Traveling to beautiful destinations and meeting fascinating people are some of the perks of my work as a lifestyle columnist. When the trip is related to interior design, I am doubly excited. One such trip was a visit to a strikingly remarkable German kitchen manufacturer in Herford, Germany.

Last year, I was introduced to eggersmann Kitchens | Home Living, a German manufacturer of bespoke cabinetry suited for the home. (Contact info@eggersmann.com.ph or +632 802 9719 for more info.) Their impressive Manila showroom is located at W Highstreet Bldg., 2/F, 28th St. cor. 11th Ave., Bonifacio Global City. We featured the showroom and its principals for an episode of Philippine Realty TV recently.

To celebrate eggersmann Manila’s first year, a select group of industry partners was invited visit their headquarters in Germany last May. The trip was headed and hosted by local brand manager Archie Nacpil. The fun-loving, high-energy group included Carlo Calma, Jigs Adefuin and the designing couple, Nicky and Maritess Magcase.

We flew to Dusseldorf on board the Emirates Airlines A380. It was an incredible experience to enjoy having cocktails at a bar lounge complete with flight attendant/bartender up in the air. Carlo and Archie made sure we started the trip with champagne while chatting with the other passengers. Thanks to a Filipina flight attendant, I was able to tour the First Class section and check out the full bathroom and lounge area. Imagine showering at 40,000 feet!

In Germany, we first stopped at Frank Gehry’s mARTA Museum in Herford. Everybody was in awe seeing the facade – a classic Gehry juxtaposition of brick and aluminum.

At eggersmann, we were welcomed by the very hands-on owner and president of eggersmann, Michael Wunram, and their country rep Andreas Hegenscheidt. They showed us their new ultra minimalist showroom, the “blackBox.” The display spoke volumes about eggersmann’s stronghold – bespoke kitchen cabinetry, exquisite materials and superb quality.

Their export director Michael Brinkjost showed us eggersmann’s ultramodern yet compact factory. The perfectly equipped and highly modern facility produces numerous kitchen systems delivered all over the world. The extensive tour showed the components, construction and accuracy employed to every eggersmann kitchen, the attention to details, the choice exquisite and high-grade materials.

Established in 1908 by Wilhelm Eggersmann, it is now the oldest family-owned, German cabinet manufacturer. eggersmann Kitchens has produced individual, tailor-made solutions for aesthetic and luxurious kitchen furniture for more than a century. The company’s 108 employees produces around 6,000 kitchens a year, with over 70% shipped abroad. Innovation and sustainability are bywords on the factory floor.

While in Germany, we went into tourist mode, dropping in on Hamburg and a visit to the Elbphilharmonie, located in the historic Sandtorhafen, which was Hamburg’s old working harbor for centuries. The Kaiserspeicher, Hamburg’s biggest warehouse on the water, was built in 1875. Destroyed in the Second World War, it was then rebuilt and renamed Kaispeicher. The spelling and pronunciation remain a challenge to me.

The team toured inside the complex and the last stop was the visit within one of the condominium in the Elbphilharmonie. The ultra-luxe condominium unit boasts a super stylish eggersmann kitchen.

It was truly a memorable trip. We shared our wonderful adventure with the Class of 2017 of the Philippine School of Interior Design and their PSID Alumni Association at the school’s Golden Anniversary held at the Manila Showroom last month.

Another fun trip that I recently joined was to watch the opening night of Broadway’s greatest dance musical, “West Side Story” in Singapore, on the invitation of Concertus Manila. Daring, realistic and still as relevant as the day it premiered, “West Side Story” comes to Manila as part of a worldwide tour, following sold-out seasons around the world, including London, Paris, Sydney and Berlin. The musical premieres at The Theatre at Solaire next month and the excitement cannot be more palpable.

Boasting of a young all-American cast, many of whom came direct from Broadway, the musical will be playing for a strictly limited, three-week season beginning August 10. Tickets are now on sale at ticketworld.com.ph. The Manila season of “West Side Story” is presented by Globe LIVE.

As a finale, let me recount a recent, decadent dinner at the Peninsula Manila’s Old Manila and a preview to a very special movie, all hosted by the king. The king I’m referring to is, of course, the king of cognacs, Louis XIII from the house of Remy Martin, as represented by Chris Kwek, Remy’s private client director.

King Louis XIII of France was the authority behind the cognac and its establishment as a separate category of liquor over a hundred years ago. His Majesty recognized the hard work, beauty, elegance and passionate dedication to create this elixir.

Each decanter of Louis XIII is a symphony of the finest grapes from the Grand Champagne region, married with the most exceptional eaux-de-vie or water of life, distilled for a hundred years and aged in special oak casks. The current decanter was designed in collaboration with artist Christophe Pillet and pays homage to the heritage and artistry of the high quality cognac.

The tasting ceremony led by Chris happened after the sumptous dinner and the preview of the movie, “100 year: The movie you will never see.” John Malcovich stars and Robert Rodriguez directs this Louis XIII-inspired film that shows the century of careful attention and patience it takes to create a decanter of the cognac. None of us will be seeing this film anytime soon though as it will be kept in storage and will be opened in the year 2115, a hundred years after it was made. Now that is planning for the future!

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