Exhibitor interview with product designer: Hélène Bangert, head of architecture and design for Bauformat
Q: What inspires your designs?
A: I don’t limit myself to identifying kitchen trends for inspiration, I also look at other sectors, such as furnishing in general, vehicles, fashion and shop fittings. My design process usually begins with basic sketches of a certain aesthetic or concept that I think could work. My team then illustrates the basic idea and develops it. When we try out something new, we also like to work with mood boards and get feedback from people in other sectors of the business, such as sales.
How does this decor, this texture “work”? What can it be combined with? How does it fit together? What does it remind you of? This feedback is key to making the design concept into a marketable product.
Q: Aside from the obvious developments in technology and materials, some argue that the kitchen of today still very much resembles the kitchen of 50 years ago. Do you think we have reached our peak of creativity or are there more exciting develop-ments to come?
A: It’s an interesting fact that most consumers only change their kitchen once every 15 to 20 years, and 90% of them still choose white.
Nevertheless, as a kitchen manufacturer we are driven to come up with new products every year. We are very much like the fashion industry in that sense. And, with that in mind, we have definitely not reached the peak of our creativity.
Developing new ideas is a core element of my job as a designer. That’s the goal and it’s what encourages me every day to come up with new ideas that will appeal to – and excite – our customers.
Take the trend towards the “modern country house kitchen” as an example. There are many things that contribute to the charm of the kitchen, such as wine racks, plate racks, etc. In short, you can’t completely reinvent the kitchen every time, because there are certain functional requirements – but you can vary it endlessly.
Q: There has been a huge focus on sustainability recently. How much of an impact is that having on your design process?
A: It’s a topic that is becoming increasingly important. Of course, it is also important for end customers that the performance and the price
However, what we produce today for the market of tomorrow should not only be contemporary, but also sustainable and durable.
This means that we do this not only in order to satisfy the needs of the end customer, but also to help protect the environment and think about the future.