I had a classic moment of "design envy" exactly one year ago. The locale was Williamstown, Mass., the room was the kitchen, and the specific venue was not some high-tech, ultra-contemporary millennial residence befitting the nearby Mass Museum of Contemporary Art, but rather the historic Shaker village just outside the town's environs. The Shakers' extraordinarily functional kitchen exhibited all manner of green technology centuries before that term even existed: a gravity-fed water supply, hydroelectric power generation, high thermal mass for efficient heat distribution. All of that was eye-opening to be sure, but what really got me was the excellent workflow layout in the kitchen. The Shakers were a communal tribe, so the kitchen was a place of unceasing activity. No wonder they had the bright idea to integrate multiple water zones (for prep, cooking, and cleaning) into this veritable food factory. So it's about time that a major player like Dornbracht came around to the concept. This German company recently passed the 60-year mark, thus confirming their stellar reputation as "the market leader for high-quality bathroom fittings and accessories."
Cleaning Water Zone. Designed by Dornbracht.
The quality shows in the recent addition of distinct Water Units to the Water Zone line. Each unit features fittings and basins in precision-welded, 1.5-millimeter-thick stainless steel-a choice that's the quintessence of exceptional durability and a streamlined aesthetic. The line is organized around the idea of varied requirements for varied functions. Thus, the cleaning station unit features a double basin and double mixers-the first with a large sprinkler fitting and narrow and deep basin; the other with a two-hole mixer and wide strainer-activation basin for rinsing. The prep zone is equipped with a large radius sprinkler style mixer and double basins, one deep and one ultra-shallow to allow for the array of water depths required for rinse and prep. The cooking station is a single deep basin with Dornbracht's Tara articulated ultra pot filler mixer. And the drinking zone is a simple bar style sink with a compact tap to draw water and fill carafes.
Dornbracht also offers variants on the above. So if-like most of us mere mortals-you're not equipped to equip your kitchen with four separate units for four separate zones, you can use a hybrid approach like the Universal unit that features a double basin with the Tara ultra pillar mixer, providing a wide radius and enough clearance to immerse veggies for cleaning or to easily fill up pasta pots.
Though the Shakers seem to have thought about this highly-functional kitchen arrangement long before the space had a lexicon all its own, it took the experience and innovation of Dornbracht to bring it to the new millennium and-if you're among the lucky ones-to your own kitchen.