Imagine if you could transform the oven, that functional steel item in your luxury home, customized, personalized and artistic in nature. That is what Michael Michael of Bespoke Projects thought when he conceived of the idea to turn the oven into a personalized piece of art.
Imagine your exquisitely designed home, each detail carefully selected to execute a specific look desired especially for you.. Enter into the kitchen, also replete with design touches at every turn, putting your distinct touch on your space, that exudes your personality and taste. When it comes to the design of items for the home, one that has not changed all that much over the years is the oven. Typically it offers a stainless steel finish, which in itself is not undesirable, it is a pleasing finish, but now, with a Gaggenau oven and Bespoke Projects, the possibilities are as vast as the imagination!
We spent some time in conversation with Mr. Michael to explore and learn more about this fabulous customization concept he created.
Q – How did you get your start working in the field of luxury and what drew you to it?
I’ve always been drawn to the world of luxury, even as far back as my first part-time job, working as a Sales Assistant at Armani. There’s something special about the world of luxury – its not about how much something costs, its about how something makes you feel.
Working within luxury brands, should also make you feel special. I have been fortunate enough to work with some very special brands, such as La Cornue, Gaggenau and of course Bespoke Projects.
Q – Tell us about Bespoke Projects and its mission/vision? What prompted you to create a company of this kind? What makes Bespoke Projects so unique?
For the past few years, it has been more and more apparent that the world of customisation has been a rapidly expanding market.
Having worked for Gaggenau for several years, I understand the brand and its design and could not let the idea pass, that the most discerning clients would not only want the best appliances in the world, but would want them personalised. Why should one be restricted to a stainless steel finish, if this does not compliment the rest of the project?
I created Bespoke Projects, as the only company in the world to offer Unique Gaggenau Customisation. That is, we take the worlds best appliances manufactured by Gaggenau and offer our clients the ability to customise them in ways that have never been possible before.
This may be matching the appliances to a brass tap or handle, it may be transforming them into a work of art or it may be something more unique as with the recently showcased crystal encrusted appliances.
We work with our clients to conceive a design that is not only personal to them but one that compliments their kitchen unlike any oven could do before.
Q – What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
I love discussing ideas with the client and coming up with the best way to incorporate these amazing appliances into their project. The fact that every project is different excites me to push the boundaries and create something unique and personal to each client.
What are your personal philosophies about luxury as a mindset and approach to living? How do you think people could get more out of luxury beyond acquisition?
Customisation is key. Luxury is being driven by consumers becoming the designer. Brands are offering consumers more ways to stand out, as seen with Burberry Bespoke and Gucci DIY. Customers can personalise knitwear, bags and sneakers, but why stop there – personalisation should be about a lifestyle and kitchen appliances are a part of that.
Luxury has become more and more about the experience and personalisation of the product being purchased, than simply acquiring something expensive.
Q – Tell us about the process that goes into transforming one of these fabulous Gaggenau ovens into a work of art.
Our process generally begins with a discussion with our client and their kitchen designer, to understand the design ethos of the scheme and to then draw on some key accents within the project. This may be the colour of the furniture, the tap or handles, or even a light fitting. Some clients simply want an understated kitchen design, with muted colours for the furniture and worktops, but allow the ovens to become the real focal point. True works of art.
Once a customisation concept has been agreed, we expertly dismantle the appliances to remove the stainless steel panel from behind the glass (this is most commonly done before the appliances have been fitted, however we can do this retrospectively too).
We then take these panels and customise them as requested. If they are to be a metal or coloured finish, they are hand-lacquered and baked, to achieve a beautiful coating. If an image is requested, we produce a high resolution digital image, that is printed onto high heat resistant vinyl. We then apply this to the panels and ensure the image lines up across several appliances, where necessary.
Some requests go beyond metal finishes or images. We can also engrave onto the steel panel or embellish them with other materials, as recently seen with the worlds first crystal encrusted ovens, which we launched in September.
Once the customisation is complete, we reinstall the panels behind the glass, ready for installation into their new home.
Q – Where do you see the luxury business heading overall and as it pertains to your line of work?
The world of luxury will continue to grow, as more and more brands are establishing themselves with customisable products and the consumer is immersed in this world, at the very core.
Bespoke Projects is positioned perfectly to offer its services to those that want something special, which allows us to continue to do what we love.
Q – In your view, what has been some of the biggest changes in the way UHNW clients fulfill their luxury lifestyle needs today? How has this affected how you guide your clients?
UHNW individuals have always had the potential to acquire anything they wanted, however this arena is becoming ever more populated with specialist service providers or lifestyle managers. It is not uncommon for our client to be the architect, interior designer or the lifestyle manager, and not the end consumer. This is why we continue to grow our brand awareness within these markets and build relationships with the influencers at source.
Q – Tell us about one of your favourite or most challenging bespoke project to date.
Without doubt, the most challenging project to date has been the recently unveiled crystal edition ovens. This included a combination steam oven, a multi-function oven and a vacuum drawer, all encrusted with over 84,000 crystals. The process took more than 6 weeks to complete by hand and is the worlds first set of crystal encrusted kitchen appliances.
However, this has led to discussions with a private client, to commission a similar configuration, covered in diamonds.
We will use cultured diamonds, which are 100% conflict free and environmentally friendly, to create a true work of art. We are estimating 84,811 stones will be used, totaling 2520 carats and a price tag of £2.5m.
Q – Where can people interested go to see one of your artistic creations first hand?
The crystal-encrusted appliances are on show at the Minotti Cucine London showroom in Fitzrovia.
We also currently have displays at The Wood Works showroom and Point 5 Kitchens showroom, also in London.
Many examples of our work and inspiration can be found at our website and Instagram profile. www.bespoke-projects.com and @bespoke.projects.