First it made fast cars. Then it turned its brilliant (mostly German) brains to everything from radios to sports equipment and sleek clothing. But with its latest innovation Porsche has completed the journey from wheels to meals: designing a kitchen with the modern man in mind.
Functional but flash; sexy but simple, Porsche's new "man kitchen" is being billed as the manufacturer's entry into the luxury interiors market. Designed to answer modern man's every gastronomic need, the new kitchen is supposed to make cooking easier than ever.
And so it does – if you've got £20,000 to spare. Porsche Design, who worked alongside the German kitchen designers Poggenpohl to produce Kitchen P'7340, has described the design as "modular, spacious and extremely versatile". The kitchen, which goes on sale in the UK next month, "adheres to a philosophy of combining sleek design language with the finest materials", according to its makers. It is the minimalist's dream. Every cabinet opens at the touch of a finger. The slightest tap on one of the built-in high-precision sensors will activate a "spacer pin", making doors and flaps open slowly. Touch-sensitive adjustable lighting is integrated into the sleek frames. The whole kitchen eschews handles – "purists" would accept nothing less – to give the user a feeling of floating effortlessly between different parts of his indulgent interior toy.
But what makes this a man's kitchen? Perhaps it's the gadgetry: an audio-video system, with a plug-and-play feature, meaning you can jive away to your favourite tunes while cooking a stir-fry. Hidden behind glass, the little module has "ultra-glossy" surfaces. It's the height of ergonomic efficiency. "Our studio already disposed of long-standing experience in designing kitchen and home appliances as well as furniture," said Roland Helier, managing director of the Porsche Design Studio in Zell am See in Austria. His counterpart at Poggenpohl said the partnership with Porsche was intended to create a "sleek and functional design language" that "specifically addresses male customers".
The kitchen forms part of the swelling crossover between brand names on luxury goods. Bentley and Ferrari have put their logo on expensive watches (as have Porsche), while the Swiss watchmaker Swatch has put its name on cars.
Porsche Design has widened the Porsche franchise over the years to include a number of other products, from mobile phones to water filters and espresso machines. The marketing message is the same every time: for those seeking slick, shiny accessories to accompany the fast pace of modern life, you can trust those Teutonic design geniuses each time – and especially now, if you're a bloke who likes cooking.
Not just a car company
Sagem Porsche Mobile
The P251, launched in the UK last November, is part of a new generation of mobile phones with a built-in MP3 player, a 3.2 megapixel camera and 3G connectivity.
Porsche has designed watches for men and women with prices ranging up to £315. They come with black leather straps and sapphire glass.
Siemens Porsche Espresso-maker
These machines use tiny coffee capsules with a frothing nozzle. It will set you back £699.99.