China Cook Top and Range Hood for Fotile

Culturally relevant kitchen appliances for a Chinese market

In China, most kitchen appliances available on the market are rooted in Western cooking practices. Fotile, based in Ningbo, China, specializes in high-end kitchen appliances designed specifically for the Chinese market. As the market leader in this space, Fotile partnered with IDEO to design a new cook top and range hood that would satisfy the unique needs of Chinese cooking culture. The result: An innovative cook top and range hood that combine form and function in beautiful, unexpected ways.

The Fotile cook top and range hood take into account cultural practices and needs while also addressing the aesthetic preference of the Chinese consumer. This appliance duo eliminates the tension between the staples of Chinese cooking culture—the wok and cooking oil—and the consumer demand for modern design.

The traditional Western five-burner stove is designed to support cooks in need of variable heat and numerous small pots and pans. This arrangement crowds the cooking surface and can be difficult to clean—especially when trying to remove oil drops. In addition, most Western range hoods have exposed oil and smoke filters—which, over time, can become dark and unsightly.

By contrast, the new Fotile appliances support a key need of Chinese cooking: the dual-cooking center. This two-burner range eliminates unnecessary burners, instead dedicating one side to the wok, the primary tool in Chinese cooking, and the other side to a flat-bottom pan. The wok burner has a special stand with angled posts to hold steady a round-bottom wok (typical in China) and ease the rigorous, constant “tossing” movement that is prevalent in Chinese cooking.

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Project date: 2012