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Z-island

In line with a series of studies emphasising the concept of fluidity, observed in the melting of ice and the flow of glaciers, the Z-island comprises a main cooking island a secondary island and a background wall of panels. A futuristic outlook on what a kitchen might be in the 21st century.

Zaha Hadid, known around the world for her dramatic architectural projects, has now turned her visionary approach to the kitchen. The futuristic “Z. Island by DuPont™ Corian®” creates an “intelligent” environment that responds to the desires of the senses, while meeting a variety of conventional and innovative functional kitchen needs. The project envelops multimedia equipment, sound actuators and LEDs within a flowing shell of Corian® – the original solid surface from DuPont – enabling users to surf the internet, listen to music or create a particular ambience by means of a centralized touch-control panel.

The “Z. Island by DuPont™ Corian®” installation is unveiled at a special event during 2006 Milan Design Week (at Officine Stendhal, via Stendhal 35, Milan, open to the public from April 5 to 10), organised by DuPont, in cooperation with high quality kitchen producer Ernestomeda and with Scholtès built-in appliances.

“Z. Island by DuPont™ Corian®” consists of:
– two free-standing island units, one devoted to the functions associated with “fire” in the kitchen and the other with those associated with “water”;
– a wall modular cabinet system (complementing the two islands) providing space for storage and appliances;
– a wall cladding system incorporating special equipment with advanced sound and light diffusion capabilities;
– an impressive bench of over 5 metres long and a stunning reception desk).
All the above elements are made with Corian® have been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

“Fire” and “Water” Island Units
In each of the island designs, beneath the surface of Corian® is an innovative framework of units designed by kitchen specialist Ernestomeda. Relishing the challenge of helping to develop the project, Ernestomeda contributed its invaluable knowledge of the kitchen market and the latest technological and manufacturing solutions. In doing so, it has managed to translate the design vision conceived by Zaha Hadid into a kitchen that – even with its complex shapes and futuristic look – will be functional and usable once fully engineered. (Ernestomeda plans to turn this kitchen concept into a special production in the future).

“Z. Island by DuPont™ Corian®” also incorporates built-in appliances from the new “Attitude” line by Scholtès. Designed by David Lewis, “Attitude” helps to re-invent the kitchen environment by combining space-saving with superior reliability and attention to detail. Included in the kitchen are an oven with side door, an induction hob and a dishwasher. The most immediately distinctive feature of the line – its 45 degree control panel – helps make the working surfaces safer and the control functions more accessible. The uniformity of the steel, its marriage with glass and the pleasant feel of the soft touch elements give a sense of continuity, which in turn enhances the aesthetic excellence that is born of the perfect co-ordination of every element within the kitchen ambiance.
Zaha Hadid is renowned for her ability to break down barriers in design, creating fluid, seamless landscapes that morph from one function to another. For this reason, DuPont™ Corian® was an obvious choice of material for the designer when it came to creating a kitchen. Visually seamless when joined, Corian® can be formed into almost any shape, effortlessly incorporating modern functional elements. In addition, the material’s translucency allows light to be diffused through its surface, enabling Hadid to create the light functions of the kitchen.
“Our starting point for this kitchen was a series of formal studies on the conceptual terms of ‘fluidity’ and ‘seamlessness’. These arose from our previous designs in Corian® (the ‘Ice-Series’) that were triggered by the observation of natural phenomena such as the melting of ice or the flow of glaciers and their moraines.” explains Zaha Hadid.

“By applying advanced 3D software to our experiments with Corian®, we were able to explore complex surfaces and their productivity for domestic environments. A major benefit of this design language is that you can create something that not only appears continuous, but also blends in seamlessly with the ergonomic needs of a kitchen island,” adds Zaha Hadid.

By using Corian®, Zaha Hadid has been able to create an innovative kitchen concept that offers diverse functions within a small space. For example, the main island unit evolves from a horizontal cooking and eating surface continuously into a vertical digital surface, encompassing an LCD screen for TV or computer use and an iPod® to provide music.

The central cooking area also includes a innovative heating plate that will keep food warm over a period of time. This heating plate exploits the thermal qualities of Corian®, and has been created by “sandwiching” Thermosiv™ non-metallic heating fabric between two thin pieces of Corian®. The main island is also the location for a touch control panel, incorporating nearly 2,000 LEDs, that allows the user to control the kitchen’s many functions.

In contrast to the elongated “fire” island, the smaller “water” island is a compact, hexagonal shape, into which a sink, drying rack, dishwasher, food preparation area and shelving are neatly incorporated. Both islands have been created with ergonomic considerations in mind.

Wall systems: multifunctionality and sensoriality

The two islands are complemented by a stunning wall unit which is also going to be a special production of Ernestomeda. This is a modular cabinet system adopting doors in Corian® and aluminium structures, which provides space for storage and appliances. The doors in Corian® features an elevation of wavy morphological shapes, within a series of squares that have been rotated in different directions to create complex patterns. Continuing from the wall cabinets is another wall cladding system, incorporating powerful acoustic actuators and advanced RGB LEDs, which allows the user to control and change the ambience with music and animated lighting. This system is also made from Corian®, in alternating squares of thermoformed and flat surfaces. The panelling is supported by a patented aluminium wall framing system engineered by Listone Giordano®.

The acoustic system, coming from FeONIC, has been specifically designed for applications where loudspeakers are not suitable, and features special actuators attached to the back of the panels. These actuators transform the Corian® panels into extraordinary sources of sound and music. Providing the panels’ light capabilities, specialist VLM has developed a customised LED system, featuring an RGB module controlled by a sequencer, which allows a timed sequence of coloured lights to be filtered through the material.

Taking this sensory theme a stage further, scent diffusion technologies by Oikos Fragrances are incorporated into the main kitchen island and throughout the kitchen environment. Featuring a proprietary technology, these systems can be programmed to dispense a personalised selection of scents into the kitchen, altering the room’s ambience to complement the time of day or occasion.

Project Details

Design By: Zaha Hadid

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