Case study: Vent-hood and user access

Before I rip right into it, let me start off by mentioning that it has been a while since we have written anything. I'm sorry. You see, it is just that I have been a little bit busy this season. One of the things keeping me busy is a cool kitchen project in the South Granville area and it's been interesting. Oh, it is just a white-on-white kitchen (typical of what seems to be my signature style) and we are dropping the ceiling 6 3/4" in order move the entire cooktop and ventilation. It's the most brilliant of ideas I have had in a long time, and I'm sure it has been done before by someone greater than I. The core of the design challenge is that I have a specific user (the client) and she happens to be taller than the average woman at 1.78 m, whilst her designer is a lowly 1.77 m. She had concerns about the height of the vent hood in relation to her sight line and that the glass canopy vent hood was directly at eye level. This posed a great challenge.

During the appliance selection process, the client has selected one of those very cool in-cabinet slide-out ventilation units. Sadly, this pre-Madonna changed the design, causing the greatest challenge of the year, because the client had it in their minds that they were just removing a wall and adding an island. You see, vent hoods do not come in a standard shape and a standard height and like humans, they come in all sorts of sizes and are just as fussy. I very luckily stumbled upon a Faber unit (with the help of the appliance specialist) that fit the dimensional requirements as well as the clients requirements for a glass top.

This was fantastic, a true feat of design, but the client needed more visual information on what it was going to look like. There was only one solution, an anthropomorphic study detail drawing.

Athropo what? In interior design, Anthropometrics are the measurements and sizes of the human body and physical requirements. In this case, the user has a specific sight-line need that was assessed to be important in the overall requirements of the design. Yup. I created the problem.

In order to resolve the problem, I produced a set of quick study drawings (above) that show the user's actual height in relationship to the ventilation appliance. This was relatively easy to produce because I design in SketchUp so it was all done lickity split. Now I really am a designer ninja because I did the impossible and resolved the biggest objection to boot.