Poggenpohl rep: We make a difference in the details, market positioning, and people we work with
Poggenpohl Export Sales Director talks about the heritage kitchen brand's design philosophy and its latest collaboration with Kuysen Enterprises
January 15, 2020
Introduction and interview by Denny Mata
Photos courtesy of Kuysen
Poggenpohl, the oldest kitchen brand in the world founded by Friedemir Poggenpohl, has over 120 years of business and experience in 70 countries around the globe. While the German kitchen brand has been in the Philippines for three decades, it did not have its flagship showroom in the country until the end of 2019, through the collaboration of Poggenpohl and Kuysen Enterprises.
Kuysen Enterprises President Jensen Go believed it was the ‘right timing’ to venture into kitchen cabinets. “We were building our new showroom in Jupiter (in Makati City) and we were looking for kitchens to use ourselves and maybe to cooperate with in the future. So, the timing was perfect,” Go says. The next months were filled with meetings and flying in and out of Manila and Germany, and redoing one of Kuysen’s vacant spaces in Makati to carry the kitchen brand. “We met with Poggenpohl and figured out: What is the goal for the Filipino market? Where do we want to be five or ten years from now? Where does Poggenpohl wish to be? Who are our competitors? Who is the client base we want to target? From there, we decided that we can only do this with a proper flagship showroom,” he adds.
Here’s an excerpt of the rest of the interview:
BluPrint: You’ve been in the business for over a century. What about Poggenpohl’s 127-year-old design philosophy proves timeless and relevant up to now?
Mol: You can never make a timeless design. You will always find that new people and new designers come in. We continuously adapt to what’s coming out in the market, may it be new trends or new materials. We join international fairs like the Milan Fair, the EuroCucina, and local shows in Germany. We travel around and have experts to advise us because being 127 years on the top means you have to battle every year to keep your position. Think one step ahead of the competition. Listen to your customers and the designers to find the best possible setting out of this.
How do you think ahead of your competitors?
Mol: One thing that I will never say is that we are better than the other because there is no ‘better product.’ What we try to do is to add more value. Our goal is to be the best in class. We try to position our brand to give our clients the feeling that they got the brand. There’s only one way to explain this: If I walk at the airport with my Rimowa, I want to be seen with my Rimowa. If I buy a kitchen, I want the Poggenpohl kitchen. We expose the brand and aim for brand recognition. We make a difference in the details, in the market positioning, and in the people that we work with.
While staying true to Poggenpohl’s corporate identity, did you also consider adapting to the Philippine setting? If so, what adjustments did you take?
Mol: If there are adjustments, they will be in the details, and this is why we collaborate with our local partner. It must be seen as an acceptable adjustment in the design or the color style of the kitchen. We strive to have one common language, but for the rest, we do this in collaboration with our local dealer to make sure that we meet the local needs.
Go: Kuysen Enterprises is firm with its cooperation with its specifiers and designers, and we work closely with them to make sure that the designs of Poggenpohl will fit the Filipino market. At the same time, all kitchens are customized depending on the size and the design of the house.
Why do you think this area in Makati is the perfect location for the flagship showroom?
Go: First of all, it’s in the heart of Makati, which is the financial district. Secondly, we were already leasing this space for our other products. After completing the new showroom in Jupiter, we found this extra space. It’s on the ground floor, a high-exposure area, a high-end premium area, and so we believe it would be the perfect space for a brand as prestigious and as historical as Poggenpohl.
Were there any specific requirements or features that you wanted to see in the store?
Mol: What we had to look at was that we are in 70 countries, with 400 points of sale, and the customers need to be capable of identifying these in the ‘luxury’ atmosphere. They need to see from the outside that we have our signature. We found that the best way possible to translate this was—with the given square meters, setting and lighting, ceiling, and walling—to use elements from our corporate identity. We found the optimum by discussing: “What is the investment like? What is the exposure like? If we’d encase it, [what about] the shell?” Our goal is to create a luxury environment and be recognized as a Poggenpohl flagship store.
Go: What we’re trying to do is that if a client comes into the showrooms of Poggenpohl, he or she would see that the showrooms have the same corporate identity. Regardless if you’re in Manila or you go next year to the Milan showroom, it has to have the same premium and feeling befitting Poggenpohl.
Mol: We strive to make them feel comfortable. What we’re trying to translate here are inspirations of what the kitchen could be within their home setting.
Tell us more about the collections featured in the flagship showroom. How do these collections’ designs resonate with today’s market?
Mol: We feature five of our design lines, the ‘basic’ to building up your kitchen. Every design style that we present creates its environment. It can be open, floating, minimalistic, or even futuristic, but in the end, the kitchens featured just show the possibilities. We take the customer around and aim to inspire him by showing the different design styles. We ask the customers: “How do they live? Is the kitchen part of the living room? Do they have children? Do they get a lot of visitors? Do they cook often?” Then we try to create a kitchen around their living environment and their specifications.
Where do you plan to take Poggenpohl in the future?
Go: We have three showrooms right now. What we would like to try soon would be projects. Our initial target is the posh subdivisions, the high-end residential, the villas. There are a lot of high-end projects coming up. The Poggenpohl name has been used already before, with the previous distributor. One notable example is One Roxas Triangle. Those would be the next steps. We are planning to go to Cebu and we might also bring the Poggenpohl brand there.
Mol: We are continually looking at possible points of sale when we look at the big cities around the world, such as Rome and Paris. Although these cities are close by, they still don’t have a Poggenpohl flagship store. So, we will try to do this via our store development or finding a local partner to encourage us in a win-win situation. We always strive to have a more professional way of cooperation with our existing partners, at the same time, we’re looking for expansion.
Poggenpohl is in four Southeast Asian nations. Can you name a few projects that you were involved with, in these countries?
Mol: Bangkok. In Singapore, we’re going to start a very big project. We did Ardmore Three and Seven, and The Boutiq @ Killiney Road.
Are you open to collections or collaborations with Filipino designers?
Mol: It’s not that feasible for us to collaborate at this moment but it could very well be if Kuysen decides to collaborate with a well-known Filipino designer and organizes an event using our facilities and product range to create local specifications around the Poggenpohl kitchen.
Go: Kuysen has such good relationships with our local partners—specifiers, interior designers, architects—and it would not be impossible to cooperate with them. Filipinos are very artistic and very good in architecture and design. There’s always an opportunity, and it would be fantastic to have this in the future.