Whe is planning to set up a kitchen, probably thinking a lot about the oven, hob, fridge or extractor hood after. Little attention is paid to the sink. Hobby cooks only like to deal with the water tap. Solitaire, a brand of BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, wants to make the sink the center of the kitchen with “The Waterbase”. Functionally anyway. Visually, it is deliberately hidden: the sink disappears at the push of a button.
With this technical highlight, the brand advertises its sink as a world first. At the touch of a button, the ceramic floor of the basin can be moved upwards until it forms a level with the worktop. There is only a gap around it, so water can still drain off if the tap is opened. To the right of this is a glass bar, into which a nearly seven-inch screen is embedded at the bottom edge. This is used to control Solitaire, only there is a sensor at the front of the tap that reacts to touch.
There is a lot to control. Because six different types of water come out of Solitaire’s tap, all of which are filtered: still water at room temperature or ice-cold, moderately or properly sparkling, boiling or at a temperature of eighty degrees. However, the luxury sink only offers all functions in the complete version. Faucets that produce sparkling water or water at different temperatures are nothing new.
They are available from manufacturers such as Grohe, Blanco or Quooker. While these devices have the controls on the tap, Solitaire is controlled via the lush screen. While we were allowed to try the product for a few minutes, the operation seemed simple and well thought out. When boiling hot water is drawn off in one or two intermediate steps, care is taken to ensure that it does not immediately shoot out of the tap and that no one accidentally burns themselves.
The ascent of the sink floor also starts from the display. However, the secret lies in a second floor that sits tightly on top of the other. Solitaire has installed a lifting device under the bottom shelf, with two crossing struts on the top. Except for the small lifting platform, everything can be removed so that the pool can be kept clean. The water runs off via an ordinary valve with a sieve insert and a siphon.
Solitaire is designed as a system with a base cabinet. On the one hand, space is needed for the filter, the CO2 cartridge and the electronics. On the other hand, two containers are hanging in a frame as rubbish bins, washing-up liquid, steel sponges or other things that are normally on the sink are hidden on a shelf. And then another drawer warms and dries tea towels, which you put down damp there. How strong and how long the mini heater heats up can be adjusted. You pull out the lower part like the large drawer of a base cabinet that you know from normal kitchen furnishings. The front is freely selectable and can therefore be integrated into any kitchen. At sixty centimetres, Solitaire meets the standard size of most kitchen builders.
This can be ecologically disadvantageous
What could everyday life with this sink look like? If you turn the tap to the left or right to the side, the flat surface becomes an extended worktop, on which there is space for a cutting board, for example, on which you can chop. The ceramic floor with its lifting platform can withstand up to forty kilograms. However, everything would have to be pushed aside again when water is needed for rinsing or for other actions. It looks best when not cooked at all. Then a tap without a single-lever mixer simply protrudes from the middle of the worktop, under which you casually place a glass and draw filtered, still or sparkling water. The 80-degree function is practical for green tea drinkers. Because water that is just under a hundred degrees hot can also be obtained, the days of the kettle are probably numbered.
An advantage of this system: you take just as much hot water as you need. That can be up to 2.8 liters. This can be ecologically disadvantageous. The boiler keeps the hot water constantly available. Solitaire indicates the power consumption in standby with eleven to 26 watt hours per day, about as much as a smartphone. The electricity costs should not hurt customers economically. After all, you have afforded a sink with a base cabinet for 10,000 euros.