9 June 2018
What’s behind the new revolution in residential design? We sit down with Robert Warner of Gaggenau to find out how the brand is pushing new forms of design excellence for this dynamic sector.
Never has the design of our living spaces changed so rapidly as it has in recent years. Precision, intuitive interfaces and an unflagging commitment to functionality still drive our desires for appliances in this space. But even though these new elements are driving a new culture in appliance design, there still remains a high degree of desire for luxury in this space too. And, as such, perhaps there is no other company better suited to comment on the shifting nature of our residential environments than Gaggenau.
Having just thrown open the doors on their new Melbourne showroom, Gaggenau celebrates its rich 335th year in operation, and continues its pledge to bring true soul into the home and kitchen – across the world. As the 23rd flagship showroom across its global operation, the opening of Gaggenau Melbourne is a decided coup for Australia’s architecture and design community.
On the eve of Gaggenau‘s launch of this new space in Melbourne, we caught up with Robert Warner – Gaggenau Australia’s General Manager – to learn more about how the brand is responding to new demands in the residential space.
Gaggenau was established more than 330 years ago in 1683 and a lot has changed in terms of culture and technological capabilities. Over the years, how have you seen what people want and need from their kitchen develop?
Our 335 year old history emphasises the brands natural evolution. The name Gaggenau goes back to the Black Forest where the company was founded as the Gaggenau Ironworks in 1683. Forging nails, producing farm machinery and bicycles. The process of iron ore and the values of craftsmanship have been part of our tradition from the outset.
Our journey into kitchen appliances began in the 1930’s and transformed under the leadership of Georg von Blanquet; an enthusiastic, culture chef who had a desire to manufacture appliances that the professional chef would want to cook with. From this time, we have seen a significant change in what people want from their kitchen. The biggest change we have seen is that kitchens have evolved from purely functional spaces to become more of a living space. We see the kitchen as the heart of the home, with everyday life revolving around this space. What hasn’t changed is that all Gaggenau appliances are still inspired by those within the professional kitchen.
In your view, what have been the biggest drivers of change in “kitchen culture”? How has Gaggenau responded to these?
It is more than just kitchen culture for us, Gaggenau is attuned to culinary cultures in which the preparation of exclusive dishes is consciously celebrated as a pleasure. This begins with the selection of the best ingredients and a genuine interest in extraordinary food and wine. It is this desire for a sophisticated lifestyle that drives Gaggenau to produce products that deliver professional cooking into the home. It is in the pursuit of their passion that our consumers find us. It is this culture that has emerged around us; it is why our consumers don’t purchase an oven, they discover a connection with Gaggenau.
One of the Gaggenau key messages is the centrality of the kitchen in living spaces around the world and over time. In your opinion, are today’s modern kitchens another iteration of the ancient notion of the “hearth”?
Our consumers’ homes are viewed holistically as a means to facilitate their lifestyle, and often the design includes pure materials, exquisite craftsmanship and skilled production. It is our desire to be an extension of these characteristics and for the kitchen to exhibit the same passion. We believe, if the kitchen is the heart of the home, then Gaggenau is the soul the kitchen.
Can you describe Gaggenau‘s vision of the ideal kitchen living space?
There is no singular ideal living space as it depends solely on the consumer and their specific needs. The Gaggenau culture isn’t a room, or an object, it is a mindset.
The physical kitchen living space has demonstrated an increased demand for customisation. We strive to give our consumers that ability with a modular approach, the Vario 400 series, for example, are mounted in a precision-milled stainless-steel frame that allows for seamless integration of elements. The individual tastes are catered for with the iconic EB 333, the expansive ovens 400 series and the flush ovens 200 series, each series offering a multitude of striking and intuitive configurations, promising culinary connoisseurs professional results in a private setting.
Where do you think kitchen design is headed in the future? Are there any particular directions that you would like to see it take?
We are constantly looking to the future, not just five or ten years, but beyond. Our design team project themselves forward and try to envision what a world might look like. How will people live? What will housing look like and what will Gaggenau look like? We consider not only what size a kitchen might be, but we ask will there even be a kitchen in the future? Regardless of the changes in kitchens, our products are timeless so they can travel with you into the future and continue to be relevant for our consumers in their homes. With more than 335 years of history, Gaggenau as a brand has demonstrated an ability to adapt and naturally evolve.
This is your second consecutive year as a sponsor of the INDE.Awards The Living Space category. What inspired your decision to return as a sponsor, and what do you hope to see in this year’s entries?
We are continually inspired by the study of finer things. Appreciating and striving for a cultivated knowledge of materials, craftsmanship and aesthetic within residential design. It is this passion that inspired us to continue our relationship with the Living Space category at the INDE Awards.