04 October 2011

Game changing innovation from London

I saw more amazing things at the London Design Festival than I ever imagined I would. Being part of the first ever Blog Tour was a gift that keeps on giving, that's for sure. The London Design Festival is a nine-day, city-wide celebration of design and art with more than 280 scheduled events. One of the larger events this year was 100% Design.

Of the many venues we visited, 100% Design was by far my favorite. While I can get excited about furniture and textiles, after a while they all start to bleed into one another. I guess I'm a kitchen and bath guy at heart after all. 100% Design had the perfect mix of sofas and counters, draperies and flooring. I saw a lot of cool stuff and one thing in particular really blew me away.

The following images are from Pyrolave UK and they are photos of a kitchen designed by my friend Johnny Grey.

Notice anything unusual? That counter has an induction cooktop integrated into it. Pyrolave made from glazed, volcanic stone and it's the only material that can allow the electromagnetic energy of an induction coil pass through it without any loss of efficiency. There's no need for a typical glass cooking surface and being able to pop in an induction coil just about anywhere is an incredibly freeing thing from a design perspective. It's also a great opportunity to use induction outside of the kitchen. Imagine an induction-enabled sideboard or dining table. The mind reels.

Pyrolave UK had a booth at 100% Design and I was playing around with one of these induction-enabled cooktops while I was there. It was nothing short of amazing.

It's genius really and it makes perfect sense. Induction technology begs for innovation and I love that Pryolave has stepped up to the plate and delivered such a great idea. Induction-enabled Pyrolave counters aren't crossing the Atlantic any time soon unfortunately, but when they do get here I'll be the one applauding loudest.

100% Design was the 7th trade event I'd attended outside of the US in the last ten months. I'm getting on a plane for another one in Toronto in a few hours and my seeing innovations such as Pyrolave's induction counters have proved what I've long suspected. The US no longer leads the world in innovation. There. I said it. Much of the innovations I've seen this year will never make it to our market here and if they do, they'll be a dumbed down version of the original.

I hate to be one of those Americans who travels abroad and makes endless comparisons to life here as opposed to there. But the innovation thing is as obvious as it is troubling. How and when did that happen? What would it take to turn that around? These are some of the things I think about during long plane rides.

Anyhow, how about this induction idea? If you're a designer, how could you see this figuring into a design? If you're a homeowner, would you ever spring for a put-it-anywhere induction cooker?


  1. Love the sleek look of Pyrolave! Wish it was a more affordable option. The induction under Pyrolave is the perfect solution for those small NYC kitchens that you don't want to encroach into your living space.

    Your probably right, though. By the time it makes it to the US, it'll have been bastardized in some way.

  2. I agree on all counts. There have to be other materials this will work with. Counter people and appliance people, why not work on this one?

  3. Spectacular awesomeness. That is all.

  4. My wife saw these on a trip to her cousin's place in Switzerland a few years back and I thought she was going to make me go over and try to get one. I told her we'd wait until they came here.

  5. Mind blown. This is amazing.

  6. Okay, don't want to be the party-pooper and swing us to the boring and practical - but is there some way to indicate that the surface is "on" or hot? Thinking about kids in the kitchen or frazzled, multi-tasking adults. Please excuse my ignorance - don't know much about countertops.

    Love the look!

  7. Induction cooktops don't get hot, that's the beauty of them. Only the pot or pan heats up and the heat transfer back to the surface underneath is negligible.

  8. I missed this but then again, I was not as experienced a trade show attendee as you. I will be more organized next time!! This is a very cool innovation - figuratively and literally - just LOVE it!!

  9. Actually Stacy, Bob and I just stumbled upon it. He wanted to eat and I couldn't quit talking to the Pyrolave guys. It was pretty funny and pretty typical. I freak out over appliances and he freaks out over surfaces.

  10. Great post Paul. Pyrolave is certainly for those with deeper pockets but it is fantastic!


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