Cover The streamlined designs of V-Zug appliances fit seamlessly into various interior schemes

We unpack the future of the kitchen with Heinz M. Buhofer, CEO of Swiss luxury appliance brand V-Zug

Swiss luxury kitchen brand V-Zug may be a newcomer to Singapore, having opened its Zugorama flagship showroom at Scotts Square in 2018. But its history can be traced back to a metal factory in Zug, Switzerland in 1887. Today, with over 4 million appliances sold in Switzerland alone, it is estimated that 50 per cent of all Swiss households own at least one V-Zug appliance. The brand started its international expansion in 2008, and has been steadily gaining global recognition.

V-Zug prides itself on streamlined appliances that belie its state-of-the-art technologies. The company never stops innovating and takes sustainability seriously—its factory in Zug is set to be completely carbon-neutral by the end of this year. V-Zug is currently helmed by the fourth generation of its founding family, led by CEO Heinz M. Buhofer. We speak to Buhofer about what sets the brand apart in the market and how it plans to anticipate the needs of the future kitchen.

(Related: V-Zug Debuts Its First Fine Dining Restaurant In Singapore)

What distinguishes V-Zug from other luxury kitchen brands?
Heinz M. Buhofer (HB)
Refinement—a subtle interpretation of luxury. To us, design is the art of combining function and beauty. Our products are not only designed to look elegant; they are also filled to the brim with technology. They can be seamlessly integrated into any modern home and they enhance the lives of people by bringing them convenience.

We see the sale of an appliance as the start of a meaningful relationship with the customer.
We conduct classes to teach customers how to use and maintain their appliances; there are also classes to train their domestic helpers.

Do you notice any specific preferences for kitchens in the Asian region?
There is demand for gas hobs in Asia. Our gas hobs are specially developed to cater to the region. We use our knowledge in induction hobs to develop the gas hobs, which come with electronic controls. For example, if you want to simmer something, the hob will control the flame and heat level for you. That would not have been possible with a traditional gas hob. That is how V-Zug addresses trends. We don’t blindly follow them; we try to innovate to deliver better products.

(Related: Here's A Smarter Way To Design Your Kitchen)

Which device is V-Zug’s top seller in Asia?
Our bestseller is the Combi-steam. It combines a steamer and an oven in a single appliance. These functions can be used separately or in combination to achieve different effects. It is the ideal kitchen appliance for healthy cooking.

Steaming is the most gentle method for preparing food and V-Zug is the master of using steam. Steaming retains the food’s natural colours, flavours and nutrition. And the Combi-steam’s control of cooking is so precise that we have a patented method called Vacuisine that uses steam to cook sous vide.

What are some recent developments in the luxury kitchen sector that you are most excited about?
In Singapore, people are becoming more health-conscious and homeowners like to have an open-kitchen concept to entertain guests while preparing food. The kitchen has become a highlight of the home, especially in smaller residences, so people are more conscious of the appearance of their appliances.

They are also looking for functionality and convenience. They want to eat well and not have to spend a lot of time cooking. Our answer to that is to make complex and advanced technology simple to use. Our appliances are quick to operate and feature automatic programmes that make life easier. You can start a programme with the simple push of a button, and the technology takes care of your request.

(Related: How To Design A Chef's Dream Kitchen In Your Home)

How do you think kitchens will evolve in the next decade?
After marrying beauty, technology and functionality, the next step is to create networked appliances. We are working on V-Zug Home (a smart system), where appliances are networked. You will be able to send instructions to your appliances and check on the progress using your phone or tablet, and you will receive a notification when your dish is ready.

Your appliances will be able to get updated with the latest software and recipes through Wi-Fi. If you want to cook a recipe, just prepare the ingredients and put them into the oven. It will be able to follow the recipe and cook your food to perfection.

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