German engineering meets kitchen comfort at Poggenpohl

Men will be pleased as plum to note that someone thought they need a kitchen. And made it the way they like it — it's one of those toys you can show off to friends over a drink you've just concocted at the built-in bar, while you watch a football match on the glass screen backsplash. The kitchen appliances like microwave and dishwasher come with touch-controls. See what I mean? Just skim your hands over a teeny-weeny bulb and the light swims in, flooding the kitchen worktop. The kitchen is all sleek, black, angular, built by the Porsche Design Group, much like they would have designed a car I suppose. And what more do you want? It only costs a cool crore and more — more fodder for conversation.

Poggenpohl, the German luxury kitchen brand recently opened its doors to Bangaloreans, inviting everyone to ogle at what 115 years of experience in kitchen-building can produce. And boy is that something!

But even as I wonder aloud what man would want such a kitchen when the average cooking repertoire doesn't go beyond scrambled egg, Hamendra Sharma assures me there have already been enquiries from men for the Porsche Design Kitchen P' 7340. Hamendra, managing partner, Poggenpohl India, admits that though the “kitchen for men” may be a pure marketing strategy to get people to start talking about it, it's not such a far-fetched idea. “People who buy this kitchen will tinker around with it, use it as a piece of furniture to show off…bring the kitchen out of the kitchen. It's for men who look upon cooking as therapy,” he explains. There's a wow factor to them, with features that impress men, but they are practical too. Moreover, observes Hamendra, “Porsche cars are for men, but women drive them too!”

Hamendra talks of how they've already been selling kitchens in Bangalore even without a store — they've flown down clients to their showroom in Mumbai to discuss their dream kitchens! That's the kind of niche clientele they are talking about. Poggenpohl kitchens really are for those households where the wife cooks in the “show” kitchen once in a while, while the staff cooks daily in the “other” kitchen, says Hamendra. He also points out that there is a “strong kitchen tradition in the South, while in the North, not much sentiment is attached to the kitchen. They are still maharaj-dependent”.

But one must give it to German engineering, and 115 years of kitchen-making — some of the features are delightful. Corners are not wasted and converted into revolving storage spaces. Tall ladder units with adjustable shelves that can slide in and out of walls are a blessing in any space-starved home. Extractor hoods/chimneys come designed with aerodynamic technology, and swoosh all the smell out of the kitchen, while looking fancifully unlike chimneys — they're sometimes placed on the counter just over the cooking-top.

Cleaning can be a song – just empty out the PVC baskets inside the units and wipe them clean. The drawers and units are generously spacious; many have automated lighting systems that switch on when you open the door.

Most of these kitchens come with handle-less technology — you can close and open drawers and overhead hatches just pressing your fingers on them. They slide smoothly out and back in place, without a bang! Hamendra's wife and business partner Rati Sharma points out these features as she walks me through the store, and says they have made Poggenpohl a hit in Mumbai, even among working-couple households.

Some are classic all-white kitchens, while others are pure wood. But most are sleek, classy, minimalist, angular and steely ones, with veneer surfaces, and with kitchen taps and sinks that look like pieces of art. The sinks come with cover-plates that can be used as cutting boards. Segregated multiple garbage bins slide out and open-mouthed, when you are ready to scoop the vegetable peels off the kitchen counters and straight into the bin.

Of course there are some kitchens with very fancy features too — such as the remote-operated marble dining desk — press a button and two parallel tables open out with space in between to fit in trolleys with food, cutlery, champagne buckets, a teppanyaki grill, and other accessories.

The studio here also has modulars of wardrobes for bedrooms, and living-room cabinets, with the core features essentially remaining the same.

Poggenpohl is at No 37, 4th B cross, 5th block, Industrial Layout Koramangala (near Jyothi Nivas College). Call 25504444/ 99007-1000.