History

bulthaup has deep roots that stretch back to 1949 and its beginnings as an independent family business. Our products have always been created from a combination of craftsmanship and design. Right from the very beginning, bulthaup has been synonymous with superb quality, authentic materials, and a passion for detail. Even in times of rapid change, bulthaup has remained a company that picks up on people's needs and wishes, and always looks for answers and solutions. 

Explore the decades and learn more about our company’s history

1949

Martin Bulthaup founds the “Martin Bulthaup Möbelfabrik” in Herford, the former center of Germany’s furniture industry, which is being rebuilt after the Second World War. Sales grow rapidly across Bavaria, a region that at this time still does not have any bulthaup production facilities.

1950s

Martin Bulthaup therefore decides to go to Lower Bavaria in order break new ground in terms of design and production methods with skilled craftsmen based there. Not far from the company’s present-day headquarter, he buys a sawmill in Bodenkirchen.

1951

At first, Martin Bulthaup makes kitchen sideboards made from superlative materials and exhibiting an exceptional level of craftsmanship. In his view, many families saw the kitchen as more than just a place where the woman of the household worked. It was also a cozy space for people to congregate in every day. He therefore develops the concept of kitchen sideboards “for people with a sense of home”.

1951

Initially, these kitchen sideboards are delivered to the surrounding area on horse-drawn carts. The company’s good reputation enables it to advance rapidly so that it very quickly starts to supply the whole of Germany.

1960s

The independent work of the young team of employees quickly makes a name for itself. Even during the early stages of its history, bulthaup uses market niches neglected by others to achieve spectacular sales successes far beyond Germany’s borders.

1968

Ongoing factory expansions, investments in new production facilities, and growing staff numbers are the key features of these years.

1969

bulthaup presents Style 75: “We are calling it Style 75 because it’s a completely new kitchen solution. It encapsulates the developments that we anticipate will take place over the next few years. In 1975, these kinds of kitchens will be commonplace.”

1970s

It becomes increasingly clear that the production facilities used to date will no longer be sufficient to meet future demand. The 1970s are characterized by the construction of the company’s present-day headquarters and the takeover of the company’s management by son Gerd Bulthaup.

1972

Plans begin to build an industrial-size kitchen factory on a scale that goes beyond traditional conceptions of the furniture factory. By as early as March, production begins at the company’s present-day headquarters in Aich.

1974

The foundation stone for bulthaup's innovation leadership is laid with the introduction of Concept 12. The system impresses with its unusual, modern forms – functional, practical design with consistent aesthetic implementation – as well as an intelligent installation and planning concept.

1976

Gerd Bulthaup, the son of the company’s founder, and his sister Ingeborg Eckert take over the company. Gerd Bulthaup continues to spread Martin Bulthaup’s vision: “Put simply, we wanted to produce first-class kitchens. Rather than focusing on existing functions, we wanted to invent new uses for the kitchen.”

1980s

During the 1980s, Gerd Bulthaup persuades the pioneer of the corporate identity concept, Otl Aicher, to work with him. “form follows function”, the Weimar Bauhaus movement’s guiding principle for design and architecture, becomes central to the development of new products, which are developed on the basis of their function and, therefore, their purpose.

1982

Based on a long-term investigation for bulthaup into living and eating habits all over the world, Otl Aicher’s book entitled “The Kitchen is for Cooking” is published. A completely new kitchen philosophy: Authenticity of both function and materials, and a reduction down to the essentials, since pleasure, cooking, and communication are paramount.

1984

An initial response to the joint research is the introduction of system b. This kitchen system is based on the fundamental re-evaluations of kitchen work: Ergonomics is the watchword. A living space instead of a place to work in. A space designed to make work of any kind as easy as possible.

1988

The times and the demands placed on kitchens are changing. bulthaup addresses theses changing needs with the kitchen workbench. Based on the duality of fire and water, the free-standing functional unit is the first ergonomically designed unit to bring together all of the essential kitchen work areas in a single element.

1990s

A love of architecture, Bauhaus philosophy and timeless design fundamentally change the image of the kitchen over years to come.

1992

bulthaup sets new standards with the launch of the flexible modular system 25. The design recognizes the fact that functionalism and living culture do not have to be at odds with one another and have in fact always complemented each other. The design is not therefore an aesthetic afterthought; it’s a functional component of the overall kitchen concept.

1997

The system 20 units, which can be freely combined, meet people’s needs for flexible, stable furniture. A modular system with no fixed elements ensures that the units can adapt to continuously changing living spaces way beyond the kitchen.

2000

Over the next few years, bulthaup surprises with three new systems: bulthaup b3, bulthaup b2, and bulthaup b1.

2004

bulthaup b3 designs walls into the kitchen concept for the first time. The floating, lightweight nature of the kitchen is underscored by a clarity of construction and thin materials. bulthaup b3 is an enchanting kitchen and living space set-up that can be combined in almost infinite variations.

2008

bulthaup b1 features a tasteful, economic design and clean forms, creating simplicity itself: The wall line, tall unit block, and central cooking island are a hub for all the most important things in life: Family and friends, pleasure, and communication.

2008

bulthaup b2 creates an inimitable and exceptional atmosphere, featuring elemental, clear forms that are both efficient and practical to use. The unique combination of workbench, tool cabinet, and appliance housing cabinet pares the “kitchen workshop” down to the essentials.

2010

Tradition and a past mean more than just adhering to a set of values, however. They also mean constantly changing to meet the challenges of the future.

2010

Marc O. Eckert, the grandson of the company’s founder, takes over sole management of the company, consolidating bulthaup’s position as an independent family business. Tradition and a past mean maintaining existing values while discovering new ones for people’s challenges and needs that change with the times.

2012

bulthaup b3's internal organization system puts an end to fixed order in the kitchen and facilitates a new, intuitive approach. The interior of the drawers can be flexibly arranged and reorganized, or added to at any time, entirely in line with people's personal preferences and the way they work in the kitchen.

More bulthaup

Read more about our company here

Brand

Brand

Discover the values that inspire us to develop kitchen and living space systems. 

Information material

Information material

Order the books on the bulthaup kitchen and living space systems, as well as the “bulthaup culture” magazine.