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Jackie Daly, Managing Editor, KBB Magazine

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Scholtès - Cathedral of Change

It can be argued that those who have vision for change can see in the dark, an ability to stand on the precipice of acceptance, stare into the black abyss of the unknown and gain inspiration from what others cannot see. These inspired moments of insight are rare and the people and institutions that experience them are few but it only takes one inspired thought to wipe the slate clean and create a movement for change.
The kitchen industry in one such area where change is beginning to occur and there is one company in particular that appears brave enough to invest in a new ideal.  Is it possible that premium appliance brand Scholtès could be putting its money where its mouth is and inciting a revolution within the kitchen industry? 
Like many companies they claim to stand for professionalism and excellence but where they are different is in the pursuit of their ideals.  Instead of opening a flagship showroom they decided to open a “Centre of Excellence”, a space that challenges what we know and presents some serious new questions.  It is clear by looking at the images released by the press office that Scholtès and designer Patricia Urquiola have taken the existing showroom model, shredded it and rebuilt the mangled wreckage into a Cathedral of change! 
Stumbling upon Scholtès for the first time it merely seemed that this was a company marketing themselves in a different way, but upon further investigation by The Mogul it appears that Scholtès actually get it!!  They understand the important role kitchen designers play in the enrichment of people’s lives.   This is a company who seem to appreciate the complexities of kitchen design, promoting a multi levelled approached which manifests itself in all kinds of ways.  Scholtès youthful approach demonstrates a passionate desire to do things differently, consciously ignoring tried and tested methods in order to encourage new ideas, models and processes.
Their unorthodox investigation into the influence of kitchen design has recently led to a dramatic performance in their Centre of Excellence.  A specially commissioned theatre piece entitled “A Moment on the Lips” explored how the kitchen can be seen as a metaphor for life!  To The Mogul this performance was a “light bulb moment”, a point of realisation, illuminating the dark design shadow lands where kitchen design had been banished and presenting a new path of recognition and understanding for kitchen designers to walk.   Brilliant! 
So here we have a company who are seeing past the products they sell, past the cabinetry and past the bottom line financials, actively exploring the social complexities of the kitchen and in doing so reshaping the commercial interface between manufacturer and end user.  Is it also possible that by doing things differently and having the ability to see answers in the dark Scholtès will become a catalyst for industry change; unwittingly educating the public and other design disciplines about the power and influence of kitchen design. 
If they manage to pull that one off The Mogul will be the first to give them a pat on the back!

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