Craft and industry often appear to be antipodes. But sometimes they are closer than it seems. Many serial products – even the clean and technical ones – in- volve a high level of handwork. An example of this is Gaggenau’s home appliances. “Hand-finishing is the only way to put soul into the products”, says Sven Baacke, head of design at the company.

During this year’s Salone del Mobile, Gaggenau was present at various spots in Milan. At Palazzo Litta, the manufacturer collaborated with architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, providing kitchen appliances for his specially-designed courtyard pavilion – a project initiated by DAMN° and Mosca Partners.

An authentic blacksmith referred to the company’s past as an ironworks Photos: Gaggenau
At the Eurocucina kitchen fair running in parallel, Gaggenau marked its anniversary with a historical journey. The booth designed by Munich-based architecture firm eins:33 showcased milestones from its establishment in the Black Forest in 1683 to the present day.

To commemorate the company’s origins in black- smithing, artisans hammered a historic anvil, filling the air with the sonorous rhythm of their beats. The walkabout continued through to innovations like the blue enamel that has been used for its oven interiors since 1908 and is still one of the brand’s distinguishing marks, and the newest product: a refined version of the signature 90-centimetre oven. Its name, EB 333, is a tribute to Gaggenau’s anniversary, while the purist, timeless design stays close to the original 90-centimetre oven fist introduced in 1986. Like its predecessors, the EB 333 will be crafted almost entirely by hand in Lipsheim, on the German-French border.

After the fair, the exhibition moved to BASE, a newly established venue in Milan’s Zona Tortona neighbourhood. As part of the current XXI Trienniale: Design after Design, visitors can plunge into the history of the company until 12 September, to experience 333 years of making.

This article appeared in DAM56. Order your personal copy.