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Vessel Kitchen

Lead DesignersJochen Backs
Prize(s)PRODUCT DESIGN of Year
Project LinkView
Entry Description

Originally designed in 2006, revisited and improved in 2012 and finalized and detailed in 2014, this kitchen system captures the spirit of an urban modern lifestyle, design-minded people and planners would appreciate and love.

The philosophy of the vessel kitchen highlights the essence of the work surface, the tools above and the storage below the work surface. The name “vessel” derived from the essence of storing items and capturing water in an abstract but contemporary way.

Visually impactful with real ergonomic benefits; all surfaces are leaning away creating more clearance and allowing a closer connection between user and work surface.

Vessel is illustrated in 4 key configurations:

1 – Wall Unit Standard
The wall unit is a sleek and built in kitchen hanging cantilevered of a sophisticated robust wall system. The wall system houses and hides all electrical and plumbing components, but makes them easily accessible at the same time.

2 - Wall Unit Premium
Similar to the standard wall unit, the premium wall unit bridges some of the characteristics of the freestanding work bench with the standard wall unit. The work surface becomes in essence a large stainless steel extension of the cook top itself, will make this kitchen a premium design.

3 - Freestanding Workbench
Inspired by modern and classic freestanding kitchens, this kitchen features a half and half design, with enclosed storage units to one side and an open bench-like structure on the opposing side. This kitchen can either be installed on its own or combined with the Wall Unit Standard.

4 - Freestanding Island
The freestanding island unit compliments the standard wall unit and allows flexibility to include a range or secondary sink, in addition to more counter space ideal for socializing and entertaining to enhance the feeling of the kitchen being the center of the house.


Jochen Backs is founder and Principal of STUDIO BACKS, a downtown San Francisco based design studio that delivers great product design and experiences in the consumer, computer, packaging, medical and houseware industries. We work on projects ranging from monitors to cameras to packaging for clients such as Samsung, Logitech, St. Jude Medical to Vaska. With a creative process that integrates industrial design and strategic thinking we create fresh, lifestyle-centered, long lasting solutions for our clients. STUDIO BACKS provides successful and proven services to achieve competitive advantage through product innovation.

Before founding STUDIO BACKS in June 2001, Jochen Backs was the Principal Industrial Designer for Design Continuum, San Francisco, where he designed and directed projects for various companies including Logitech, Vestel, BioMerieux and Sunbeam. His role at Design Continuum included building and mentoring the industrial design team, project management and business development. Prior to Design Continuum, Jochen was a Senior Industrial Designer with IDEO Product Development for 10 years, where he designed a diverse range of products for clients including DELL, NEC, Medtronic, Cisco Systems, Steelcase and Samsung Electronics. Before IDEO, Jochen worked for DESIGN TEAMS in Germany designing hand held tools for BOSCH, high pressure cleaners for KAERCHER, cook ware and household goods for SILIT and Leifheit.

Jochen has earned numerous awards during his 20 year career, including iF Hanover, the 'Red Dot' for the Highest Design Quality at Design Innovations, the Braun Prize, Design Champion at the Design Center Stuttgart, Best Design Of Europe at the International Biennial in Kortrijk Belgium, Design-Team of the Year 1990, Appliance Manufacturer's Excellence in Design and several I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review awards and Business Week's IDEA gold, silver and bronze awards. Communication Arts Interactive Annual 8 for our website design. Editor's Choice "Best of Show" and "Best New Technology Product" award in 2010. Shaggy Award 2011, Honorable Mention for Samsung Series 9 Full HD 3D LED HDTV.

Jochen is particularly proud of its successful and ongoing partnership with Samsung Electronics going back as far as 1993. Jochen has helped Samsung’s display division to transfer itself from an OEM manufacturer to an international leading brand in design and technology it has become today. All CRT monitors manufactured by SAMSUNG during the 90’s were either designed or directed by STUDIO BACKS. The new generation of LCD and LED 3D monitors continue to be designed or directed through the “Master Program”, a collaboration between SAMSUNG and STUDIO BACKS.
Other projects with SAMSUNG include laptops, mobile devices, digital compact cameras, white goods including refrigeration, range tops, microwave, venting hoods, washer and dryer.

Our Process is multidisciplinary, hands-on and heavily supported with 3D computer design tools to ensure excellent surface modeling and photo realistic renderings for our clients. We have experts on the team specializing in Alias, Rhino, ProE, SolidWorks and for rendering tools Patchwork 3D and Hypershot/Keyshot.
Jochen’s vision embodies sensitivity to international consumers and international markets and is a passionate thinkers about consumer behavior.