In dual roles of Managing Director of Gaggenau Asia Pacific, and Head of Category Management Cooking, Denise Tan is in a unique position to see how the design of our kitchens is evolving…
September 21st, 2017
We were lucky enough to have an illuminating chat with Denise on how we see our kitchens, how it’s changing, and how designers are responding to this.
Indesign: How have you seen the kitchen evolve or change in the 21st century?
Denise: Kitchens across the globe are undergoing continuous evolution to fit the way lives of consumers are rapidly changing. Kitchens in many cultures are the epicenter of many families hence the designs need to fulfill ergonomic needs, pragmatism, diverse cooking cultures and active lifestyles. To me the kitchen is the soul of my home, a place to create, experiment, fulfill, entertain and enjoy culinary culture. In megacities of high-density populations, this can be challenging because home spaces are shrinking and every conceivable inch of kitchen space becomes more precious – and more costly.
“Customers need easy and convenient solutions that combine cooking techniques”
For those who have the joy of a luxuriously large sprawling kitchen, this will continue to be a sensory experience, especially with the various cooking technology that brands like Gaggenau offer. Regardless of large families or compact singleton households using modern or traditional cooking styles, customers need easy and convenient solutions that sometimes combine cooking techniques, such as hot air cooking with steam for that perfect Sunday roast, or a full steam cooker for those inclined towards healthier dietary requirements. Puristic traditional cooking with gas is still de rigueur amongst most Asian families therefore the ventilation systems are also improving.
The 21st century sees a need for understanding of today’s modern consumer who sometimes wishes for convenience through digital connectivity and early adaptor type of consumers are now experimenting with appliances linked to mobile device Apps for example. While Gaggenau has chosen to adapt to this technology, we remain very close to the consumer due to a very human-emotional connection leaning towards culinary and beverage enjoyment which doesn’t necessarily get generated through digital means.
How has Gaggenau’s design changed with this evolution?
Gaggenau has crossed 3 centuries of tradition & brand heritage – a feat which few luxury companies can match! Many companies try to emulate us but true authenticity like the Mona Lisa can never be imitated.
From its origins as an ironworks factory in 1683, Gaggenau has evolved into a true luxury name in the 21st century. A wonderful icon and example of this evolution is the EB333 oven, named in tribute to Gaggenau’s 333rd milestone anniversary during Eurocucina 2016 in Milan. She was relaunched with an adjusted design and updated functions that embody the company’s design philosophy of traditional avant-garde where timeless craftsmanship meets innovative design. She is authentic, uncompromising and extraordinary by every means, akin to the brand values that have placed Gaggenau as a highly niche player for really special customers.
“Kitchen layouts and appliance technology need to cater to a highly diverse population”
Where do you see kitchen and appliance design going in the future?
The way people live in a cosmopolitan city like Melbourne is busy, demanding and fast paced. Kitchen layouts and appliance technology need to cater to a highly diverse population and food palate while recognizing the different customer needs, such as the gourmet home cook who takes the time to use his appliances in her own experimental way; or the prolific entertainer who would like to be seen using a top chef in his open-plan kitchen and showcase his vintage wine collection in his living area.
Modern cooking methods such as low temperature sous vide allow a busy person to prepare and store cooked food in heat-resistant vacuum sealed bags, which take just minutes to finish searing in a pan; therefore enjoying a home-cooked gourmet meal which has been prepared with convenience and hygiene elements too.
What kind of things can we expect from Gaggenau as we move forward?
Gaggenau will always remain traditional avant-garde in its design philosophy and customers can expect continued performance in a luxurious range of universally appealing appliances that fit into different food cultures. In addition to the Series 400 and 200 cooking range, food storage solutions in the form of different refrigerators, freezers and wine cooling appliances will be prominently updated and featured in several countries including Australia. The new built in coffee machine that utilizes a constant piped-in water supply and drainage outlet provides the coffee connoisseur an enviable level of beverage enjoyment.
What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
I’m definitely a fan of desserts and sweets and I believe that the best quality of ingredients make a significant difference to the result. Making chocolate or fruit-based hot & cold desserts, as well as birthday cakes for family, friends and colleagues keep me busy on weekend afternoons. Christmas and Chinese New Year are seasons when I go into overdrive with my favourite appliance, the Gaggenau steam combi oven which I also use to cook my family’s favourite traditional Straits Chinese dish called Sambal Udang, a dish of spicy tiger prawns using a multitude of spices, fermented prawn paste, fresh red chili, lime, sea salt and sugar. Usually, you would do this over a gas cooktop, but tradition can be recreated in its modern form without compromising on results. In fact the texture is even better using the combination of hot air and steam injection and the prawns retain their beautiful colour and appearance in a pressure-less environment.
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