Recently launched under W. Atelier’s umbrella of brands, Toto Kitchen specialises in modular-style designer kitchens. Spearheading the label is German expat Daniel Magg, who is backed by more than 15 years of experience in the European kitchen business, and is also a gourmet with a zest for cooking.
What do kitchens and cooking mean to you?
My parents owned a butchery, so food has always played a big role in my life. The kitchen in their home is always busy, and I grew up with my mum’s cooking because food in Germany isn’t as readily available and cheap as in Singapore. Most Germans don’t have helpers, either. I still cook a lot these days because I like to control the quality of my ingredients. For example, I would never use MSG in my cooking.
What exactly is Toto’s «European concept» kitchen?
European kitchens are always modular, as opposed to the customised carpenter-built kitchens you get here. Kitchen modules that come in fixed sizes, yet are customisable, lend a completely different look because the cabinets always come in regular dimensions of 15-, 30-, 45-, 60-, 90- or 120cm. So in general, our kitchens look sleeker and more symmetrical. Most of our materials are also imported, such as carcasses and front boards from Austria and Germany, and lacquer from Italy.
How do looks and functionality balance out in designer kitchens?
The kitchen is a place in which to work. It’s always about functionality. Of course we try to combine that with a beautiful design, but we always advise our clients against designs that may look better but don’t give them the practicality they need.
What’s trendy for kitchens now?
The high-gloss lacquered look is still the most popular trend here. But if you look at what the Italians and Germans are doing, the trend is leaning towards matte surfaces. These surfaces aren’t as sleek and easy to clean as high-gloss lacquer, but they’ve been treated and are easy enough to maintain. Newer looks also include satin-look and glossy glass cabinet fronts, as well as unpolished worktops, such as flamed and brushed granite.
And since smaller kitchens are more affordable to redesign, it makes more sense to use premium materials because these will definitely give it a more luxurious look. The worst thing you can do for a small kitchen is to use discounted materials in a space that isn’t well designed.