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Behind the Products We Know: Cabinetry


February 6, 2017

Cabinetry is like the skin of the kitchen and bath; it holds everything in and holds everything together. This week in our series on product designers, KBB looks at the designers of cabinetry – their challenges, their goals and how they create the pieces that make up our kitchen and bath spaces.

John-Troxell

John Troxell Jr.
Director of Design at Wood-Mode Cabinetry

Ulrich-Dahm-Wachsmann
Ulrich Dahm Wachsmann
Head of Design at Alno

MICHAEL SOLTOFF HEAD SHOT
Michael Soltoff
CEO of Eggersmann USA

 

The JOB

“Being a product designer covers a wide range of activities depending on the scope of our product line. In my role, I am involved in developing new door designs, new finishes and new cabinets along with a range of cabinet functions. It has also involved developing whole new product lines with new construction processes. There are times when we are looking at new materials that can be incorporated into the current product or a totally new line.”
                                                           – John Troxell Jr., director of design at Wood-Mode Cabinetry

“In the design department, we do continuous research on trends concerning architecture, fashion, automotive, other consumer goods and general cultural aspects. This is for an annual internal trend preview at the beginning of each year to develop new features for the next and following years.”
                                                                                 – Ulrich Dahm Wachsmann, head of design at Alno

“We are inspired by true beauty in natural materials and work to incorporate these ideas into creative functional development for the home cabinetry system.”
                                                                                               – Michael Soltoff, CEO of Eggersmann USA

alnoattract

“A good example for such an inspiring and motivating experience was the development of ALNOATTRACT,” said Wachsmann, adding that this kitchen model features oak cabinetry and black glass panels for a dramatic look.

The CHALLENGES

“Because of the ever-changing marketplace in terms of design trends, materials and technology – as well as the economy – it requires me to keep up on what is happening in our market at all levels, as well as what is developing in other related industries. While we sell mainly in the U.S., we also have to know what is being shown in other global markets – Europe in particular [since what starts there ends up here eventually.] Traveling to trade shows, keeping up with a range of publications and what our dealers are asking for is a time-consuming and rapidly changing process.”
                                                                       -John Troxell Jr., director of design at Wood-Mode Cabinetry

“My challenge is to implement new aspects of universal design and make sure a good product is continuously up to technical standards.”
                                                                              – Ulrich Dahm Wachsmann, head of design at Alno

“Once a material, idea, design or concept is created, it sometimes never can see the light of day for various reasons, like issues involving material make, the supplier can not provide or the material is too expensive to buyers. It can be frustrating to see this work passed over, but it is necessary to achieve the quality level we hold ourselves to.”
                                                                                                – Michael Soltoff, CEO of Eggersmann USA

INSPIRATION

“Inspiration can come from anywhere. It could be a museum show, an ad shot for some totally unrelated product, a historic piece of furniture or interior, a trade show or a magazine article. It could also be derived from an architectural space or a new material. We initially have to be open to how something could be used or incorporated into our product, what the function of the product or space is and how to do it best – opening ourselves to a lot ‘what if’s’ during the process.
– John Troxell Jr., director of design at Wood-Mode Cabinetry

“We find inspiration in traveling, visiting fairs, researching architecture and exchanging ideas with other designers of different professions.

Contemporary architecture worldwide is influenced by universal trends, history and tribal influence. Therefore, it is our aim to create a design that fits globally and can be interpreted and arranged in different lifestyles.
                                                                               – Ulrich Dahm Wachsmann, head of design at Alno

“Of course the products are inspired by raw nature and the beauty around us, and yet the many clients we serve [also] inspire the designs. Their feedback, needs and desires for their home to work with ease is what helps us create the final designed product.”
– Michael Soltoff, CEO of Eggersmann USA

works

“One of my favorite products is ‘the work’s.’ It is effectively solving a problem of access to ones needed kitchen utensils with ease,” said Soltoff, explaining that the concept of the work’s is based on the idea of having a kitchen ‘workshop’ with high function.

IMPROVING
“With our product, it is less about improving technology and more about improving quality and function. It may mean that we are incorporating technology from an outside vendor to achieve that goal. Interior lighting for cabinetry is a prime example.”
                                                               – John Troxell Jr., director of design at Wood-Mode Cabinetry

“Technical development is realized in a close cooperation with partners and laboratories to solve functional and high-quality challenges and set new standards in aesthetical functionalism.”
                                                                                 – Ulrich Dahm Wachsmann, head of design at Alno

WoodMode_Whitney-drawer-before-after

The Whitney Drawer from Wood-Mode with Hafele LED lighting gives both the interior and exterior of the drawer a clean appeal.

“There is a daily review of quality in our production to ensure only the highest standards. We would not be a good company if we said we are perfect, since we can personally and professionally always improve. We are constantly investing in the newest machinery and the highest skilled workforce to achieve this goal. Most recently we have developed a new scanning system that follows each item and part through the entire manufacturing process, which is helping and controlling waste – ensuring products are correct and delivered on time.
                                                                                   – Michael Soltoff, CEO of Eggersmann USA

FAVORITES
I don’t know that I really have a favorite. I tend to like those I am currently working with. Once that product or project is established, I’m ready to move on to the next one, whatever that may be.”
– John Troxell Jr., director of design at Wood-Mode Cabinetry

“Visualizing first sketches and discussing ideas is one of the favorite parts in my daily work.”
                                                                        – Ulrich Dahm Wachsmann, head of design at Alno

“Seeing the hours of labor from creation all the way through manufacturing and getting to see it in use in someone’s home is really the true pay off in the end. This never gets old!”
                                                                                  – Michael Soltoff, CEO of Eggersmann USA