By James Wells

SYDNEY: Fisher & Paykel today unveiled a prototype of a world-first cooktop at the DesignEx interior design exhibition held inside the Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre.

The prototype ‘gas in glass’ product, known as Project Luna, has been under development for two years and may take another 18 months before it is released to the market as late as 2008.

The product features a frameless 900mm x 410mm piece of black glass which supports three individual gas burners which rise out of the cooktop when the control knob is activated.

Currently in a three hob configuration, Fisher & Paykel product marketing manager, Karen Rieser, has confirmed the product could eventually be available in a single domino configuration.

Although 90cm cooktops generally feature four or five burners, Fisher & Paykel built three burners into the prototype after finding through research that at any one time an average of 2.1 burners were ever in use.

“Gas within frameless ceramic glass in itself represents state-of-the-art design, but the addition of the ‘now you see it – now you don’t’ burner and pan supports make this product unique in the true sense of the word,” Rieser said.

“The launch of this product will invigorate the retail cooking category and give consumers of new technology and high-impact, visually distinctive appliances, reason to rejoice. Even its size is unique – long, narrow and sleek – the frameless back glass looks sensational set into a stone or corian bench. The alignment of the three burners in a row is ergonomically superior as the user isn’t required to reach to the back burners,” Reiser said.

The Aero burners offer precise linear flame control and glow ignition, delivering sparkles ignition and instantaneous flame.

“The patented Aero burners ensure even heat distribution with powerful high settings for wok stir frying and incredibly low turndown, which in application terms means that at its lowest settings, this cooktop will melt chocolate in a pan placed directly on the gas. This is exceptional for a gas cooktop – ordinarily the chocolate would need to be placed in a pot over a water bath to ensure it didn’t burn,” she said.

“Cleaning is effortless as when the cooktop isn’t in use, the burners and supports are hidden beneath. This flat, obstacle-free surface is easily wiped clean."