Fresh from Eurocucina in Milan this year, we catch up with Sven Baake – Gaggenau’s head of design – to learn about the brand’s renowned Vario 400 Cooling Series and the kitchen of tomorrow.
April 13th, 2018
Certainly the best indication of progress in our times is the shifting landscape of our living spaces. Where perhaps fifty years ago an electric oven and a television set was considered the height of high-tech, and only thirty years ago did the first computers enter our homes, today seemingly every aspect of modern living is coloured by our digital reality.
Earlier this year we reported on how the omnipresence of technology in the home has also created a new culture of possibility. Today, our homes no longer act as the mere repositories of our more basic needs, but as truly dynamic reflections of our unique personalities, and in many ways an extension of them as well. With more options than ever at our fingertips we can now curate the physical and digital aspects of our daily lives quite unlike ever before.
For Gaggenau – the world’s oldest kitchen appliance brand, 335 years young (!) – the inherent enjoyment and luxury experience of cooking, has always been at the heart of their unique approach to product design. For more than three centuries, Gaggenau has been a key driver for change in the design of kitchen appliances: uniting the best in modern technology and high-quality materials; uniting the best in streamlined functional design and svelte architectural forms; The brand understands that the kitchen is – and will always be – the heart of the home … which is why Gaggenau is the soul of millions of kitchens across the world.
We caught up with Sven Baacke – Gaggenau’s Head Of Design – to find out the unique backstory behind the world’s most untiring innovator in appliance design and what makes Gaggenau’s Vario 400 Cooling Series so inspiring across the world.
Gaggenau’s Vario portfolio of kitchen appliances has proven itself to be one of the world’s most sought-after cookery suite in recent years. How does the release of the Vario Cooling 400 series take this highly popular range even further?
This is a very refined series. When we designed the new Vario cooling 400 series, we didn’t look at the cooling process as you would a regular refrigerator. Instead, we looked at the product as a piece of architecture that doubled up as a functional kitchen appliance.
This means that when considering the product design itself, you only have to look inside the appliance and appreciate how beautifully all components have been staged. Take, for example, the perfect illumination and almost invisible shelving units – it’s more like visiting a shop where all the food has been laid out perfectly, ready to be utilised as part of the greater culinary creation.
And how does the Vario Cooling 400 series reinterpret Gaggenau’s unique approach to design thinking?
In keeping with the Gaggenau design philosophy, the products’ impressive structure doesn’t hinder their ability to function. Rather, it enables it. When you open up the doors, it is truly a work of art since there is virtually no plastic used inside – it is real material and of the highest quality.
When I talk about this series, I am inclined to highlight Gaggenau’s ability to complement your living space, not only as a functional kitchen appliance, but also as a product designed to blend in with the very architecture of your home.
One of the most talked-about aspects to the new Vario Cooling 400 series is the inclusion of climate cabinets for wine. While these pieces clearly borrow their design cues from other appliances in the series, they also bear some unique design elements as well. How did the design approach differ for these wine climate cabinets?
The wine climate cabinets are unique in comparison with the fridge-freezer line because you are given the opportunity to showcase what you have in a subtle, sophisticated way. You see the wine resting on the beautiful oak bottle trays, complemented by this warm and inviting illumination, which broadens the possibilities of where the appliance could be placed in the home.
For instance, the glass doors allow for your wine to be visible: open to everyone to see and can be situated in any of the living areas without interfering with the overall interior design. Again it is part of the architecture! And by this, I mean that no one would ask, “Why is your wine in the living room?” People would say “What a beautiful wine collection!”
As people around the world continue to be inspired to become at-home culinary artists, how do you see this new cooling range reigniting a new culture in cooking and dining?
One of the many brilliant features of the Vario cooling 400 series is that you are provided the freedom to arrange your food or wine in any way that you see fit. The spacious interior enables you to arrange your ingredients in the same way an artist arranges their paint.
The refrigeration appliances are like large, beautifully illuminated rooms, and that’s what I really like. It is the perfect stage for the at home chef to create their culinary masterpiece.
And so, which is your favourite product from the cooling range and why?
I think the wine cooling cabinets are beautiful, and the fridge-freezer combination is so impressive. It is impossible to decide which appliance out of the whole range I prefer! I do love the balance of the imposing or discreet nature of the fridges mainly because of their double doors. I love this design feature because it feels like you are opening the doors to a grand, beautiful home, which is heightened through the soft warm lighting.
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