Should I know that name and how do you say it? If you are an architect, designer, design-minded gourmand or neat freak with a big budget, Miele's (pronounced 'Meela') sleek, user-friendly and long-lasting 'domestic art' appliances, such as ovens, coffee makers and washing machines, reside at the top of your pantheon. Miele is the managing director and co-owner of the eponymous company started in Germany in 1899 by his great-grandfather. Only available in Europe during the 1980s, Miele now has subsid-iaries in five continents thanks to the efforts of Markus' father Rudolf, who ran the company until 2004. What's a doctor doing running an appliance company? Miele has a doctorate in industrial economics and admits his strength is his desire to use items that are stylish and well made. Working collaboratively with a team of predominantly German designers, Miele oversees the creative and business aspects of the company, ensuring the company slogan of immer besser (forever better) is actualised in product design, function and durability. What is Miele's claim to fame? Miele products add European style to parts of the home normally associated with drudgery. Miele has also introduced 'smart' appliances: washing machines with a hand-wash option and tumble driers with a programme that adapts to particular materials. The company tries to achieve a contemporary yet timeless look with its design aesthetic. Picture a slender coffee maker built into a kitchen wall or an exhaust hood of neat right angles that floats above a streamlined stove. The company apparently uses anthropological methods to observe how people interact with their products: in Hong Kong, where the buyer is usually not the person who uses the luxury home appliance, Miele encouraged customers to drop off their laundry in the morning and pick it up in the evening to see how well the washing machine treated their haute couture. What is Miele up to now? Miele has brought out a vacuum cleaner in tealite blue metallic, mango red (left) and melon yellow that is 'small but full of punch' and designed with the smaller scale of Hong Kong flats in mind. Where can I find Miele products in Hong Kong? Miele's showroom is at shop 2, 111 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 1018.