- Article by Elisa Scarton
“It’s not inspiration by shapes, colours, materials. It’s inspiration by needs,” Miele vice president of design Andreas Enslin tells me from his home in Austria.
Enslin is the man behind the brand’s Generation 7000. At the helm of the team of engineers and designers who created the never-before-seen technology that defines this range of ovens, cooktops, built-in coffee machines and steam appliances.
The Generation 7000 was launched in Australia in 2019, but it came to market, like many of Miele’s appliances, following five years of intensive research and development. Research that involves a hefty dose of future forecasting, no crystal ball necessary.
“When I joined Miele, I brought future forecasts or what we call “Scenarios” with me,” says Enslin.
“This is where we look 10 years into the future and predict the market, the value shifts for the customers and future different needs that will define the world of the future.”
Within these scenarios are “future customers” – personas living in the world of the future, which Enslin and the Miele team assign personalities and descriptions, families and, even, what they like to eat.
“We describe their behaviour, the world they’re living in and the way they like to cook,” explains Enslin. “And from the future needs of those future personas, you identify a lot of possibilities.”
It’s these possibilities that are at the heart of the Generation 7000. The range features a number of iconic and Miele-exclusive features to make cooking more effortless than ever before.
There’s the TasteControl, which automatically opens the oven door once cooking is finished to enable rapid cooling. There’s also FoodView – An in-oven camera viewable via the Miele app that lets the user control the cooking temperature and adjust the time remotely.
The app also provides users with access to more than 1,000 inspirational recipes that can be created using every Generation 7000 appliance, including the induction cooktop, which connect together to make cooking easier than ever before.
Enslin is particularly proud of the DualSteam, which maintains uniform temperate and humidity throughout the oven, with extreme accuracy levels to the 1 degree Celsius.
“At the Miele Design Centre, we’re responsible for the user experience. That means ensuring you get the best possible experience in cooking,” he says.
“It’s not thinking about whether we should use stainless steel or black. It’s the experience we offer people. The ease of use. It’s allowing yourself to concentrate on the cooking process over getting disturbed by your appliances because you got lost in the interface.”
It’s a strikingly poetic approach from someone who studied industrial design at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, but it’s a common thread that runs not just through the Generation 7000, but all of Miele’s appliances.
“During my time as a design student, it was all about the manufacturing process. How do we create what is needed out of the materials we have? How do we get the best possible result with the limited technology?
“Now it’s the opposite. The technology is limitless, so the question is no longer what’s possible, but rather should we do something just because it’s fun or because it looks good or because we can.
“I’m proud to work at Miele because everything we are doing as designers is towards having a good impact. Impact over consumption. Everything we design consumes resources, so if we take resources from our world, energy, water and so on, it should be to improve peoples’ lives. It should be necessary.”
At the start of 2020, Miele added a full-surface induction cooktop to its Generation 7000. Like the other appliances in the range, the cooktop’s intuitive design was driven by Enslin’s future forecasts, by the needs of future kitchens and the solutions to the problems faced by budding chefs all over the world.
But it was also inspired by something altogether harder to pin down and measure. Something that stayed with me long after I had said goodbye to Andreas Enslin on that afternoon in late August.
“People want to concentrate on cooking without being afraid of failing. They want a system that will guide them through the cooking process and stop them if they’re about to fail. They want to be encouraged to try out new recipes and try new things without fear.
“And as they become more skilled and more confident, they rely on their appliances less. That is the inspiration behind the Generation 7000.”