At the back of the newly redesigned Bulthaup Vancouver showroom in Gastown, what seems at first glance to be a solid white wall actually opens up, magically, to reveal a full-blown kitchen inside. The small space, equipped with gorgeous cupboards and counters (and a covet-worthy wine fridge), was, at one time, the vault of Vancouver’s very first Royal Bank. The wildly thick walls are still there to prove it.
This is the Bulthaup way: making use of every inch of space, creating a perfectly welcoming environment in which one can’t help but want to pull out a cutting board and get to work on a favourite dish.
The Vancouver showroom has been open since 2009, but the displays had not changed much since—that is, until this year. “We decided it was best to redo everything so that we could show the most current materials, finishes, cabinetry, and drawers,” says showroom manager Vanessa Chadd. “We felt the showroom served us really well for six years, but certainly for the potential customer base and the industry overall, it was time to show something new.” The outcome from the six-week renovation is one of clean colours and shapes and plenty of open space, allowing the Bulthaup materials and designs to shine without effort. It’s easy to imagine chopping vegetables at one of the long counter displays, or boiling pasta on one of the glossy stoves that line the room. “We feel the Vancouver Lower Mainland and surrounding areas as a whole have grown, and we think the openness to and awareness of modern design and contemporary design—and to our brand—has grown in the last six years,” Chadd says. “So we wanted to present Bulthaup in its purest form and set ourselves apart from the other showrooms in the city.”
The German company was founded in 1949 by Martin Bulthaup and essentially revolutionized the kitchen industry in the early seventies with the C12 program, which coupled unique form with smart installation. The brand has since become known as the epitome of kitchen aesthetic and function, focusing on excellence in both material and craft. “Certainly from a lifestyle perspective, Bulthaup has always been known for quality as well as design,” says Chadd. “We find a lot of people in this city want a product that looks aesthetically beautiful, but also functions and makes people’s lives easier.” That means sleek cupboards and drawers that open silently on their hinges and rails, smooth countertops made of the finest lacquer and laminate, and wooden accessories including bread boards and salad tongs.
Vancouverites “want to enjoy their free time more, so when they do come into the kitchen or entertain or have family over, it is very much the core of the home and becomes a much more social aspect,” Chadd explains. “People’s expectations have matured and grown, and I think Bulthaup is the brand that can easily provide that effectively.” It’s all about creating the full kitchen experience, from meal conception through to cleanup—and the socializing that continues long afterward. Food brings us together, but kitchens keep us that way.
Photos by Martin Tessler.
Bulthaup, 93 West Cordova Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 1C8, Canada, 604-688-1881.