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Otl Aicher and the kitchen for cooking #Otl Aicher


German designer Otl Aicher was, together with his wife Inge Scholl and Swiss artist Max Bill, one of the founders of the Ulm School of Design, a centre with a brief life but a huge impact in the history of modern design. The best-known part of Aicher’s work is the graphic design. He is the responsible for the corporate brands of Lufthansa, ERCO or Braun, although be his most iconic work might be the pictograms for the Munich 1972 Olympic Games. But Aicher’s work was always a step ahead of graphic design.

At the end of the seventies, German businessman Gerd Bulthaup commanded Aicher a new corporate identity for the kitchen manufacturer firm that he had inherit from his father. But Aicher thought that a corporate identity is only truly effective when it reflects the vision and the way of working of a firm, so he decided to study thoroughly the world of cooking. The result of this study became a best seller and a referent for kitchen designers and cuisine lovers in general.

Designers that don’t cook shouldn’t be entrusted the design of kitchens. Otl Aicher, The kitchen is for cooking, 1982

Aicher designed a new logo for the firm, but he also changed Bulthaup’s design in such a way that it became a reference for kitchens design. Aicher’s system b for Bulthaup, with its central kitchen counter, turned the kitchen into a liveable space shared by all the inhabitants of a home. Ultimately, Aicher’s aim was bringing back to the kitchen family life and conversation and having a “kitchen for living” instead of just a “kitchen for cooking”.