Kitchen by Poggenpohl. Image courtesy: BCCL
Megha Jhunjhunwala's (name changed) kitchen has become a conversation starter. She has spent more on it than most her countrymen have on their entire house: a cool Rs 65 lakh. Built by German firm Poggenpohl, the kitchen has two hobs, a Japanese Teppanyaki grill, a barbeque grill and a customised refrigerator to serve the eight-member family. And it is where the 33-year-old senior retail executive in Mumbai entertains many of her friends.
"It's like upgrading from economy to business class," says Jhunjhunwala who moved into her new house at Parel, Mumbai last year. Kitchen is no longer the old utilitarian space for the new upper middle class Indian who routinely holidays overseas, buys homes at a young age and experiments with western food habits. Such people are warming up to the idea of spending a bomb on European-aesthetic kitchens, prompting luxury kitchen furniture and appliance makers such as Veneta Cucine, Poggenpohl, Miele and Siemens Home Appliances to expand their base in the country.
"Like an Audi and BMW helps fulfill sensory gratification, built-in luxury kitchens are doing the same at home," says Miele India Managing Director Dhananjay Chaturvedi. German premium in-built kitchen appliances makers Miele and Siemens Home Appliances recently traded their distributor model to float wholly owned subsidiaries in India. Established home appliance makers such as LG and Whirlpool too are now betting on sales of hoods (chimney), hobs (cooktop), built-in microwave ovens and dish washers in the country as Indian kitchens start to transform into a social area.
"The kitchen is becoming a sign of who you are today and reflects success," says marketing expert and Future Brands CEO Santosh Desai. "These so-called ritual spaces of the home are becoming the new desire for consumers and becoming a social space for family and friends." Desai says Indian bathrooms got a similar transformation a few years back when fancy bathtubs and accessories became a craze among homebuyers.
Authors: Sarah Jacob & Writankar Mukherjee
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