Gushing out in style

Last Updated 17 October 2013, 13:36 IST

The ordinary kitchen tap has undergone many transformations over the years. Now, utilitarian-chic faucets with minimalist designs are the rage, finds Bindu Gopal Rao.

A water source is an integral part of the kitchen. Having the right kind of faucet is important not just because it can make your work easier and quicker but also ensure that you make optimum use of resources. The market today has several options that elevate the humble tap (yes, the faucet) to another level.

There has been an explosion of kitchen faucet offerings, with all kinds of new styles, features and finishes. Today the kitchen is a social space and naturally is designed to accommodate friends and family. The kitchen mixer faucet is the hardest working piece of equipment in the home being the most used. Therefore it is essential to invest in a faucet that not only looks good, but is also built to last. “The increasing population in metropolitan cities and demand for luxurious lifestyle has further driven the demand for international level faucets market in India.

Traditional single and double lever kitchen faucets have given way to electronic technology being used not only in bathrooms but extend to kitchen counter tops too,” says Harshita Parekh, a realty expert. Two types of faucets are now in use, wall mounted and counter top mounted, with and without swivel neck. “The new ones have a single lever mixer which means that you do not have to open two taps to get a mixture of hot and cold water. Also, the new faucets do not have washers which get worn out after some use, resulting in irritating drips. They now come with a ceramic cartridge which is virtually indestructible,” explains P Mukesh, a hardware expert.

Materially speaking

The basic raw material is almost always brass, which is then electro plated with nickel or chromium. For gold finishes actual 24 carat gold is used in the high end ones and chemical gold colour in the more economical ones. Chrome has been an age old material used for the finish on a kitchen faucet. “Considering the era and new evolutions in the dozens of different finishing materials used we have metals like bronze, nickel and stainless steel for the industrial style that remains popular.

“The ‘modern’ faucets have nickel which uses PWP (pure water process) that doesn’t create pollution when released in water,” says Jason Russell, a product expert. The core material for most faucets continues to be brass, with coatings of classic chrome for the smooth, reflective finish. Companies have introduced – PVD (physical vapour deposition) process that ensures that the surface composition is three-times harder than chrome, thus delivering glistening gold or sophisticated stainless-steel finishes.

“As well as being harder, the surface is also ten times more scratch resistant, so it can be cherished for a lifetime. Few companies are opting for carbon fibre to substitute brass for extra strength and less weight, while staying within the bounds of the design and finished with shiny chrome. Smooth enamel coating is going to be a hot trend soon giving a seamless finish in vibrant colors like red, black, white,” says Parekh. Nickel is also another material that has become more popular in the twentieth century. “Nickel looks very similar to chrome and has a stainless steel like finish. It can have a polished or shiny finish. It is of low maintenance and will hide scratches, fingerprints, and water spots,” says Parushni Aggarwal, an interiors expert.

The latest trends include the rise of modern, minimalist designs and utilitarian-chic faucets worthy of professional kitchens. “On the flipside, there’s a renewed interest in classically cool models as well as rustic, farmhouse-style faucets. Making the array of choices even more confounding, the newest faucets feature better functionality, more novel shapes and a broader assortment of finishes than ever before,” says Aggarwal. There are new technologies that are beginning to find their way into faucets, such as hands-free or touch-on. Making the array of choices even more confounding, the newest faucets feature better functionality, more novel shapes and a broader assortment of finishes than ever before. “Not just sensors, even mechanical water savers are present in the better faucets.  Here a special attachment is added to the tip of the spout which adds air bubbles to the flow of water to make it more substantial and thereby making use of a lesser amount of water,” says Mukesh.

Technology goes green

Digital technology introduces a new level of comfort and convenience to the kitchen sink. Intuitive to operate, a single touch is all it takes to start and stop the water flow from your kitchen faucet. “Wireless digital technology allows the digital controller to be fixed in a convenient and ergonomic location in front or to the side of the sink bowl, on the splash back, or next to the base of the spout to easily pre-programme their preferred combination of water temperature with thermostatic controllers, flow rate and duration,” says Parekh.

Kiran Singh, another product expert says, “Touch2O technology turns faucets on and off with just a touch anywhere on the spout or handle. MagnaTite Docking keeps the pull-down spray wand firmly in place when not in use and the Diamond Seal Technology can tackle the special water conditions in India.”

New technologies allow for electronics like motion sensors to be integrated with the faucets to allow the water to flow only when a person brings his or her hand or any other object into its orbit. The flow is turned off the instant the hand or object is withdrawn. Engineering faucets with multiple water flow levels helps minimise water wastage. “Faucets now feature a flow-limiting mousseur with aerator, reducing water consumption without compromising experience.

The result is a satisfying, voluminous flow that never exceeds 5.8 litres per minute, which is as kind to your pocket as it is to the environment,” says Parekh. Water saving technology helps you conserve water by providing a flow rate of 1.5 gpm as compared to the industry standard of 2.2 gpm, which will result in a water savings of up to 32 per cent.

(Published 17 October 2013, 13:31 IST)

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