Pop-up restaurants, showrooms, television and design challenges: These age-old kitchen brands are cooking up ways to stay on the cutting edge.

By Samantha Myers

Photo courtesy Siematic, America’s Test Kitchen

In addition to their distinguished, luxury appliances and product collections, well-established kitchen brands such as Gaggenau, SieMatic and Thermador are finding creative ways to stay fresh and innovative across the contemporary landscape.

“Sometimes to move forward, it’s good to look back,” says Natascha Kruusi, head of marketing for the luxury lifestyle brand Gaggenau. “Three hundred and thirty three years marks more than just the beginning of Gaggenau; it epitomizes the journey into both the past and the future.” Looking back is exactly what the German-originated brand did with the creation of Restaurant 1683, a New York City-based, pop-up restaurant with a carefully crafted setting focused on evoking the company’s roots.

Headed by Three Michelin Star Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park, the short-lived, but impactful Restaurant 1683 transported guests to Germany’s Black Forest. Bringing together innovative technology, immersive décor and fine cuisine, Restaurant 1683 was an all-encompassing, multi-sensory epicurean experience. “The mood was mystical. With the re-creation of the Black Forest, the space became a surreal oasis from the bustle of the outside urban streets,” Kruusi says. “You could hear the forging of nails, the sound of the water from the waterfall, smell the scent of real trees and moss, and, of course, the aroma of the beautiful food.”

For four nights, the pop-up restaurant hosted 44 guests, beginning with a cocktail reception that moved into a lively dining area, all designed by architect Hendrik Muller, who has also created Gaggenau showrooms. With its latest products gracing the open kitchens set among a story-telling, engineered setting, Gaggenau married its history with its contemporary face.

“Gaggenau is a luxury brand like no other, thanks to its unique and long heritage,” Kruusi says. “Time only can build such savoir-faire, exposing the maturity of engineering and a vision that has evolved and revealed itself over centuries.” Restaurant 1683 is the first event of a three-year initiative to host surprise, invite-only events to occur over the country.

“By bringing together timeless design and craftsmanship with exclusive culinary culture, we have created the ultimate, luxurious brand experience,” Kruusi says.

Photos courtesy Gaggenau

Another famed German kitchen manufacturer, SieMatic, designs highly functional kitchen cabinets and storage solutions, and stays fresh through symbiotic partnerships. The company fosters visibility on multiple platforms; with representation at the popular showroom PIRCH SoHo, NYC as well as on the hit TV show America’s Test Kitchen.

“PIRCH is changing the face of retail, with a truly immersive experience with the industry’s leading luxury brands,” says Hans Henkes, president and CEO of SieMatic Möbelwerke USA. “SieMatic’s inclusion in the PIRCH flagship showroom gives our target buyer the opportunity to fully engage with our products and visualize them in their homes,” Henkes says.

The user-friendly showroom is an ideal spot for kitchen brands to offer customers an interactive approach to home shopping, and fits SieMatic’s shift from product releases to its kitchen style categories. Each style collection — Classic, Pure and Urban — is featured at the showroom. Additionally, SieMatic’s presence on America’s Test Kitchen, the highest-rated instructional cooking show on television, allows more than 2 million viewers each week to witness transitional SieMatic designs as a backdrop to chefs challenging classic recipes.

Photos courtesy Siematic, Pirch SOHO

To celebrate its 100th anniversary last year, iconic luxury American appliance brand Thermador implemented a countrywide Kitchen Design Challenge, looking for the most inspiring kitchens featuring its products.

“For a century, Thermador has been devoted to creating innovative appliances that provide ultimate performance for culinary enthusiasts — and we have been an integral part of how the design and function of the kitchen has evolved over the decades,” says Zack Elkin, director of brand management. “Our commitment to the Kitchen Design Challenge enables us to celebrate the talented designers who utilize Thermador to bring the heart of the home to life for their clients with unique, personalized details — and inspired us by breaking convention and re-thinking what is possible for the kitchen.”

While Thermador Kitchen Design Challenges have taken place in the past, the centennial contest was larger than ever, in order to honor the brand’s 100-year history of shaping the home kitchen. This history includes the invention of the first wall oven and cooktop in 1947 as well as the introduction of stainless steel into kitchen. While Thermador continues to produce innovative appliances, the company wants to praise those who incorporate their products through motivating design.

“These trade professionals are a big part of why Thermador is a leader in luxury kitchens, and their designs have inspired us to continually innovate and bring forth appliances that challenge the status quo,” says Beatriz Sandoval, director of brand marketing.

The design challenge encouraged Thermador integration from budding talent to seasoned designers. With over $110,000 in prizes, regional winners (who will be announced this summer) will be invited to an upcoming gala where they will be up for high-value national awards. The top award categories include Best Use of  Thermador Refrigeration, Contemporary/Modern design, Traditional/Transitional and Designer’s Choice.

Photos courtesy Thermador