Bora CEO Willi Bruckbauer on the power of being a niche brand

InterviewFeatures Thu 3rd Dec 2020 by Amelia Thorpe

Bora CEO Willi Bruckbauer on the power of being a niche brand

Bora CEO Willi Bruckbauer on the power of being a niche brand

Feature by Amelia Thorpe | Thu 3rd Dec 2020

Amelia is an award-winning journalist, specialising in kitchens, bathrooms, interiors and design. She has contributed to many leading national publications, and has written about the kitchen and bathroom business for more than 15 years. More

Known for pioneering the cooktop extractor, there can be little doubt that Bora has made its mark. After all, many other appliance manufacturers now offer a cooktop extractor system of some kind, be it specialist extractor brands such as Elica and Novy to MDA heavyweights such as Miele and Siemens. But can niche brand Bora stay ahead of the game?

Bora’s purpose-built company building in Niederndorf, Austria, opened in 2018, houses R&D, product management, marketing and sales, and is located close to its HQ in Raubling

The power of invention
Bora Lüftungstechnik GmbH was founded in 2007 in Raubling, Upper Bavaria, by Willi Bruckbauer, 53, who remains the CEO. “I was a master carpenter, designing and making kitchens to meet the broadest range of requirements and requests, but frequently frustrated by certain design limits,” recalls Bruckbauer. “Huge extractor hoods obstructed views, people knocked into the corners and edges, and kitchen vapours were distributed around the room, falling on units and furnishings.” He says he began to tinker with some ideas, going on to lodge his first patent. “Bora downdraft cooktop extractors are based on a simple principle of physics: the system draws away vapours and odours at a greater speed than they rise,” he says. “The result: the vapour is completely extracted.”

Inside the Bora company building in Niederndorf, designed to offer an inspiring work atmosphere

Product focus
Naming his company Bora after one of the world’s strongest katabatic (downslope) winds, Bruckbauer’s vision, “the end of the overhead extractor hood”, has seen the product range grow from the original Professional system to include Classic, X Pure, Pure and Basic ranges. Products are now sold in 60 countries, with most recent launches including the X Pure extra-wide cooktop with striking air inlet nozzle and vertical slider operation, and the Professional 3.0, a modular system – with cooktops from surface induction and gas to a stainless steel teppan plate – that can be customised to suit individual requirements. 

Bora X Pure flush integrated cooktop and extractor with SControl touch controls

The Bora Professional 3.0 modular system offers a choice of cooktops with a 54cm depth, which can be freely combined with the extraction system

In the UK, the Bora Lab, near Tower Bridge in London, is open by appointment to showcase working products to retailers (and their customers) and architects, while its sales team is available to help specify ducting systems alongside retailers. The company has invested substantially in UK marketing, including 1,000 TV ads on British TV, across ITV, ITV2 and STV, this year. “And this will be even higher next year,” adds Bruckbauer. 

Teaming up with Bora, bestselling UK food writer Melissa Hemsley has produced a cookbook of fresh, healthy recipes, Bora 10/10

Driving forward
Bora states that its premium quality systems are more effective than conventional hoods, quiet, energy efficient and easy to clean. “Bora is also unique because our only focus is on cooktop extractors,” says Bruckbauer. “We currently employ 50 R&D engineers focussed purely on this product sector.” 

It is well known that the challenges of the pandemic have resulted in many people spending more time at home and, as Bruckbauer puts it, “focussing their attention on making the kitchen a comfortable space”. Quiet, unobtrusive, performance extraction will keep Bora in demand, says Bruckbauer. “I remain passionate about helping people to add their own personality to the kitchen as a living space and enabling customised planning and design without restrictions, with many more Bora inventions to come.”

Bora’s research indicates that its brand awareness is growing more quickly and strongly in markets with a connection to cycling, hence its continued sponsorship of the Bora-Hansgrohe cycling team

Tags: features, interview, bora, willi bruckbauer, extraction

In other news