Norbert Wangen, London 2009
Affable German living in Austria, whose sleek enigmatic kitchen islands have sliding tops to reveal all your kitchen appliance needs.
Norbert is a good friend, and this picture was taken when he was visiting London, and we went for lunch on a glorious sunny Sunday, with Lawrence Pidgeon, the bathroom expert, whose family have been in bathrooms for five generations.
Norbert pioneered the idea that the kitchen should be the focal point of the home – "rather than a workplace separated from the rest of the house." So around 1995, he designed his "kitchen in a box" for a friend in Munich. It was freestanding, with a sliding slate top, which revealed everything you need for cooking, food prep and washing up, with the slide-out top providing a handy work surface. This became the K (for kitchen) series of similar units, which were refined into stainless steel, with also a version that can open automatically. The design and brand name were bought by Boffi, who now have four K units on their website, Norbert has also designed B (bathroom) basins for them, using Carrara marble and Corian. Norbert also designed a washbasin in marble, and taps.
Norbert now lives in Vienna, which he loves – "so inspirational." We've been to visit him, and climbed ultra-wide stone stairs into a vast apartment with high ceilings – and a Norbert box kitchen of course.