on what a kitchen might be in the 21st century. The table integrates nearly 2000 LEDs which are programmable by the user showing any information that might be required, from a cooking timer to assist with the food preparation, through to the seating order.
Three aromatic scent dispensers are also incorporated into the kitchen and these can be programmed to dispense different scents at different times, to create different ambiences as required. All of the functions of the kitchen are controlled from a central point via a user-friendly touch panel. The overall environment can be adjusted through light and sound to suit the user’s needs.
A specially-developed heating membrane is invisibly integrated in the Corian surface and allows for keeping the food warm over an extended period of time.
The food is prepared on an induction cooking hob that is also flush with the neighbouring surface.
A flat LCD screen is integrated into the main island’s vertical surface enabling the user to use the internet or watch the news while having breakfast.
A mini mac is integrated underneath the LCD screen in order to allow for listening to I-tunes and any other required computing function.
All cladding was manufactured from Glacier White Corian by Hasenkopf of Germany. The thermoformable properties as well as translucency and endurance were key factors in choosing Corian surface material. The vacuum forming techniques allow for manufacturing geometrically demanding surfaces and also to build them with very low tolerances. The material’s solid nature strengthens its endurance in a highly functional and hygienic context.
Corian also has an extensive colour palette, being available in over 120 colours, from neutral hues to intense tones, coupled with its ability to be thermoformed, backlit, routed, carved, sandblasted, etched or dye-sublimated. Pricing varies based upon complexity, color and project location. Corian carries NSF/ANSI 51 certification for food contact and Class 1 fire rating.