Happy birthday, Zephyr Ventilation.
The premium range hood business, which melded fashion and functionality to help raise the category beyond its utilitarian roots, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Zephyr said the founding Siow family deliberately set out to change the marketplace with its 1997 launch in San Francisco, and that the company, now owned by publicly-traded Melrose Industries, has remained true to their vision of making range hoods more than an afterthought in kitchen design.
To that end, the company has called upon some of the industry’s most renowned designers to answer the call for “inspiration above the range,” including kitchen and bath guru Fu-Tung Cheng; former Apple Computer industrial design director Robert Brunner; and the late David Whitfield Lewis, Bang & Olufsen’s acclaimed designer.
At the same time, under president Luke Siow’s 11-year leadership, Zephyr helped bring powerful, professional-grade hoods to the home through such innovations as self-cleaning and filter-free technologies, and the quiet efficiency of its DCBL Suppression System, introduced in 2011 as the industry’s first DC-powered range-hood motor.
More recently, the company this year added a titanium-coated black stainless finish; expanded its direct-to-dealer distribution; and introduced the first dimmable GU10 LED lighting that uses standard 120V AC power and is approved for range hood use.
All of the vendor’s models can be found in the company’s 7,000-square-foot showroom — considered the largest ventilation-only display space in North America — which is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Design District and is open to consumers and trade alike.