by Teresa Chow on May 7, 2012 in Interiors , Products
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At Poggenpohl’s new design centre in Milan, take a fresh look at how high-end kitchens have transformed modern living

Lars Völkel (LV) and Manfred Junker (MJ), managing director and chief designer of Poggenpohl respectively, talked to PerspectiveGlobal about the part that Poggenpohl has played in changing the way we live at home.

Kitchens have transformed from being simply somewhere to cook into social gathering spaces. What does this mean to kitchen designers like Poggenpohl?
LV: The simple kitchen is starting to die; people no longer want a separate kitchen. The kitchen space is getting bigger but, on the other hand, the living space is getting smaller. Before it was two separate rooms, now they are merging. Technology has helped to make this happen ‑ we have better cooking appliances and ventilation systems. As kitchens are now more open, we need to work closely with interior designers and architects to build a beautiful space, blending the kitchen and living rooms together.

What makes a kitchen design great?
MJ: To fulfil the wishes of the end users is very important. Firstly, usability. The kitchen has to be easy to use ‑ that means it needs to adapt to your height and how you cook. If you are left-handed, then the way the kitchen is designed should be different from the kitchen for right-handed people. Secondly, it has to tie in with your interior design. Thirdly, it has to optimise the use of space. For a long kitchen, the use of an island allows one to work around the kitchen and allow interaction between people. If the room is small and island is not possible, then you can try an angled or U-shaped kitchen.

How significant is Poggenpohl’s collaboration with Porsche?
LV: If we keep on doing everything by ourselves, we risk becoming narrow-minded ‑ the result will be that all the kitchen designs will end up the same. With Porsche, we wanted a kitchen for men. As Porsche cars are a favourite among men in terms of technology and design, we couldn’t think of anyone else better to innovate us.

How does Poggenpohl respond to the need to preserve its heritage?
LV: As we are made in Germany, it speaks about highest quality and perfect service. We want to let everyone know our history. The innovations we may have done some 10 years ago, we always look at again and say ‘we can take the next step’. But wherever we go next in our designs, we must fulfill our quality and product requirements.

Tell us about the showroom in Milan.
LV: The location faces the up-and-coming design centre, the base of the renowned fashion brand research centre. As this area celebrates design, having the Poggenpohl showroom here means we are part of it and we are moving ahead in terms of kitchen design.
MJ: At this showroom, we have six exclusive kitchen models on display, including the award-winning +Artesio, the Plusmodo by Spanish designer Jorge Pensi and the Poggenpohl Porsche Design Kitchen P’7340. This helps consumers understand the fresh ideas we have brought to kitchen design.

What’s on the agenda to celebrate Poggenpohl’s 120th birthday this year?
LV: One item is the launch of the biggest addition to fronts in our history. This gives customers a start-to-finish colour logic, with over 120 frontage options to choose from when planning their kitchen. In addition to innovative laser edging technology, we also offer contemporary wood décor finishes. This is also a way to celebrate our tradition. To upgrade existing materials shows how much pride we have in our heritage and the products that we designed in the past.

What are some of the technological breakthroughs?
LV: Given our quality standards and the way we produce those fronts, this has been the most difficult challenge we’ve ever had. Never before have we had to pass temperature resistance tests of 50˚ Celsius and humidity of 80 per cent to ensure that when we ship our product overseas, the kitchens can resist all kinds of weather. And with the laser-cutting technology, the corner of the fronts look perfect.