This morning I passed the Bulthaup showroom near Core77's offices, and saw something bizarre in the windows. It looked like a butcher-block table, except the top was not level; it was carved into precisely angled troughs. Nested within the troughs were randomly-located triangular blocks of steel. While I couldn't get a good cameraphone photo through the glass (the showroom was closed) I pulled the press image, above, when I got home. That's exactly what I saw.
So what the heck is it? Bulthaup, the premium kitchen manufacturer whose work we previously drooled over here, has released a redesigned drawer system based on those troughs and dividers.
I've tried to winnow their florid description of the system, which reads like a term paper, down to a more manageable description of how it works and what the design thinking was:The old systems made it necessary to store silverware, cooking utensils and other tools in right-angled containers—and to align working practices with these organizational structures, and not the other way around....
The new bulthaup interior fitting system is based on the concept of functional prisms and high-quality accessories that are as practical as they are attractive. The functional prisms are used in drawers and pull-outs—and in future will be reprised on the walls above worktops. Additional elements can be added at the user's discretion....
...The horizontal nature of the functional prisms in the drawers creates an entirely new and fascinating look, greater transparency of organization, and exceptional ergonomics, with easy access for both right-and left-handed users.
To enable maximum personalization of the kitchen space, bulthaup offers a growing portfolio of accessories. This includes sliding elements of diverse sizes, which structure and dynamically change the space of the functional prisms in the drawers. They allow the user to create and organize themed zones and islands, to set priorities, to create primary and secondary areas. The shape of these sliding elements mimics the functional prisms.
In addition to the standard range, the bulthaup collection features elegant containers—where required, with an exclusive leather lining—for storing silverware, utensils, cookies, sugar or other items. The containers are a perfect fit for the functional prisms, but can be easily removed and placed in other locations...Their shape is aligned with the functional prisms, making it easy for the containers to be grasped and removed.... The unconventional design is as attractive as it is practical: when placed on the worktop, the containers are inclined towards the cook, and when placed on a table, they are inclined towards the diner.