The origins of the extraordinary entrepreneurial and creative venture of the bulthaup brand date back to 1949, when Martin Bulthaup established the Martin Bulthaup Furniture Factory in the midst of the reconstruction of Germany after World War II. Bulthaup began by producing kitchen sideboards that met the highest standards of workmanship and material quality and sought to rescue the kitchen from being in the enclosed place where a woman’s work was done and turn it into a space for the entire family to gather.
The Kitchen for Cooking
In the 1980s, the recently-deceased Gerd Bulthaup, son of the brand’s founder, stepped up to head the company, and it was under his management that bulthaup made the qualitative leap that would turn it into the uncontested leader in the premium kitchen sector. Gerd Bulthaup, who was passionate about architecture, the Bauhaus philosophy and timeless design, teamed up with designer Otl Aicher to analyze the act of cooking and determine its cultural, ergonomic and functional components. The result of this collaboration eventually materialized in Aicher's classic book The Kitchen for Cooking.
The joint effort of these two visionaries led to highly innovative developments such as bulthaup’s system b, launched in 1984 –a kitchen furniture system based on reassessing the work carried out in the kitchen with a primary focus on ergonomics– and the KWB workbench, from 1988 –an independent functional unit which brought together all the essential work areas into one ergonomically designed element.
In the 1990s, bulthaup, attuned to the changing ways of an increasingly nomadic society and to the digital revolution, launched systems 25 and 20, in which flexibility, functionality, and domesticity were not viewed as opposing -but rather as complementary- values, thus consolidating the brand as one synonymous with innovation and quality.
A new millennium
At the turn of the millennium, bulthaup launched three new systems: b3, b2 and b1. Introduced in 2004, bulthaup b3 made it possible to bring the walls to life, underscoring the light, floating character of the kitchen with clear lines and thin materials.
In 2008, b1 and b2 made their appearance. System b1, characterized by its clear formal language, emphasized the key elements in life: family and friends, pleasure and communication. System b2, with its unique combination of a workbench, a tool cabinet, and an appliance cabinet, pared the kitchen down to its bare essentials.
In 2010, the founder’s grandson Marc O. Eckert was appointed to lead the company. In so doing, bulthaup reinforced its position as an independent family business –and in 2017, the company launched bulthaup b Solitaire with the aim of definitively blurring the boundaries within the living space to enhance social interaction and strengthen the sense of community.
The importance of values
From the kitchen sideboards of the 1950s to today's b3, b2, b1 and b Solitaires, all bulthaup products combine attention to detail, functionality and clear lines with a passion for perfect craftsmanship and the best materials. With the concept of "authentic materials," founder Martin Bulthaup established a key element of the company's philosophy which continues to hold true today and gives its distinct hallmark to every bulthaup kitchen.