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Designing for distinction: Why prestige developers partner with Poggenpohl for elevated kitchen environments

<p>Pictured: Lothar Birkenfeld and Clara Sanchez</p>

Pictured: Lothar Birkenfeld and Clara Sanchez

The kitchen has long been considered the heart of the home, and for good reason. It’s where we entertain, converse and make memories. Developers of luxury projects recognize that their kitchens must be more than functional – as a centerpiece of the living space, they need to make a statement that equals the style and sophistication of the rest of the property.

That’s why Poggenpohl, revered as the inventor of the modern kitchen, is in high demand for distinctive projects. The German-based company, known for its innovation and engineering, has vast experience working with high-end developers and general contractors. “Our reputation precedes us, based on our collaborative approach, premium product and attention to detail,” says Lothar Birkenfeld, Director of Sales, Multi-Family Division for Poggenpohl.

Setting the stage for excellence

Since its inception in 1892, Poggenpohl has stayed true to its promise to “make the kitchen better.” Now transforming residences in 80 countries, Poggenpohl introduced its outstanding craftsmanship and pioneering architectural concepts to the United States in 1986. Since then, Birkenfeld, an industry luminary who has been inducted into the prestigious National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Kitchen and Bath Industry Hall of Fame, has played an integral role in the journey.

The brand is coveted for the most prominent luxury projects, including many recent high-profile properties in the South Florida market, such as the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis Residences, Four Seasons, Porsche Design Tower and other high-end condominium communities. 

That has secured them work with esteemed developers and general contractors that include Kolter Group, Unicorp, Dezer Development, Coastal Construction, Moss Construction and many others. “We have a deep background and track record of success, which has allowed us to gain the trust of partners who seek our elevated products and service,” says Clara Sanchez, Project Manager for Poggenpohl.

Already the team has multiple contracts signed for 2024 and 2025 as major projects are eager to work with a brand offering the name recognition and global reputation Poggenpohl holds with bespoke customers, says Birkenfeld. “We are mentioned in the same echelon as other high-end brands, and when we are attached to a project, buyers are assured they will receive the highest quality products. The Poggenpohl name carries weight as a way to sell or resell a property, synonymous with the ultimate in opulence.”

Even during market fluctuations, developers seek them out, he says. As it can take two years from the first drawing to the delivery of a project, builders need to rely on partners whom they feel confident will fulfill the project’s vision. Developers are further drawn to the fact that Poggenpohl will create a pricing estimate two years in advance and stick to it, which allows them to more accurately budget the entire project.

 Sanchez notes a key differentiator that contributes to Poggenpohl’s position as a company of choice for these selective developers and general contractors: the collaborative relationship they build with the entire project team and their commitment to adhere to timelines and elevate the project in every way.

“We are just one of a multitude of subs they work with on a daily basis,” says Sanchez. “We find out how to best work with them to ensure our part is seamless and handle all the details to streamline the undertaking any way we can.”

Not only is Poggenpohl in demand for the quality of its designs, but because its team is able to flexibly accommodate developers’ requests, such as for a special finish or size. While a classic Poggenpohl kitchen incorporates all the distinctive hallmarks that the brand stands for, some developers prefer to customize certain attributes – perhaps with a different veneer or finish as an upgrade. “Sometimes we’ll bring in additional door models they hadn’t considered, and they are excited to realize how much we have in our arsenal to select from,” Sanchez says. “By positioning these customized options as an upgrade, it creates a win-win in offering buyers choices, while serving as an additional profit center for the builder.”

An installation process that sets them apart

No matter how meticulous the manufacturing – and Poggenpohl is known for its authentic craftsmanship – the end product is only as good as the installation crew. That’s another area where Poggenpohl shines, with its long-term, experienced professionals.

Not every carpenter knows how to install a Poggenpohl kitchen to the company’s exacting standards so they send their own proprietary installation team, who has acquired the necessary proficiency from two or three decades on the job. “Ensuring we have the ideal number of expert installers at the right place at the right time requires coordination and a solid understanding of the cadence of the project,” Birkenfeld notes. “We pride ourselves on executing flawlessly.”

As Sanchez points out, “We are solution driven. We don’t just say, ‘Well the cabinets are here!’ and leave it to the builder to juggle. If one floor isn’t ready for the installation, we’ll seek storage solutions. They know we have a shared interest in success.”

This precise delivery system entails sending the completed kitchens directly from the factory to the job site so that official Poggenpohl representatives are the ones unloading, distributing and installing the kitchens. This personal touch presents a huge advantage when compared with other brands that rely on outsourced delivery people and warehousing.

“We know the kitchen components are safe along the way, and by being on-site, we can guarantee that the cabinetry is accounted for, and even more importantly, that the kitchens are impeccably installed,” Birkenfeld says.

Embracing trends in sustainable living

A focus on sustainability has always been part of the brand’s DNA, Birkenfeld says. “Long before there was green in America, it was green in Germany,” he says, adding that all kitchen furniture arriving from Europe must be CARB 2 compliant before the product enters the United States.

A select few of Poggenpohl’s Sustainable Environmental Accolades

Committed to ongoing innovation & customization

While staying true to its impressive heritage, Poggenpohl continues to spark new concepts. It has recently introduced a product brand for the multifamily market that is specifically designed for customization. The new ARC concept emulates the clean lines of the flagship brand but offers interiors that can be more easily customized and also boasts special lighting features that set the pieces apart.

While Poggenpohl is a go-to brand for developers, it appreciates the necessity of raising its profile among the prestige consumer who might not yet have experienced its timeless qualities. Poggenpohl’s retail network of showrooms in nine major U.S. markets showcases and introduces new clients to the brand. “It’s the ideal way to drive awareness as we introduce Poggenpohl to a discerning clientele who will value the quality we offer,” Birkenfeld says.

Are you interested in knowing more about how Poggenpohl can elevate your next project? Visit a showroom near you or find out more at