A look inside German kitchens: functionality, durability, and innovation
Ever wondered why German kitchens are called German? The “Made in Germany” label is associated with quality, durability and innovation, but how are these incorporated into a kitchen?
September 28, 2023
Ever wondered why German kitchens are called German? This design style not only gets its name from the country it was born in. The “Made in Germany” label is associated with quality, durability and innovation. And for a good reason, Germans have been manufacturing and designing kitchens for more than 100 years. As one of the first industrialized countries in the world, this nation has a lot of experience in engineering, industrial design and manufacturing, which allows them to deliver kitchens with a sophisticated style, combining efficiency with modern technology to create a futuristic aesthetic
As a company that designs with German cabinetry, we created this blog post with our most important facts about this kitchen style, and what our customers love about it!
The Frankfurt kitchen, where it all began
The German kitchen design style dates back to 1926, when designer Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky created the Frankfurt kitchen - a low-cost standardized kitchen concept designed for social housing, that elevated the kitchen with clever and scientifically informed design to make the user’s life easier. This kitchen design is considered as the first modern kitchen in history.
The Frankfurt Kitchen was a revolution, as 99% invisible describes it: “Not just because it was part of a huge effort to get people housed, but because of its wildly efficient layout. It was designed to fit, and to bring modern appliances and architecture to the masses — but it was also designed to conserve the user’s energy. To make cooking as fast and easy as possible” - The Frankfurt Kitchen, 99% Invisible blog.
Over the years the design has evolved following this concept of functional kitchens, and the German manufacturers have improved it with creativity and technology. The design legacy has inspired newer generations to create livable spaces that only serve as a working space, but that have also become social spaces at home.
The social kitchen layout
Our kitchen experience has been completely transformed over the years. Once upon a time, people’s kitchens were dark, remote spaces in the house used for heating the house, washing clothes, cooking and in some cases, taking baths. Or, for the other half, it would be a place only for servants.
Thankfully we have moved on from that! In 2023, kitchens have become communal spaces where families and friends share meals together and where amateur cooks experiment with the pleasures of cooking. Kitchens are really the heart of the home and German style kitchens prioritize these activities and use of open-plan layouts, and other features that enhance and make these activities easier and more fun.
A strong commitment with functionality
At the core of German design lies the principle that form should always follow function. In other words, every design element has a distinct purpose. From ergonomically designed countertops that accommodate your posture to intelligently placed cabinets that maximize space, there’s a meticulous thought process behind each choice. The beauty of this functional-first approach? It makes daily life smoother and more efficient, turning ordinary kitchen chores into effortless routines.
High quality and durability
Much like Germany’s reputation in automobile engineering, its kitchen designs too come with an assurance of unparalleled quality. High-grade materials, combined with rigorous craftsmanship standards, ensure that every cabinet, worktop, and fixture stands the test of time. The result? A kitchen that not only looks timeless but also lasts for generations, offering genuine value for money.
Maximizing space with a German style kitchen
German storage solutions are clever and ergonomic. Tall units, S-shaped pull out units, pull-out drawers, and other smart features are always integrated with the purpose of making the most out of your space, no matter how small it is.
Technology is another characteristic of German kitchens, which are known for integrating not only high-tech kitchen appliances like built-in convection ovens and stoves, they also apply technological innovation in the materials used and in making the manufacturing process more sustainable.
From the initial choice and sourcing of materials to the intricacies of production, encompassing packaging and delivery, technology plays an instrumental role in crafting globally acclaimed products.
German kitchens embraced minimalism and its philosophy that embraces simplicity, heroes functionality and avoids excess to create seamless, uncluttered symmetrical spaces that have a purpose.
With handleless cabinets, the use of glossy or matte fronts in neutral, yet original colors like black or turquoise, and integrated appliances that create streamed lines, the German kitchen aesthetic is unique enough to be recognized immediately, while leaving space for personalization. A look that in 2023 represents the kitchens of the present and the future, and one that has evolved as designers and homeowners experiment with materials and combinations with other styles.
Minimal doesn’t mean sterile or too standardized, it’s more a way of designing and conceptualizing spaces. So remember you should always add your personal touch and think about the colors, and elements that will work for you.
Sustainability at the Forefront
Nowadays, environmental consciousness drives design choices, German kitchens shine with their commitment to sustainability. From choosing sustainably harvested wood to using eco-friendly laminates, there's a concerted effort to minimize environmental impact. Moreover, energy-efficient appliances are a standard feature, underscoring Germany's pledge towards greener living.
Are German kitchens really that good?
German kitchens blend incredible aesthetics with functional design that has a purpose: improve people’s experience in the kitchen. At Form we design German kitchens because they reflect a deep understanding of the homeowner’s needs, balancing beauty and function in equal measure. They have proven to be durable -25-year warranty-, which gives you a strong return of investment by not having to change your kitchen every couple of years. And, this durability and quality will ultimately elevate the value of your home.
At Form we design German kitchens because, just like the creator of the Frankfurt kitchen, we believe that good design can improve or change the way people live.