You may remember the last post I wrote about Miele following BlogTourNYC when we had the opportunity to visit the Miele showroom at the D&D building? It was a fantastic event that was laid on for us and we were treated to some absolutely delicious food cooked up by Miele Table Artist, and rising chef Adam Schop who gave us some great insights into what can be achieved with Miele Culinary appliances.
Well, following this event I was pretty excited to see what Miele would be launching at imm cologne this year. And luckily I was not going to be disappointed as LivingKitchen was to be the platform on which Miele would present its brand new generation of built-in appliances. Generation 6000 is a range of wall ovens, steam cookers, coffee machines, cooker hoods and microwave ovens that feature innovative user interfaces making them easier to use, more convenient, faster and more efficient than ever before.
The new range comes in two separate design lines: PureLine and Contourline, both of which shape the image of the Generation 6000 range. Regardless of which line you select, all the appliances in the new range feature Miele’s latest innovations.
There were certain things about this range that I particularly liked, apart from the aesthetics, which are just beautiful. I love that innovative coffee machine with the self-adjusting spout. I don’t know about you, but in my house early morning cries of frustration as my husband tries to manoeuvre his slightly too tall espresso cup under the spout and then remove it without spilling all the coffee from the cup are a far too frequent occurrence. This would solve all out problems and make that early morning coffee ritual far more enjoyable.
Steam ovens are are also on my radar right now. Again we couldn’t live without our steamer and we have recently taken to steaming everything. However our steamer is just one of those little portable steaming machines, which is great, but it does take up a lot of counter space, so I would love to have a built in steam oven…oh wait, make that a built-in combination oven…I only have a small kitchen so can’t have 2 ovens and I like my regular oven too.
The final thing I want to flag up are the user-friendly interfaces. I would much rather have a user interface that is as easy to use as my smart phone. Many appliances have such great features but most people don’t use them as you need to study the manual to find out how it works. With these new interfaces, using our appliances should become less of a hassle and more of pleasure!
Having viewed the new appliance at LivingKitchen, I wanted to know more about this great new range and I was just about to contact Miele to ask for an interview with their Chief Designer when I opened the press pack and low and behold in typical efficient Miele style they had done the job for me! So below is an interview that Miele conducted with Andrea Enslin who has been responsible for the design of Miele appliances since 2006.
What does design mean to Miele?
Design makes our brand visible and perceptible, offers orientation and provides an explanation of the product. Before setting about designing products, we first address the expectations and aspirations of our clients and try to shape the relationship between consumers and products. Design is used by the manufacturers of branded goods to give expression to their self-image and values.
What is Miele’s self-image?
From the ‘Forever Better’ credo coined by the founding fathers, Miele derives a focus on quality which is unparalleled throughout the industry. Our design stands for values which define our brand: innovation, fascination and perceived value. It also stands for timelessness as kitchen cabinetry and built-in appliances are durable products used over a period of many years. We therefore make every effort to to design our products in such a way as to ensure that they do not age prematurely, neither aesthetically nor technically speaking. And to do that, we need to have a profound knowledge of our customers’ current and future needs – and to take these seriously.
In what ways does the Generation 6000 design differ from that of the previous range
The world is constantly changing and, with it, the habits and needs of our customers. We monitor such changes diligently and take a close look at what implications this may have on our future products. Our observations have identified three main trends which we believe will shape people’s needs regarding built-in kitchen appliances for many years to come.
And what are these trends?
Firstly, two trends heading in very different directions emerged: high-end open-plan kitchens as part of a move towards a merging of the kitchen with living and dining areas are typically encountered in new-build homes, whereas older properties tend to have separate kitchens and dining areas. Secondly, we noticed a growing demand among consumers for a reduction in complexity as a reaction to permanent information overload and stimulus saturation. This has resulted in a pronounced trend towards ‘simple’ solutions. And, thirdly, very early on in designing our Generation 6000 we realised that the success of smartphones with their touch controls would impact the way domestic appliances are operated.
And what consequences does this have on generation 6000 design, starting with the collection of living worlds?
These two concepts – the open plan and the separate kitchen – require distinctly different design approaches. Either an oven is intended to look like an oven or it is part of the cabinetry and, as such, an element of design. And that is why Miele is presenting two very different design lines with the advent of Generation 6000.
How do these design lines differ from one another?
The one, Pure Line, is low-key and minimalistic and perfectly lends itself to contemporary to modern kitchen styles on account of its smooth and coloured surfaces and its spacious appeal. Pureline is always going to be the range of choice when it is a matter of integrating appliances into the cabinetry of open-plan kitchens. Consumers and planners can select from three frontage colours, including Havana Brown, which comes into its own in combination with warm, natural tones and veneers.
Contourline, in contrast, has a more technical appeal underlined by greater weather of detail, as expressed by the striking stainless steel frame. The integrated handle is milled from a single block of solid metal. this is felt to be something special as soon as one takes hold of it. Both lines have their own clear design and combine perfectly with other appliances from within the same line.
How does Generation 6000 with its broad range of models contribute towards reducing complexity?
With Generation 6000, consumers and dealers no longer need to give consideration to combination options with respect to appliances and cabinetry. Pureline is a model range available in four different surface finishes: the two classics ‘Stainless steel CleanSteel’ and ‘Brilliant White’ as well as two new colours – Obsidian Black and, as already mentioned, Havana Brown.
Contourline, on the other hand, associates best with classic kitchen designs. All appliances within one and the same line are a perfect match. Never before has there been such a ‘fleet design’ approach either at Miele or implemented by any other manufacturer of appliances. Even appliances with widely differing specifications and features harmonise perfectly, say for example a high-end wall oven with an entry-line steam cooker.
Does this imply that this new generation of products is chiefly an aesthetic upgrade and simply all about new colours and forms?
No, because at the same time we have developed a new cross-product user interface concept based on the same common basic principles. once familiar with the principle, all Miele appliances, from those with conventional rotary selectors and sensor push buttons to the touch displays on our new flagship models, are fast and simple to operate.
Therefore the choice of interface is simply a matter of personal preference. Even models with touch controls combine effortlessly with rotary selectors, thanks to the overarching concept and perfectly matching designs.
All models from the Generation 6000, for instance, feature an array of sensor switches with an On/Off switch milled into the glass screen, with further pushbuttons for basic machine functions. This array is located directly beneath the display and helps accentuate the horizontal, stretched design. And it goes without saying that identical functions are always to be found in the same place on the fascia.
What role do smartphones with their touch controls play in this respect, to return to the third trend we mentioned initially?
As we forecast as early as the beginning of 2007, touch controls have made extremely rapid inroads – and not without good reason. Their popularity lies in the fact that they are modern and embrace future needs and cater for calls for simple, intuitive interfaces which boil things down to the essentials.
And how has Miele prepared itself for the age of the smartphone?
Our ‘M Touch’ controls will set new standards in the branch. ‘M Touch’ represents a high resolution colour TFT touch display which is only available from Miele in this form. The user swipes or taps the screen in a manner familiar for smartphones to access all menu options at the touch of a fingertip. functions and menu options are ergonomic and appear in brilliantly clear black letters on a white background. The resolution alone was increased compared with the high-end display on the previous generation by factor of four. We have deliberately held back with the use of colours, though, as colours are very much subject to changes in perception over time. We have cut out the frills and the gimmicks to focus on what is really important and to make the controls highly intuitive. maximum individuality combined with minimum complexity – that is Generation 6000 from Miele.
I would like to thank Miele for taking all the hard work out of this post for me by interviewing Andreas Enslin about the new Generation 6000 range.