top of page

“We want to inspire more designers to think out of the box and show us what good kitchen design is in India...”


“We want to inspire more designers to think out of the box and show us what good kitchen design is in India...”

June 15, 2021

By Mrinmoy Dey

Having entered the Indian market in 2001 to cater to some leading hospitality projects, Hafele went on to start full-fledged operation in 2003 as a wholly-owned subsidiary – Hafele India Pvt. Ltd. Having understood the heavy dependency of the economy on the trade market in India, over the span of 20 years, the company have adapted its approach to create a robust and expansive trade channel.

An exclusive partnership with Blum – just months after establishing Hafele India, gave the company a focus on kitchens from the get-go. Additionally, systematic expansion of product portfolio into allied categories like appliances, lighting and surfaces has helped the company create a formidable position of a complete kitchen solution provider in the industry. In 2008, Hafele India started an exclusive Franchise setup, one of its biggest success stories today.

The company has now launched a nationwide kitchen design competition for architects and interior designers to nudge them to bring forth fresh ideas into kitchen designing.

In an exclusive interaction with Kitchen Ideas, Jurgen Wolf, Managing Director, Hafele India throws light on the strategies adopted for the Indian market and the thought process behind the kitchen design competition.

In the last couple of years, Hafele has given special emphasis on the appliances business. Hafele has brought all its appliance brands under one brand name and opened its first exclusive Design Showroom for the Hafele Appliances range in Bengaluru. What is the rationale behind these strategic decisions? What kind of potential do you see in this segment?

Apart from the synergetic aspect of appliances and kitchens, we saw a huge opportunity in the market for appliances that were made specifically for Indian cooking, at the mid-level price point. There were only cheap and cheerful European style appliances available at the bottom end – then nothing – and then some European suppliers at the top-end of the market. There was nothing in the middle. Also, none of the global brands for built-in appliances had been able to establish themselves as a strong brand yet. So, we saw the opportunity to develop appliances that were specifically designed for Indian cooking, at an affordable premium price point, to fill that void.

Also, built-in appliance was still very much a niche category and had not yet been discovered by the Indian consumer. That has changed dramatically in the last few years. We predicted this trend and got our timing just right. Today, appliances are our fastest growing business which is going from strength to strength.

Hafele has emphasised on providing the potential buyers a touch and feel experience and live demos through its design centres. What prompted you to take this route?

You have to understand that we are not selling complete furniture or door solutions. We are selling components to manufacturers and carpenters who create such solutions for their customers. So, it was required for our customers to be able to look at and imagine what the final solution would look like in their house. That you can only achieve by displaying such finished solutions in a classy and high-end showroom environment where our customers can touch and feel and from which they can take inspiration. We then took this concept and created smaller environments in our Franchise shops as well. This approach has been wildly successful and been the foundation of us building a successful Hafele brand in the market.

Smart appliances and connected home is another upcoming trend. How designers can benefit from the recent technological advances in kitchen fittings and appliances to design efficient, aesthetic and functionally superior Kitchens?

Well, just a few years ago many Indian kitchens looked like a war zone and were the stepchild of designers as well because they did not know much about good kitchen design. Built-in appliances have many huge advantages. Above all, they are getting appliances away from the kitchen countertop into the furniture. That allows for a much more uncluttered and pleasing aesthetic.

Modern appliances also often offer multi-functional features doing away with multiple one-job products. Take for example a single oven in which you can bake, grill, steam and even microwave. Nicely integrated into the kitchen units, this also makes for a great look. So, less is more. Built-in fridges and dishwashers are behind the same kitchen shutters as the cabinets. So they are fully integrated into the overall aesthetic and do not interrupt the overall look of a kitchen.

Indians have also started to experiment with many different cuisines. So, a smart and modern oven belongs into every kitchen these days and Covid has finally convinced Indian customers of the benefits of a good dishwasher – a category that previously had almost no traction in the market.