RIKA stove design: Short interview with Gerald Kiska
On the occasion of the company's 70th anniversary, we visited our long-standing partner Gerald Kiska, managing director of the internationally renowned design agency KISKA, in Salzburg and talked to him about the cooperation with RIKA as well as the stove design.
RIKA: What does the stove design creation process actually look like?
Gerald Kiska: The stove design process is in fact still the same as it was 20 years ago, at least in the early stages. That means we try to show as broad a spectrum as possible with the help of sketches and collections of ideas, then draw up the guidelines in discussions with the client and then implement the technology at an early stage using 3D CAD tools to see whether the proportions, materials, feasibility and technology are a good fit and then actually develop a kind of digital prototype at a very early stage, which allows statements to be made not only about the aesthetic features but also about issues such as feasibility and materials.
RIKA: Can you outline how the collaboration with RIKA started?
Gerald Kiska: We started working with RIKA in 1999, in a very funny, unusual way, namely through a mutual tax consultant who brought us both together at a lunch in Salzburg with the words “I think you should get to know each other” and you could say, the sparks was kindled. The first challenge was to understand what motivated Mr Riener, so in the beginning we showed a much wider spectrum than usual, simply to discuss different directions with him and to understand what was important to him. Design has the remit of not only showing a product’s inherent qualities but also giving a company, a brand, a face over a long period of time. In the case of an owner-managed company, this face is always linked to the owner and in this respect it is important to find out in the initial phase what motivates them and what their attitude is to the subject of design. The stoves of 20 years ago were still very simple products, now they are packed with technology, and you have to deal with that as a designer. They should be easy for users to operate despite them having more technology, which means that the user-friendly concept must be given more attention and customers’ demands have changed at the same time. So we’ve actually had the bar raised a bit all round.
RIKA: How do you see the trend towards the customisation of products?
Gerald Kiska: Perhaps a little anecdote on the subject of customisation: I did my apprenticeship years at Porsche Design, and at Porsche Design there was a motto that any colour is good as long as it’s black. And then a dealer approached us and said, I would like Porsche design products in brown as well – for leather products. And we said, really, do you really think you can sell it? And he said it’s not there to be sold, it’s there to be shown off, I know they’re going to take the black version anyway, but they'd like the choice – so much on the topic of customisation
RIKA: What does the “stove of the future” look like?
Gerald Kiska: The stove of the future will follow the same criteria as the RIKA stove of the last 20 years. That means timeless design, that still follows living trends and therefore also fits in with the times and, above all, the very complex technology that distinguishes RIKA; better heating value, better emission values combined with as much comfort as possible. So the challenge remains the same, tastes change.
Watch now: in conversation with Gerald Kiska