Indeed, while many product manufacturers focus on product aesthetics and function, far fewer offer the kind of design flexibility necessary to make the products themselves proactive partners in creating real design solutions.
A new concept in cabinetry recently introduced by the Adrian, MI-based cabinet manufacturer Merillat aims to change all that.
"Organomics," as it's called, is about creating cabinetry concepts that offer both organizational and ergonomic solutions for consumers personalized to their individual needs and preferences. The idea behind Organomics is that by designing flexible cabinet and storage products that create solutions, rather than simply functioning as boxes to be placed within a design, the product itself becomes a "design partner" in solving challenges.
The theory behind Organomics is that each room in the home can be divided into distinct areas, or "zones," each equated with specific tasks or functions. The goal of Organomics is then to "get the most out of each zone by helping prioritize the space by how and when it is used," according to Merillat. The system focuses on both organizational concerns and ergonomic issues.
In the kitchen
While all kitchens are unique, certain commonalities remain constant in the way the basic space is used. To that end, Merillat began by identifying six functions the kitchen is used for, and six corresponding zones. These zones include the sink, food preparation, cooking, storage/display, planning and eating areas.
Based on the homeowner's individual tastes, preferences and requirements, these zones are then used to prioritize the space and the cabinetry, as well as to organize each of these zones to make them most effective.
To address ergonomic concerns, spaces should also be arranged in four horizontal zones, from top to bottom. Items that are rarely used are stored at the top level; items that are frequently used should be stored at the second level; items that are most often used should be stored at the third level, and items that are only occasionally used should be stored at the bottom level.
Cabinetry at each level can then be configured to fit the types
of items that would be best suited to each storage zone, according
In the bath
The Organomics system works equally well in the bathroom, where users need to have convenient access to frequently used items, keep toiletries organized and have accessible storage for towels and linens. Because it's a high-traffic area, the bath is particularly important in terms of streamlining storage functions.
Again, the Organomics system begins by dividing up the room into appropriate zones, including the sink zone, where grooming racks can provide a convenient place to store hair dryers, brushes, etc.; a laundry and dressing zone, where a roll-out vanity hamper provides a place to drop dirty towels; and the bath/shower zone, where wall cabinets installed near the shower can offer easy access to towels.
These zones can then be customized to suit the needs of the
individual users, providing a more personalized environment that is
in such high demand in today's bathrooms.
The Organomics system has been designed to organize other rooms of the house, from laundry and hobby rooms to that ever-growing niche the home office.
The home office, especially, tends to encompass a wide variety and types of spaces, from part-time workspaces in kitchens or dens to full-time offices that may or may not require room for meeting with clients.
Additionally, specialized storage for equipment can be a major concern, with many home offices requiring a host of high-tech amenities, each with specialized storage needs. Even more importantly, ergonomics must be considered, since long hours working in a space that is not ergonomically correct can be harmful to a user's long-term health and well being.
The Organomics system for the home office separates the office into a workstation zone, where pull-out computer keyboards and pull-down doors can be used to conceal desktop contents and provide a neat, streamlined appearance; a communication zone, with lower cabinets organized to protect fax machines, printers and the like; and a storage zone, with drawer organizers, shelves and extra counter space around the computer to facilitate a more effective work flow.