Concealed extraction

15 Jun, 17

Philippa Turrell looks at hidden extraction and finds its making its mark across refurbishment and newbuild projects

The market for ‘hidden’ extraction has historically had a small percentage of kitchen spend because it literally has been a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. But that has all changed, as focal extraction has given way to more subtle extraction from under-cupboard to flush-fitting ceiling and downdraft models. Vicky Harris, the director of KitchenEX which imports Faber hoods, comments: “The demand for hidden extractors has been consistently high.” Sales and marketing manager for Westin Ann Onions comments: “Sales have overtaken focus models. Concealed extraction is 60% against focus hoods at 40%.”

The open-plan kitchen has been responsible for driving the trend for more subtle extraction which avoids blocking sight lines across a blurred cooking/socialising space. In particular, it has been the adoption of islands that has spurred concealed extraction as the furniture blends seamlessly across the kitchen and living room ‘divide’. Ann Onions of Westin points out: “The kitchen trends continue to be minimalist that with more open plan living space kitchens and the popularity of islands means concealed extraction is more suitable.”

Contract built-under

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But what is the most popular type of concealed extraction that designers should consider? Seemingly it is depending on the kitchen project, with the contract market opting to include the extraction in the furniture. Product manager for Caple Luke Shipway explains: “Cabinetry can run smoothly from the kitchen into the dining and living area without an obvious kitchen look. So, appliances will be integrated and that includes built-under extraction. House builders are also very keen on this look for a sleek, minimalist finish in the kitchen.” And the marketing director at Franke Fiona Bowyer agrees: “The contract market is very strong at the moment, with investment homes driving a lot of inner city development of apartments for buy -to-let rentals, or second home getaways. These can often have compact kitchens, which makes concealed extraction in wall cabinets an ideal solution for providing the functionality and streamlined looks desired in contemporary living.” And she believes it will continue to be a popular choice as it’s supported by global mega trends. Bowyer states: “We know from our own research that there is a global trend towards urbanisation, so I think that concealed extraction presents a growing market opportunity.”

Downdraft popularity

“Downdraft extractors, in particular, are proving popular for consumers with smaller kitchens who are looking to create a crisp, streamline look”, explains the sales director of Gorenje UK Stuart Benson. And Vicky Harris of KitchenEx agrees: “One of the most consistently popular concealed extractors is still the traditional downdraft hood, which moves up and down into the worktop.” In fact, such has been the growth of interest in downdraft extraction technology, manufacturers have integrated them into induction hobs as a one-stop cooking solution. Bora, Elica and Caple have all brought the combined induction hob and downdraft to market. And most recently they have been joined by Miele and the BSH Group across its Neff, Bosch and Siemens brands. So does this mean there’s no longer a requirement for a separate downdraft extractor? Vicky Harris says not. She comments: “We have feedback that consumers are still wary of the novelty of induction hob/hood combinations and prefer the higher extraction power and hob lighting that downdrafts like Faber’s Fabula can offer.”

Ceiling extraction

And joining the popularity of downdraft extraction has been a move towards using flush-fitting, ceiling models . Vicky Harris points out: “In the last year, we have seen the demand for hidden ceiling extraction sky rocket.” And this demand has been mirrored in the sales at Westin, as Ann Onions explains: “The most popular style is the Stratus ceiling built-in hoods and our fastest-growing model is the Stratus Air, which is painted white to match most ceiling, fits flush into the ceiling and has no lights so is virtually invisible.” In fact the less is more approach to ceiling extraction has been developing over the past couple of years. “There has been an increased demand for ceiling units without lights to enable a pattern of lights in the ceiling to be uninterrupted and as ceiling hoods are not needed for hob task lighting, there is no need for them to have lights.”

Now, with the latest technological developments in ceiling extraction design, more consumers than ever can adopt the use of this extraction in their kitchen. Vicky Harris explains Faber has developed its Heaven 2.0 model with a smaller motor “which addresses installation issues caused by constricted space behind the ceiling.” She exclaims: “The new slim-fit motor has been a successful addition to the Faber catalogue and allows more customers to choose concealed ceiling mounted extractors than ever before.”

Reducing noise

But it’s not simply the look of the extractor which has been refined to suit the needs of the open-plan kitchen. The mechanics of the appliance have been a focus for manufacturers. Not only have they worked on the extraction performance of the hood, to avoid steam, odours and moisture passing throughout the open-plan living space, in an energy efficient manner, but also looked at reducing the noise of operation. Since the kitchen is now part of the overall living space used for socialising and working, manufacturers and designers are keen not to punctuate the atmosphere with undue noise. Fiona Bowyer explains “the remit of all manufacturers is to refine the functionality of extraction to suit the mores of interior design and the desires of the modern consumer. Given we increasingly live in open place spaces, I think perhaps the most important point is curbing noise and our answer to this was to introduce a dedicated Greenline standard for hoods featuring brushless motors which not only reduce noise, but also offer an 85% energy saving compared to standard motors.”

Manufacturers have also looked to the use of perimeter extraction as a way of reducing decibel levels in the kitchen. So much so, Stuart Benson comments it is one of the most significant topics in extraction: “Smart, targeted air extraction with less noise is the biggest development and current focus in concealed extraction technology. In Gorenje products the perimetric aspiration system (PAS), is the perfect example of this. PAS directs its extraction power to the edges, which reduces energy consumption and noise at the same time. As a result, air extraction is considerably quieter and more efficient.” While product manager of Caple, Luke Shipway points out how the location of the motor can make a difference to noise levels. “Extraction motors are being positioned further away from hoods and downdrafts, for example, to limit sound levels even further.”

But, of course, the greatest importance is that the cooker hood performs to meet the required needs and expectation of the consumer. So rather than looking at advancements in technology for reducing energy or even the potential growth of Wi-Fi appliances, which can be controlled by a phone, Ann Onions states: “Connectability and energy usage are unimportant whereas extraction rates and ducting will affect the in-situ performance.” See Expert View.

Secure sales

Undoubtedly, there will always be a market for the décor hood, forming a centrepiece to a kitchen scheme. And in fact, there may be some situations when only a large-scale hood with wide catchment will suffice in gathering and expelling all the steam and odours. Consider a high performance hob top, with a consumer interested in all the culinary techniques associated with powerful wok burners.

However, the market for concealed extraction will remain strong. Luke Shipway confirms: “The market will continue to rise as more people realise the benefits of having an open-plan kitchen with sleek lines and a minimalist finish.” So cast your eye over the array of concealed extraction from under-cupboard to downdraft and flush-fitting ceiling hoods to ensure air movement is not seen or heard!


Sales and marketing manager for Westin Ann Onions says designers need to better understand factors affecting extraction

The key consideration for designers, as you would expect, is style and aesthetics and they tend to overlook whether the extraction needs to perform well. However, a beautifully-designed kitchen can be ruined if it is always full of fumes! Many designers use the size of a room to calculate the required extraction rate, which is useful. But a room could be the size of the Albert Hall with an induction hob and a family that don’t cook much and that extraction rate would not be needed. A much smaller kitchen with a range cooker and family that enjoy cooking steaks, stir fries and curries would need a much higher extraction rate than the room size determined.

There are other factors to consider when calculating extraction rates which include the size of the duct, the length of the duct run and the number of bends in the duct run. Some designers look at the extraction rate on the model and see 800m3/h and assume that will be the performance in that kitchen. But a long duct run with four bends will considerably reduce that extraction rate and it may not be sufficient.

The style of the hood will also affect how well it works in terms of removing fumes. If someone’s powerful cooker is being used for serious culinary endeavours then a large volume of fumes will be generated. Regardless of how powerful the motor is, these fumes need space to wait in before they can be ducted out. So, a large catchment area is needed to ensure all the fumes are extracted. Concealed extractors may not have sufficient space, so a larger hood may be needed in a different style, in order to ensure efficient performance.

Kitchen designers are required to be knowledgeable in so many aspects of the room specification, including appliances. So, when it comes to extraction, Westin is here as a specialist to offer an optimum solution for an individual’s kitchen.