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Innovation Without Compromise: The Story Of V-ZUG

Innovation Without Compromise: The Story Of V-ZUG

Innovation Without Compromise: The Story Of V-ZUG

Swiss boutique appliance manufacturer, V-ZUG, shows us how innovation without compromise can work for both people and planet.

If words are dwarfs, then deeds must be giants. Or so the old Swiss adage goes.

For Swiss boutique appliance manufacturer, V-ZUG, this universal truism is more relevant now than ever before. Because, while “lip service is easy”, says V-ZUG owner and CEO, Heinz Buhofer, “in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, the strength and culture of authenticity and sincerity are of eminent importance.”

One of the core pillars of the brand is its commitment to design-led appliances. Here, the research, development and integration of modern technology inherent in V-ZUG appliances comes as the result of the company’s values.

V-ZUG Melbourne Showroom, designed by Carole Whiting. Photography by Dave Kulesza. 

Precision, innovation, exceptional design and superior products have been core to V-ZUG since its inception in 1913. Today, its in-house team of industrial designers, led by Martin von Freeden, heralds a pragmatic and iterative design process with a particular focus on an exclusive clientele.

“Unlike many other brands, we’ve never been tempted by chasing volumes,” says von Freeden, “instead staying true to a design-led proposition for a discerning customer, architect, designer or developer who is seeking to differentiate their project from others.”

V-ZUG boasts a carefully curated yet extensive range of integrated and discreet appliances for the kitchen and laundry. These include Combi-Steam and Combair Ovens, an array of cooktop solutions, energy efficient dishwashers, the Vacuisine vacuum drawer, warming drawers, coffee machines, and clean air extraction solutions.

Soon, V-ZUG will complete the kitchen offering with the launch of Supreme refrigeration and wine conditioning.

For fabric care, there are washing machines, dryers and the globally unique Refresh Butler.

As assured as V-ZUG is in its boutique positioning and innovative, design-led offering, “the challenge is to stay at the forefront of the market”, says Buhofer. “We [are constantly innovating] to bring value to our customers and enable them to do more than was previously possible.”

However, with technological advancement comes the challenge of user-friendliness. The V-ZUG solution is simplexity: to make good design and complex technology simple to use. V-ZUG’s in-house design team achieves this, in part, through analysing user behaviour and aligning this with sophisticated functionalities.

Through a strong sense of social responsibility, V-ZUG embraced the principles of sustainability long before they were even in vogue. Like product design, it sees sustainability as a matter of precision, innovation, exceptional design and superior outcome.

Living proof of the company’s genuine commitment to the greater good can be found at its one hundred per cent carbon neutral production facility in Zug, Switzerland. This flows through to its product offering which enables users to “play an active role in protecting our planet”, according to V-ZUG head of development, Jonas Honegger.

“We encourage our customers to be conscious of the resources they use by providing transparent information about their daily consumption habits. Some washing machines and dishwashers, for instance, have built-in EcoManagement, which informs the user of resource consumption after each wash cycle,” says Honegger.

There is also V-ZUG’s global industry-leading heat pump technology (present in its washers, dryers and dishwashers). “It is the most energy efficient way to heat up air or water,” he says. It also cuts down on 80 per cent of energy use in the process.

V-ZUG takes great pride in being exceptional in every undertaking. As noted by Alberto Bertoz, V-ZUG’s international managing director, who says: “We do things differently to most others; often motivated by non-traditional business objectives. And we’re finding that there’s a growing group of customers wanting to join us on the journey.” Us included.


Pictured throughout: V-ZUG Melbourne Showroom, designed by Carole Whiting. Photography by Dave Kulesza. 


Alice Blackwood

Alice Blackwood is the Editorial Director at Indesign Media, and Editor of Indesign magazine and Indesignlive.com. She is a trained journalist and editor, with a background in branding and communications strategy. For more than 15 years Alice has been a passionate advocate of the architecture and design industry within Australia and the wider Indo-Pacific region. Through her work on international design festivals, regional awards programs including the INDE.Awards, as well as in print and digital media, she has helped establish numerous major platforms that recognise and celebrate the region’s most exciting architecture and design, and elevate those industry leaders into the global spotlight. “Our region’s design is defined by its fresh, yet hungry entrepreneurial spirit, its bold thought and brave actions, the flawless execution of complex ideas, and world-leading outcomes. I’m fascinated by all the moving parts of our architecture and design community – the businesses, the brands, the big-thinkers and everyday-doers.” Alice remains an active member of the Australian design and media industries as a Moderator, MC, Judge, Commentator, Mentor and Advisor. Among her main passions are workplace design, education design, healthcare design, wellness design, hospitality design and the business of design.