The launch of Miele’s Generation 6000 range has had almost as many stages as the Tour de France.
It began with a preview at Cologne’s Living Kitchen exhibition in January. March saw Miele’s Gutersloh head office host selected international dealers. Appliance Retailer had a private viewing there shortly after. Then we had the official launch in May. The carnival then moved to Sydney: in August, Miele hosted its local trade launch to the industry heavyweights. Back to Berlin for a few more unveilings at IFA in September. And, last night, there was the Sydney media launch. The Melbourne media launch is next week.
The opposite of the one-size-fits-all approach perfected by Apple, Miele seems to want to have 6000 separate events for this new 6000 Generation range.
There are so many different angles to this range — local cooking appliance chief Rudi Niemoeller said there were there over 5,000 different product ‘articles’ across the categories and various regions — “the most comprehensive and ambitious development project in the 114-year history of the Miele company”, he said.
Twenty-five of these new appliances are included in the debut Australian rollout: 11 ovens across 60-centimetre, 60 centimetre with Moisture Plus (Miele’s steam function) and 90-centimetre; 2 steam ovens and 2 combi-steam ovens; 3 coffee machines, including a co-branded Nespresso model; 3 gourmet warming drawers; 2 speed ovens; and 2 microwave ovens.
Digging deeper, the most obvious place to start is the most distinguishing feature: design. In addition to the more traditional Clean Steel models, Generation 6000 is available in Obsidian Black, Brilliant White and Mink. This last colour is a chocolate tone and is called ‘Havana Brown’ in Germany.
Although Miele expects Clean Steel to be the most popular, it believes Australia is catching up to European design trends that favour colour over commonplace in the kitchen. Each of these three aesthetics is linked to a loose style of architecture: black is for traditional (warm and cosy, playfulness and wooden furniture), white is for contemporary (a harmonious impression from different materials with subtle sci-fi overtones) and brown is for modern (a circular conflation of Futurama and The Fountainhead).
“The challenge for Miele was to develop a design that, ideally, would suit and complement all relevant target audiences, and we have decided to call this design PureLine,” Niemoeller said.
PureLine means that however a consumer chooses to arrange their new appliances (say, an oven, steamer, microwave and coffee machine), they will retain a uniform appearance in the cabinetry. Edges and key lines match up vertically and horizontally, meaning the user is free to place four in a row, create a square, a T-design or even add a fifth appliance to create a Swiss cross.
Importantly, this streamlined aesthetic is achievable regardless of whether a consumer wants to include a warming drawer at the base of their oven. Incidentally, these warming drawers are also slow cookers.
This design principle is flowing through Miele’s full range offering, which takes corporeal form as a pyramid: the point at the top being the small ultra-affluent market and the base being more accessible appliances for the hoi polloi.
I have always perceived Miele to be an ultra-premium brand for rich people but Niemoeller’s Pyramid of Miele Profundity showed that, from the ground up, “Miele’s product range will be defined as Discovery, Reference, Premium and Prestige”.
The absolute cheapest product in the launch range is the Benchtop Microwave (M 6012) at RRP $999 — almost 6 times the average sales price in that category.
The well-minted can coalesce a 90-centimetre family oven (H 6890 BP), a 60-centimetre Moisture Plus model (H 6860 BP) — the latter complete with a warming drawer (ESW 6229) — throw in a dedicated Steam Combination oven (DGC 6805 XL) and a Speed Oven (H 6800 BM) for spot cooking and a coffee machine with CupSensor so it knows where to position the spout (CVA 6800) and there’s a beautiful new kitchen set for only RRP $39,794. Of course, you will still need to purchase a rangehood and cooktop, plus the amazing Knock2Open dishwasher is yet to be priced locally.
“In the Discovery and Reference part of the range, Miele will continue to feature dial controls at competitive and easily-accessible price points,” Niemoeller said.
“In the Premium range, consumers will have the choice between electronic dial controls and touch controls. So, for the first time, Miele will have a mid-range oven with full touch controls.”
It’s hard to truly feel as though the ‘entry level’ ranges convey the true brilliance of Generation 6000, however, as only the Prestige range features the MTouch user interface, which is the most iPaddy oven control seen in the market.
The Prestige screen is suffused with simplexity so it can swipe sideways smoothly to set cooking scenarios with ease. The decisive home chef can set their own programs, touching and sliding control knobs that are eerily similar to those on iOS 7 to define cooking times, start times and end times. Once you’ve got the settings perfect for your favourite cuisine, you can then save this recipe to the 20-dish memory.
For those needing a nudge in the right direction, Miele has 100 pre-loaded recipes, which can be accessed by dish type or by searching the database using an on-screen keyboard. At the demonstration last night, Miele’s home economist cooked pork belly, one of six different pork dishes in the memory barrel.
“Easy navigation, intuitive controls, pleasure, perfection. We are convinced that this user interface represents the best oven controls on the market today.”
By the end, Niemoeller sounded just like Steve Jobs.