In the heart of the Black Forest, Gaggenau combines technology and craftsmanship to make enduring appliances.
BY STEPHEN PULVIRENT
Rich deposits of iron and a workforce of poor local farmers made 17th-century Gaggenau, Germany, the perfect place to start an ironworks. In 1683, Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden founded his workshop in the small town near the French border from which it gets its name, and put hammer to anvil to make nails and small metal objects under the canopy of the Black Forest
Now, 333 years later, Gaggenau’s operation has evolved to fit comfortably in the 21st-century, making kitchen appliances known for their Jetsons-esque functionality and a indomitable sleekness in Lipsheim, France, where a second facility was opened in the ’70s. To get from rivets to its cutting-edge ovens and cooktops, Gaggenau took a circuitous path, making everything from commercial signage to motorbikes along the way—some of which are subtly referenced in current offerings. “Over the years Gaggenau has made many things, including some funny things,” says head of design Sven Baacke, “but what they really did was learn how to focus.”
With that, the company honed in its metalworking craft, all the while pushing forward with new technology. Today, that founding expertise is combined with technical know-how that has become equally as important to the ethos of the brand: intricate copper wiring, electronics manufacturing, and detailed metal shaping all take place inside the Lipsheim factory to create complex products like the 400 Series ovens. Introduced in 2013, the line of stainless steel appliances has become a pillar of Gaggenau for its way of fitting seamlessly into the world’s best—and best-designed—kitchens. It is out of a secluded workshop that these seemingly everyday products are created in a way that’s anything but ordinary. >