FOLD: Bespoke luxury kitchen - monumental design statement
Designer kitchen with a smart touch
What a spectacular silhouette: an art piece, more than a kitchen, the massive block of brass with a striking shape appears to be floating above the floor. The sublime lines of the high-end designer kitchen are borrowed from the Asian art of paper folding, hence the name. The golden shimmering surfaces are made of tombak, an extremely hard and durable brass alloy. With his creation, Martin Steininger has managed to tame the archaic power of metal. "Character can be shaped, but never bent," is the credo of the international designer and interior designer from Austria.
There is more behind the extraordinary form. FOLD combines purism and exquisite materials with smart connectivity: The M.POD, a worktop with 32-inch touchscreen connects kitchen, home, and internet. It is a digital cookbook, shopping planner and the perfect entertainment centre. The specially hardened and optically bonded safety glass meets all the requirements of a kitchen worktop.
AWARD-WINNING DESIGN KITCHEN
It seems as if the mastermind behind STEININGER has already erected a monument with the luxury kitchen FOLD. Although it shouldn't be the only one: its timeless architecture and luxurious designs have won multiple awards. Some of them have what it takes to become classics. His international clientele - including industrialists, celebrities, and music producers - comes from metropolises such as Vienna, London, New York, Moscow, and Dubai. And the fan base is growing.
Despite state-of-the-art production, Martin Steininger and his team feel committed to the handicraft tradition of the family business: Whether furniture, interior or smooth plaster wall on a new building project - the finishing touches are always done by hand, also by the master himself.
It's no different with FOLD. None of the one-of-a-kind items made according to individual specifications go out to the customer before Martin Steininger has examined them closely. In an interview, the perfectionist – who is still drawing the first sketches of ideas on paper – tells us about the origins of FOLD, where his passion for kitchens comes from and what is planned for the future.
MARTIN, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DESIGNING KITCHENS AND WHERE DOES THE PASSION FOR IT COME FROM?
„In 2010 we presented the first model, the PURE concrete kitchen. Designing a kitchen with all functionalities is complex. In the private sphere, it is becoming more and more public because cooking and dining areas are increasingly merging. These are challenges that appeal to me as a designer, especially since I also like to cook. Another aspect is that I rarely have time for my family in the evenings. So why not combine our joy of cooking and good food with the useful and be together more often? But since there was no kitchen that met my expectations, I just had to design one. STEININGER has been making tailor-made designer kitchens ever since".
WHAT IS THE STEININGER DNA IN KITCHEN DESIGN?
„My typical vision is clear, simple, special. Sometimes with a little 'salt and sprinkles', i.e., somewhat earthy, and more natural materials, to underline the contrast to the austerity. Order is also important to me. I like it when everything is tidy and visually reduced, but I must like it. That means: It must not be obtrusive, but it should not come across as cold and impersonal either."
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FROM THE FIRST PLANS TO THE FINISHED DESIGNER KITCHEN, WHAT WERE THE PITFALLS?
„I carried the idea around with me for a long time. Then it had to mature in my head until I had put the first line on paper. Today it takes about a year from the planning, through the construction, the detailed execution to series production. The polygonal surface with difficult edge intersections in all angles and degree variants was particularly challenging.
We spent months cutting and welding the high-quality brass tombac until they got the perfect kink.
Making the FOLD so perfect and configuring it individually is only possible with a computer. A computer-based manufacturing technique forms the kitchen block with millimetre precision, and the surface is finished by hand. In the end, no kitchen goes out without our checking and refining by hand."
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO MATERIAL AND FORM?
"I am interested in noble materials. Tombak is a wonderful material that create its own patina, showing its history. And then I thought, how can this be shaped? Brass can be cut, edged, folded, and welded. That's exactly what we did. It should look unique and still be functional.
Traditionally, the golden shimmering tombac was used to make jewellery and watches. Due to the high copper content, the brass has a very beautiful and warm appearance. It looks a bit like gold."
STEININGER SETS ANOTHER MILESZONE WITH THE M.POD. HOW DID THE AMBITIOUS SMART CONCEPT COME ABOUT?
„The kitchen is the hub of the home. People cook, discuss, drink and celebrate, this is where the best parties take place. Since it is tedious to handle between crumbs and spilled milk on the iPad. So, we improved it, made it bigger, adapted it to kitchen-related needs and equipped it with many entertainment apps. The M.POD is an intuitive touch panel that is indestructible as a work surface and defies kitchen dirt. It is the central hub of the kitchen and smart home: Whether reading your favourite recipe, ordering groceries online or turning up the music, everything is possible. And with the integrated DJ turntables, the kitchen becomes a disco.”
WHAT ROLE DOES SUSTAINABILITY PLAY IN YOUR PRODUCTION?
„In my view, that starts with the visual design. It should be timeless and of high quality so that users can enjoy it for decades. This applies to everything, whether kitchen, design furniture or our architecture. We consciously use the materials and production techniques. Everything that is no longer needed later can be returned to the environment or can be recycled.”
WHO IS THE FOLD DESIGN KITCHEN INTENDED FOR?
„People with passion and attention to detail, who like to be around aesthetic, high-quality and durable things. Anyone who enjoys the form, materiality and high-tech functionality will be enchanted by this kitchen.”
AND IT WASN'T YOUR LAST EXPERIMENT WITH SEEMINGLY ARCHAIC METALS.
BRASS, STEEL, COPPER AND ZINC - THE FOLD WILL BE AVAILABLE IN OTHER METALS AND ALLOYS.
„Yes, it will be exciting again, because each material has its very own character.
Models made of copper and zinc are planned. In addition to the version in brass, we already have the FOLD in BLACK made of black steel. A raw steel that is exposed to extremely high temperatures, giving it its typical blue-black patina."
IS THE LUXURY KITCHEN FOLD MADE TO MEASURE?
„The FOLD is available in standard sizes specified by our manufactory; However, these luxury models are made to measure at the customer's request - i.e. with millimetre precision. Models in the 'standard sizes' mentioned can be seen at the headquarters and in selected STEININGER monobrand stores."
"CHARACTER CAN BE FORMED, BUT NEVER BENT."
CEO & Chefdesigner Martin Steininger