The new Strato Matt range proves just how cosy the trend tone of onyx black looks. The timeless elegance of the matt fronts receives the necessary warmth through finely tuned accents in ash ponds. Photo: Schüller Küchen
With its headquarters at Herrieden, Franconia, Schüller Möbelwerk KG was founded in 1966 by Otto Schüller, and over the past 50 years, has become a specialist in bespoke kitchens made in Germany. Every year at the company's operating base, 1,529 employees produce over 120,000 kitchens which are sold in Germany as well as on international markets. With turnover of € 449 million in 2017, Schüller is one of today's top five in the industry.
Typical of Schüller are an exceptional level of vertical integration, a partnership-based working relation with the retail trade as well as corporate responsibility. The family-owned company has been run by Markus Schüller, Max Heller and Manfred Niederauer since in 2003 in the second generation. In the industry statements, Markus Schüller talks about colour, function and intelligence of modern kitchens and about the importance of design.
Why has the kitchen once again become such an important part of our domestic culture?
A long time ago, contemporary kitchens stepped out from behind the shadow of their real raison d’être, fulfilling a function, and evolved into a central hub within the home. The kitchen is a diverse living space for more than just cooking – it’s a place where people live and stage their personalities. The increasing importance of the kitchen naturally means that the standards for form, function and ergonomics are also rising.
The undisputed highlight of the Schüller C. Collection is the ultra-practical OrgaWall. Thanks to the charging station for Smartphone, iPad and Co. it is also a communication centre. Photo: Schüller Küchen
How important is design when it comes to conveying ‘inner value’?
The form of a product is to a certain extent its outer shell, its calling card – it’s the first thing that people perceive and the first to arouse emotions, whether they’re positive or negative. By buying the product, the customer has the opportunity to put its aesthetic promise to the test in practice.
Which direction will the development of kitchens take and what importance will they have in domestic life in 10 to 15 years’ time?
The kitchen’s basic function will not change fundamentally in the future: it is and will remain the centre of life, a place where food is stored and prepared and where the required equipment is cleaned. What is very likely to increase is the intelligence of technical appliances – the keyword here is smart kitchens – and the size of space available will also change, especially in the cities. With high rents and micro-apartments, small kitchens are on the rise.
The fitted kitchen is a German invention from the 1950s. It went on to conquer the whole world, and its appearance has kept on changing as its popularity spread. What makes German fitted kitchens so popular in other countries?
The German kitchen furniture industry is very highly rated because of its decades of experience and expertise in innovation, design, quality and technology – and the label “Made in Germany” benefits from this.
How do you see the future role of Cologne as a key location for the kitchen sector and what will the importance of the public days be?
To support and promote the international popularity of the German kitchen furniture industry, Germany needs an international kitchen show. Cologne’s international orientation makes it a highly suitable stage to present the domestic market, and this is why we fully support it as an industry showcase.
The public days are a crucial source of information for us because, as a manufacturer, you can’t get any closer to the user’s needs and wants. For end customers, it’s a chance to speak to the manufacturers directly and to answer any questions.
The kitchen is becoming the centre of our homes again. Is kitchen design moving further away from pure functionality to offer greater comfort? And what does that mean for you as a kitchen manufacturer in terms of colours and materials?
Comfort in the kitchen is very topical at the moment. After years of white kitchens, colour designs are now more in demand than ever before. But of course, colour doesn’t have to mean bright, striking and eccentric; shades of grey and black are also popular – from light crystal grey to elegant agate grey or muted lava black. In terms of materiality, comfort is created by using authentic, high-quality materials such as wood, glass or ceramic.
Rectilinear, timeless, open - and above all functional: the next125 by Schüller. Photo: Schüller Küchen
Kitchen design is going through radical changes at the moment. Closed walls are being opened up, and open structures are breathing more life into the kitchen. What role does design play in modern kitchens?
It’s been clear to us for a long time that the importance of design in the kitchen is increasing. And it’s no surprise: in addition to its basic function, the kitchen has increasingly evolved into a lifestyle product. With a large selection of fronts, colours and functions combined with striking design elements – wall-hanging carcasses or “single comfort units” such as cooking tables and sideboards – kitchen dreams of a kind never seen before can become a reality. They reflect their users’ personalities right down to the smallest detail.
Increasing urbanisation is resulting in a growing shortage of living space. How can small kitchens be visually attractive and make optimal use of their storage space?
In small kitchens in particular, carefully selected, high-quality materials are an asset. This is why it’s essential to make optimal use of the available space. The first step is to take account of any special planning features: extra-high carcasses that provide space for an additional drawer or wall units that work well in glass because of their airy effect. But the design should also consider smart systems for the niches that provide space-saving storage for cooking utensils, herbs and similar items, or special solutions for drawers and pull-outs made from real wood or non-woven material. With ideas like these, all the required utensils can be stored in a way that saves space but is also aesthetically appealing.
Light is increasingly becoming a design element in the home. It is not just a vision aid, but a design object in its own right. How important is light for kitchens?
Light can create emotions and act as a stage for individual areas of the kitchen. With their compact size, new energy-saving LED illuminants can be fitted even in hard-to-access places such as on the rear wall of panel shelf units or in panel profiles. Illuminated handles not only provide atmospheric lighting – they also make the worktop appear to float and emphasise the horizontal in the kitchen’s lines.
Photo: Markus Schüller
Markus Schüller (*1972) grew up with kitchen furniture almost in his blood as his father founded Schüller Möbelwerk KG in 1966. After training as a banker and studying Business Administration, he has lent both his talent for numbers and flair for design and materials to the family-run business for the past 21 years. As CEO Sales and Marketing, he manages the fortunes of the company.