An afternoon spent in Vancouver’s growing Armoury District near Granville Island usually means the search for a dreamy Danish armchair, a colourful Moroccan rug, or a chic floor lamp. With over 50 showrooms from esteemed local and international designers and architects, it’s becoming one of the city’s most vibrant creative hubs—a place to dwell, admire, and be inspired.
For this writer, a recent rainy afternoon here meant discovering the neighbourhood’s latest showroom, Leicht Kuchen AG. Also known as Leicht Kitchens, the German kitchen design company was originally situated in Gastown under the franchise Germanhaus. Operating there for just over two years, founders Maxim Gotsutsov and Dmitry Bogouslavsky were the first authorized dealers of Leicht on the West Coast. They’ve now travelled across the Burrard Bridge to open a bigger showroom in the heart of the Armoury District—and they feel right at home.
“This is a lot more architects, a lot more designers,” Gotsutsov says of the Leicht’s new neighbourhood. “So that’s one of the reasons we moved here.” Situated among a well-groomed list of creative greats including Ann Sacks and Provide, the location is not the only significant upgrade. The increased size of the space, with beautiful large windows, is essential to showing off what the company is known for: sleek, bold, modern designs. Or, as Gotsutsov describes it, “very German, very neat, and very clean.”
He heads over to the showroom’s west wall to admire two Leicht kitchen units, one of which he calls the “piece-de-resistance.” Twelve millimetres of matte glass sit as the countertop, and the rear backsplash is lit up by an LED system (all controlled by smartphone) which shines over a visible kitchen storage piece. Here, cooks can hang spatulas, or kids can grab from the stored paper towel. It’s the perfect example of Leicht’s ability to create a practical space, yet not lose any beauty in doing so—something the company has stayed true to since first opening as a carpenter’s shop in Germany 90 years ago. Today, that ethos is paired with cutting-edge technology and seamless aesthetics. “Everything is invisible. For example, you didn’t even know this was a fridge,” says Gotsutsov, showing off a wine fridge in a second unit on display that features handle-less cabinets and drawers, all controlled by sensory technology. Other world-renowned brands including Gaggenau and Miele are also available here; expect to touch and see something on par with the quality of any well-made German automobile.
Leicht works with individual clients, design firms, and development projects, with a recent endeavour being a townhome in North Vancouver. “It’s pretty much anyone who sees the need for improvement of style in their home,” Gotsutsov explains. The main reason people come here, of course, is for the chance to create a dream kitchen. “Everybody loves us because we are completely custom,” says Gotsutsov. “We can pretty much do anything that a firm asks of us.” Onsite is Leicht Vancouver’s head designer Igor Selskiy, who sits down with clients and helps choose cabinets, cupboards, islands, and utility units, as well as the necessary style, colour, finish, hardware, and LED lighting. “Igor really gets to work with the client, he does sort of an interview,” says Gotsutsov. “And then from that, we stem that design.” The end result is a totally custom-built, original kitchen space. “We really integrate this product into your home, so that it’s not just boxed off with cabinets,” muses Gotsutsov. “It’s unique. It’s something special. It’s where people can go, ‘Oh wow, who designed that?’”
Gotsutsov and team recently returned from the Global Kitchen Design Awards in Waldstetten, Germany with the trophy for the Best Kitchen Design in Canada. Making splashes far and wide, Gotsutsov assures that the German company feels well suited to its new home (which officially opened in March 2018). “We take pride in the fact that we’re based here in Vancouver,” he says with ease. For a full kitchen makeover or a simple rainy afternoon excursion, Leicht is indeed worth a visit.
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