Gaggenau is making its downdraft ventilation systems available in the U.S. for the first time. The 400 Series Vario Downdraft Ventilation System is designed to draw cooking vapors and odors into the countertop in place of a traditional vent hood.

The downdraft ventilation system is presented as part of a modular arrangement compatible with other Vario cooktop systems, including gas, wok, electric grill, teppanyaki, and induction cooktops, but may also be placed against a wall or in an island. The system incorporates an automatic ventilation function, which uses a hyperreactive air quality sensor to automatically detect odors or steam and activate the system in response, using the lowest setting necessary.

The bespoke end-to-end ventilation system is engineered to reduce noise, with special metal ducting and high-performance blowing in any configuration. The lack of a hood also expands the design options available in a kitchen setting, blending into the surface and creating an avenue for open sightlines. Gaggenau also provides the ability to place one of the optional blowers in the toe-kick, creating more space for the cabinetry.

"By removing distraction to the senses of sight, sound, and smell, it focuses attention upon the uninterrupted views, beautiful design, the sound of conversation, the aroma of prepared cuisine, and, most of all, the taste,” the company says of its new offering. “The kitchen becomes a social space."

The system features a stainless steel finish with cast-iron grates, and may be installed flush or surface-mounted. Users can also connect the system to HomeConnect to monitor filter saturation levels, adjust the air quality sensor, and receive filter reset notifications.

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