Otl Aicher and Bulthaup
The kitchen for cooking and the kitchen for living.
In the 1980s, Gerd Bulthaup, the founder’s son, took over the reins of the company, and it was under his direction that Bulthaup made the leap in quality that would have transformed it into the undisputed leader in the premium kitchen sector. Gerd Bulthaup, passionate about architecture, Bauhaus philosophy and timeless design, collaborated with Otl Aicher, one of the most important and successful designers in Germany, to analyze the act of cooking and determine its cultural, ergonomic and functional components.
Gerd commissioned Aicher to create a new corporate identity for the company, but Aicher thought that a corporate identity was only truly effective when it reflected the vision and way of working of a company, so he decided to study the world of cooking thoroughly.
For twelve months, Aicher visited numerous renowned restaurants and tasted the menus of Europe. However, he was not only interested in the dishes themselves, but rather in the way of preparation, organization and functionality of the different kitchens.
He went through all the cooking utensils, asked professional chefs if they preferred gas or electric stoves, wanted to know if they would stack or hang pots and pans and measure the height of their stoves, cabinets and countertops. Has become a best seller and a point of reference for kitchen designers and kitchen lovers in general. The result of this collaboration eventually materialized in Aicher’s classic book “The Kitchen for Cooking”.
“Designers who don’t cook shouldn’t be entrusted with the design of kitchens.” Otl Aicher, 1982
The joint effort of these two visionaries has led to highly innovative developments such as the Bulthaup b system, launched in 1984 – a kitchen furniture system based on the re-evaluation of work done in the kitchen with a primary focus on ergonomics – and the workbench. KWB, since 1988 – An independent functional unit that has brought together all essential work areas in one element with an ergonomic design.
Aicher designed a new logo for the company, but also changed Bulthaup’s design in such a way as to become a reference for kitchen design and transformed the kitchen into a living space shared by all the inhabitants of a house. Ultimately, Aicher’s goal was to bring family life and conversation back to the kitchen and have a “kitchen for living” instead of a “kitchen for cooking”.