The stove shown in the picture is an induction cooktop. Why all the talk about flames?
The exhaust hood is pretty unobtrusive, which may mean not terribly efficient. I don't see it as a big barrier. Step to one side if you want to talk to people sitting or standing on the other side of the island.
Personally, I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to exhaust hoods. I like that they address what's going on in my oven as well as the cooktop, and you need some big cfm's to be truly effective, which means adequate ducting to the exterior. That doesn't work with wall ovens, as is the case in the picture.
I have lived with them all in my various houses over the years: gas downdraft; double wall ovens; electric and gas convection; island; industrial hoods; etc.. My choice would be a decent gas cooktop with gas convection oven (like a Wolf stove) with a large capacity exhaust hood overtop vented properly to the exterior. I might be convinced to go with an induction cooktop and gas convection oven, but that probably means throwing out half my pots and pans, which I don't really want to do.