Featured Chef Philipp Beyeler
Award-Winning Designer Philipp BeyelerWinner of numerous international design awards, the Swiss designer Philipp Beyeler brings a new approach to the world of kitchenware. His designs include the colorful Kuhn Rikon Hotpan Cook & Serve Set, winner of three international awards: the 2008 Design Plus Award, the Good Design Award and the iF Product Design Award 2007. The 2008 Design Plus Award was also given to his designs for the Kuhn Rikon Easy-Squeeze Garlic Press and Kuhn Rikon Nonstick Knives Colori, which also received the Grand Prix de L'Art de vivre in Paris.
Currently Beyeler is designing exclusively for Kuhn Rikon, including a collaboration with Kuhn Rikon USA to create products that will capture the imagination of the American market. Kuhn Rikon is the #1 brand of Swiss cookware and cooks' tools, marrying Swiss design with American ingenuity to make cooking seriously fun.
You specialize in designing kitchenware. Do you like to cook?
I love cooking, and I get great satisfaction out of developing new things for the kitchen. That's why I have quite a personal relationship with the gadgets I design. Cooking and eating always involve emotions, and I want to support these emotions with good products.
Do you and your wife cook together?
We both like to cook. However, cooking together is rather difficult as we have very different approaches. I love to simply throw some things together from the groceries that happen to be in the kitchen. My wife, on the other hand, prefers to follow recipes and measure things accordingly. With my recent recipe for "Tea Risotto," my creativity may have reached - or crossed - the border of successful experimentation in the kitchen.
When did you get started in product design?
It started early in childhood while I was playing with LEGOs. Next to the usual things such as trains, houses and cars, I loved to build kitchen appliances with LEGOs. I still remember my famous LEGO "Chocolate Milk Maker" - especially memorable is the sour smell of the milk stains on it.
Where did you study?
I studied at the Institute for Design in Aarau, Switzerland, and then I went to Thailand to study at the International School of Design Bangkok, which was one of the most intensive and instructive times of my life so far.
What did you learn when you were studing in Bangkok?
The most important lesson I learned in Bangkok was to look at things from every imaginable angle. What we consdier as beautiful in Europe can have a totally different meaning in other cultures. This realization helped me expand my focus and is surely helping me in my work today.
Where do you get your ideas for new products?
I get inspiration from close observation of everyday life. New ideas are born all the time. I use my imagination to produce a virtual film of the new product for my inner eye to see. Then it's easier for me to implement.
How important is color in your designs?
Color is very important in design. The right color can enhance a good design. With color one can highlight certain product features. However, the right color often depends on the kind of product. At the moment you will find many strong, bright colors, but I believe the trend will be to more mellow colors.
Which product makes you the most proud?
One of my favorite products is certainly the Hotpan Cook & Serve Set. I feel a real emotional connection to it. However, the product that excites me the most is generally the one I'm working on at the moment.
What do you like to cook in the Hotpan Cook & Serve Set?
Hardly a day passes when the Hotpan is not in use in our house. Since my wife and I seldom arrive home for dinner at the same time, both of us can enjoy a fresh, hot meal because the Serving Shell keeps the food hot at the table. I like to finish cooking food off the stove in the insulated Serving Shell. This slow cooking technique has encouraged me to try many new recipes. The other day I was able to perfect a Pad Thai recipe with this technique.
What do you like to make in a pressure cooker?
We use the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Pressure Cooker for foods that normally have longer cooking times, like potatoes and legumes. One of my favorite pressure cooker recipes is Risotto with Asparagus. What I like about the Duromatic is that it is a simple, space saving and inexpensive "fast cooking machine."
What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?
That changes often as we develop new and exciting kitchen gadgets all the time. At the moment I love the new Kuhn Rikon Silicone Turner. If I have to cut something, I look for the colored nonstick Kuhn Rikon Utility Knife in my drawer. These tools combine ergonomics with perfect function and, of course, beautiful design.
What are the biggest challenges in product design?
It can be a challenge to work around the constraints and parameters set by manufacturers and technicians. We also need to communicate with consumers so they understand the ideas behind the product and will be happy to use the new creation on a daily basis.