Ever since TreeHugger founder Graham Hill dispensed with a stove in his LifeEdited apartment and just put in portable induction units, we have been following how this trend to light and portable cooking surfaces might change kitchen design. Retired interior designer Anthony Collard has come up with perhaps the most interesting idea yet for living in small spaces without a full range: He has built induction hobs (British for the top flat part of a cooking element) into a drop-leaf adjustable height moveable feast of a dining table. Given that it is small, ingenious and a hob, he calls it the Hobbit.
The units are flush and built right into the surface, because Anthony notes:
I thought you might like my 'anti-kitchen-island' mobile workstation-cum-dining table prototype, which is in use in my daughters tiny Hammersmith. As you'll know, induction cools rapidly, and this allows up to 8 people to take their places as the meal is served. The 15amp power supply with uprated cooker circuit-breaker, runs within flexi reinforced conduit which can coil back into the under-cupboard space when in default location as shown.
It’s not like those teppanyaki tables at Benihana, which get quite hot; this could be used to cook and then to dine, but could also keep food warm for leisurely dinners. The tops of the Neff hobs are totally flush with the counter. Neff might even consider bringing out a version with an extended top so that the range/ hob actually becomes the table top.
There is quite a bit of design going on under this table, with strong piano hinges to support the drop-leaves and a very simple but clever height adjustment system: a deep slot for when the table is low, a shallow one for when it is high. However I suspect it will take two people, one at each end, to adjust it. There could be a mechanism like on adjustable standing desks, but that would add complexity and cost.
Anthony notes that “We do have a huge problem here in the UK as I am sure elsewhere, of totally inadequate housing provision for the younger generation, and so increasing compaction of living spaces.”
J. R. R. Tolkien said of hobbits: "There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along." But there is a lot of magic in Anthony Collard's Hobbit table. We need more thinking like this.