It is that time of year again – the lovely weather and hospitality of Germany and SieMatic’s Haus Fair, an in-house factory show of new designs and finishes for 2013. For those unfamiliar, SieMatic is a leading luxury kitchen maker in Europe, and I have been involved with this fine company for almost 20 years. Along with 15 of my North American colleagues, I made the trek to Westphalia again for meetings and training on new product. Here are my impressions from our visit.
SieMatic has two handle-less series of cabinets, the luxurious S2 and more price-conscious S3 series. Many new features and new colors were introduced for S3, greatly enhancing its appeal. Here we have a wonderfully-restrained Graphite and Lotus White gloss laminate display:
The same kitchen was on display with yellow accents. The same layout as above, except the unique features are more visible in yellow, including the interesting end shelf, the yellow finger strip area and a metal frame tall glass cabinet with yellow interior.
In another display, we can see a detail of the finger grip. Both the horizontal backing strip (aluminum) and the actual integrated grip can be color coordinated and mix-matched in a variety of new colors, including this Poppy Red.
Another display shows the end shelf in “Olive Green”, which is really more of an apple green. Here the individual handles (mounted on each door) can be seen.
Another S3 concept showed a run of demi-height cabinets with refrigerator and oven housings on each end. A combination of Sterling Grey and Graphite, the use of finger channel here is quite creative, showing how the cabinets can alternate between contrasting and matching; the finger channel and cooking cabinet are both Graphite. This mix/match feature could be a powerful tool for designers to bring individual design to their kitchen clients.
An S2 Floating Spaces display was shown in White with Natural Oak and also in the new Graphite Grey. Last year’s “Floating Spaces” shelves featured nicely in this new concept, but enclosed in panels and shown in the more elegant 13mm version. Note the integrated electrical sockets on the island end panel, and also the floor-grazing lower pullout fronts which highlight a very mono-block feel.
A detail of the Graphite/Walnut display showing the shelf detail:
A very elegant SE/S2 Floating Spaces concept was shown in a new gloss lacquer, Agate Grey, mixed here with Black Gloss lacquer. Almost a Beaux Arts concept, there was an abundance of sparkle from gloss lacquer, polished metal, mirror and glass.
Here is a close-up of the cooking area. You can see the upper “bridge cabinets”, which featured in other displays this year as well. The top cabinets do not match the lower, but have a randomized series of divisions for a fresh, unexpected feel.
The biggest news was perhaps the least sexy, from a display point of view. SieMatic has shied away from continuous grain/book-matched veneer, until now. For a premium over normal veneer prices, they will now do either vertical or horizontal continuous or book-matched grains on request.
A view to the full collection of veneer from SieMatic. These are all very useable, on-trend finishes.
2012 marks 30 years of SieMatic in the United States. The very first dealer, Euro Kitchens in Laguna Beach California, is still going strong. Mr. Siekmann presented Euro Kitchens principals Claude and Fari Moritz with a special award for their amazing milestone. I have worked with Claude and Fari on their displays and also some renderings for their clients. Here are the three of us in one of the Haus Fair displays.
We stayed in a couple of different small towns near the factory, both “bath towns” with natural springs and a long history of wellness. Here is a building situated in the lovely public park in Bad Oeynhausen.
Our other town was Bad Salzuflen. This city had a tremendous amount of character. Walking the streets showed a variety of stone and half-timber small buildings, all in excellent shape. Our hotel was a series of old buildings linked together, with the oldest from 1560.
In the middle of town is a large T-shaped wall of sorts. For over two centuries, the mineral springs in this area have been mined for their salt (hence, the name Salz – meaning salt). Water is pumped out of the ground and trickled over this structure, with the mineral deposits clinging to the surface as the water evaporates.
The walls are constructed of bundles of cut thorny brush, about 6 feet deep, placed in horizontal stacks. Water just trickles down from the top. As the mineral water cascades down, a refreshing seashore-like air blankets the town. A local mentioned they replace the brush every 7 years.
One pavilion has an interior fitted with benches for resting and taking in the air. We tried it ourselves for a bit of jet-lag therapy. Germans have a special “wellness clause” in their health insurance; if they need a break from the fast pace of modern life they can come visit a health resort town such as Bad Salzuflen. I can attest that nobody was rushing around this little town – it was all about relaxing. A detail of the interior showing the bundles of thorny brush:
On the last night we shared a great group meal in a small timber-frame room at the hotel, drinking German wine and trying the local flavors. It is always great to catch up with old friends at the shows, and also to welcome new people to the SieMatic family, such as the resellers from Montreal. Speaking of Montreal, my design is being installed and the opening party is scheduled for October. Be sure to return for those highlights later in autumn, as I plan to go back up for the final touches and to share in the celebration.