Behind the Curtain: An Interview With Michael Hilgers, Creator Of The Y-Kitchen.

With little over a week left before the KBB Review Awards, we interview the Berlin-based designer on his role in the creation of Ballerina Küchen's most unique and innovative concept to date.


The Y-Kitchen concept. The words 'innovative' and 'unique' almost don't do it justice.

Armed with this concept, Ballerina Küchen is now poised to take first place in the category 'Kitchen Product Innovation' at this year's KBB Review Awards, to be held at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole on Monday 5th March.

The brain behind the Y-Kitchen, Michael Hilgers, sees himself as a less of a designer, and more of a "design-finder". Known in the German design world for his uniquely inventive and minimalist approach, Hilgers has been distinguished with numerous awards down the years, including the prestigious German Design Awards and has been recognised several times at the Interior Innovation Awards.


Hi Herr Hilgers! Can you explain how the project came about?

Yes- I approached Ballerina Küchen proactively with some ideas for innovative kitchens after I met Ms. Brinkmeyer (Ballerina's Marketing Director) at the IMM Cologne trade show 2 years ago - one of those concepts was the Y-Kitchen.

And what did you want to achieve with the design?

As an architect, the architectonical space is often the base for my furniture ideas. In this case the idea was to create different functional zones in the kitchen in a new way. At the same time I wanted to design an island solution, which allows a small group of people to be part of the cooking process at the same time. I was looking for a tool to help to make cooking a social event in your own four walls.

You are known as an adherent of the minimalist design school- how did that influence the Y-kitchen design?

I always try to focus on simple geometric shapes: My intention is to leave out all the things which are not necessary to make a thing functional. So in this case, it is the Y-shape which defines the special functionality of this design - or to be more precise - it is not about the shape of the design, but the remaining space which surrounds the island. The “cooks” can communicate, they have to move around the object etc. So it is not the usual kitchen interface we all know- it's a little bit like a stage.

As an additional benefit of its shape, the Y-Kitchen uses space more effectively than a classic kitchen island. One of the 'arms' can be directly attached to the wall for installations, pipes, etc- and it still has the appearance of a free standing module.

You focus on finding pragmatic designs that solve the challenges of modern life. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges of modern life?

Modern life is getting more and more complex these days and a lot of us (especially in the industry) think that smart devices offer solutions to a lot of daily problems. I also like smart products- but in a more analogue way. Back in January I exhibited my minimalhome collection at the IMM Cologne 2018. All minimalhome designs are really simple, multifunctional solutions for small spaces- with as little technology as possible. I think the trend for more and more expensive, but at the same time smaller, urban living forms creates a huge demand for clever furniture solutions- but these solutions still should look like pieces of furniture and not like machines.

Thank you for talking to us, Herr Hilgers. It's clear that your commitment to innovative modern design sets you apart. And it is the Y-Kitchen's clear expression of this commitment that will make it a force to be reckoned with at this year's KBB Review Awards!

xl_edition_2706_edition_2726_a4_4cjpgThe results of the KBB Review Awards will be announced on March 5th following the awards ceremony at Birmingham's Hilton Metropole.

Click here to learn more about the designs of Michael Hilgers.

For more details of Ballerina's unique range of kitchen furniture, please visit their page .

To learn more about becoming a retailer of Ballerina furniture, please visit Patrick House Group at our website.