Friedemir Poggenpohl passed away in 1924, but thankfully he left behind a capable design and production staff that would continue to push the envelope. In 1928, one year before Austrian architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky essentially invented the galley kitchen, Poggenpohl's company introduced the "Reform Kitchen," seen above. It's not yet a complete kitchen like Lihotzky's Frankfurt Kitchen, but the interconnected cabinet modules, polished white lacquer and Modernist aesthetic were eerily prescient.Two years later Poggenpohl refined their lacquering technique into what they branded "Zehner-Schleiflack" (literally translated, "ten varnish"), which used ten processes to lay down an unparalleled surface quality. It was 1930 and Poggenpohl was probably producing the finest kitchen surfaces in the world. Prior to this, kitchen surfaces were predominantly wood, which of course aged and grew stained over time. Poggenpohl's innovation of this era turned the kitchen into a place of visual cleanliness, making it look more like a hospital rather than a workshop.
Alas, it was now the 1930's. The Great Depression, the geopolitical situation and subsequent world conflict of the following decade and a half meant that American companies were no longer so interested in licensing German kitchen designs. Now we come to a sort of Dark Ages of kitchen design, as first poverty and then war gripped the planet.
Stay tuned next week for Poggenpohl's game-changing postwar design.
A Brief History of Kitchen Design
Part 1: Pre-Standardization
Part 2: Gas & Water
Part 3: The Birth of Taylorism
Part 4: Christine Frederick's "New Housekeeping" and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky's Frankfurt Kitchen