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Poetry, essentialism and freedom in kitchen design: Sven Baacke introduces Gaggenau’s new cooktop

Gaggenau’s new Essential Induction is set to transform how we design and use our kitchens. Here, the brand’s Head of Design lets us in on the creative process behind the groundbreaking innovation – and reaching the poetic intersection of form and function.

Poetry, essentialism and freedom in kitchen design: Sven Baacke introduces Gaggenau’s new cooktop

The constant tension between form and function has been propelling innovation and creativity for centuries. The dynamic push and pull between the two, the ongoing attempt to get the balance right, and the creative choice to lean into one over the other have been one of the most fundamental aspects of progressing the areas of architecture, design, and product development. 

Conversely, the kitchen has always been one of the spaces where achieving this delicate harmony has been more consequential than anywhere else. Tipping too far in either direction could yield a space that feels obtrusive, impractical, and challenging to navigate, or uninspiring and limiting. But when the design gets it right, with form and function seamlessly disappearing into each other in complete contentment, the kitchen becomes a place of intimate contemplation and inspired, boundless exploration, where the very notion of functionality intuitively melts away to make space for life itself.

And there is, Sven Baacke, Head of Design at Gaggenau, points out, an undeniable sense of lyricism to it. “The beauty of kitchen design lies in the seamless blend of aesthetics and functionality. When design and function merge harmoniously and authentically, there is a certain poetry that emerges. This synthesis brings joy and a sense of elegance to everyday tasks,” he says. “In my view, a well-designed kitchen should not only serve its practical purposes but also evoke a sense of beauty and pleasure in its use. It’s this delicate balance between form and function that creates a poetic experience in the kitchen.”

And perhaps in kitchen design, as in poetry, less is often more. And just like in literature, stripping things back is the most challenging part of the design process itself. Sven agrees but adds that it’s also the most fundamental aspect of his own design practice. “The process involves discerning what to keep and what to eliminate, constantly striving to find the tipping point or the sweet spot where balance is achieved,” he smiles. “This minimalist approach requires a deep understanding of the core functions and aesthetics, ensuring that every element serves a purpose without superfluity. It’s about achieving purity in design, where simplicity and clarity enhance both usability and beauty.”

The Essential Induction cooktop, Gaggenau’s latest innovation, is the most exquisite expression of this rigorous and intentional ethos. This stunning technological achievement is distilled to the absolute essentials – both in terms of the design itself, and what is visible to the human eye.

Engineered to seamlessly integrate with a countertop, this exceptional design boils down to three rudimentary elements – the LED ‘dot’, the worktop surface, and the performance knobs. There is something wonderfully uncomplicated, freeing and empowering about the pared back expression of this stunning product.

“The Essential Induction exemplifies essentialism by being reduced to the minimum possible while retaining its ‘poetic’ essence,” Sven explains. “It captures the essence of cooking without any distractions, featuring invisible technology and a highly intuitive user interface. With just a surface, a dot, and a control knob, it offers a pure cooking experience.”

Sven adds that this minimalistic approach ensures that the focus remains on the culinary process. “Over-complicating kitchen design can detract from its primary purpose, which is to be a space for gathering, sharing food, thoughts, and life,” he elaborates. “When technology steps back and becomes intuitive and nearly invisible, it allows the kitchen to concentrate on its true function. By simplifying design, we create an environment that fosters connection and interaction, making the kitchen a welcoming and enjoyable space.”

He adds that the goal is to enhance the user experience, making cooking and socialising effortless and enjoyable, without the distractions of overly complex technology. “This approach ensures that the kitchen remains the heart of the home, a place where functionality and beauty coexist harmoniously,” he says.

This harmony between functionality and beauty, while masterfully concealed, is on full display in the design of the Essential Induction cooktop. Designed to integrate exclusively with Dekton’s ultra-compact and scratch-resistant surfaces, the cooktop gently disappears into the stunning stone countertop. Gaggenau’s signature front-mounted performance knobs quietly and intuitively assist the user throughout the cooking process, while keeping the top surface clean. The understated hero of the design – a smart centre light within the cooking zone – shows the user where to place the cookware and warns of residual heat, only to vanish entirely when not in use, transforming a stove into a versatile area perfectly suited for preparation, serving, dining and even working or socialising. Plus, alongside the new appliance, Gaggenau has also developed removable magnetic surface protectors to ensure existing cookware can be seamlessly used with the new-generation cooktop, providing premium cooking experience.

“It’s about eliminating the boundaries between preparation and living,” says Sven. “And the Essential Induction cooktop offers the ultimate freedom in kitchen planning, which is a revolutionary concept for designers and planners.”

Gaggenau’s incredible innovation isn’t only going to change the way we plan and design kitchen spaces – it will completely transform how we operate, cook, interact, and socialise in these interiors. But this pioneering and, in truth, life-altering development shouldn’t come as a surprise. At the forefront of home appliance innovation since inception in 1683, Gaggenau has been augmenting, elevating, and revolutionising our relationship with the kitchen space for hundreds of years, always managing to stay one step ahead of other manufacturers, masterfully pre-empting the evolving needs of the end consumer.

This time is no different. With the reliable cadence of only the most impactful verses, the Essential Induction cooktop reinforces the notion that the difference is, in fact, Gaggenau.


Visit Gaggenau for more updates on The Essential Induction.

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