They are and always have been profound experts and sought after craftsmen, or even celebrated artists or functionally-aware designers. Their material comes from nature and what they manage to create from it bears eloquent witness to human culture. There has rarely been a profession which has been able to stay so important without losing touch with the present.
The conditions are naturally perfect. Wood, in addition to stone and metal, is amongst the most important materials of humankind in almost any place of the world. Even the industrial revolution of the 19th century did not put a sudden stop to this.
The early machines usually still had wooden frames or wooden mechanisms. Only with an increase in requirements for wear strength or load torques did iron managed to oust wood from its dominating position in favour of greater load bearing strength and breakage resistance.
One of the first and at the same most impressive traditions in elaborate wood art dates back to Egyptian times as one would expect from the ingenious Egyptians. In 3,500 B.C., the Egyptians already recognised how versatile wood was and how is easy it is to work. Veneer technology was already used for ships, buildings, furniture and objects for daily use and a type of plywood was developed. The sarcophagus of the god-king Tutankhamen is a special example for early craftsmanship.
The wood craftsmen of the Greek and Roman empires perfected these work techniques mainly by developing new tools. Amongst others, the plane as we know it today was finally developed from little spades which were used to smooth the wood. Furthermore, not only domestic woods were used but for special purposes rare and exotic woods were processed thanks to the active trade in the ancient world.
Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In our conversations with contemporaries, we examine the claims, clichés and ideals surrounding our workplaces. This time we speak with Jacob Holm, President and CEO of Fritz Hansen. In an e-mail interview, he talked about Fritz Hansen’s design DNA, explained why Danish design is so popular and told us what makes employees creative.
Founded in 1872 by the carpenter Fritz Hansen as a carpentry workshop, today the Republic of Fritz Hansen is known all over the world. The Republic of Fritz Hansen works with internationally selected designers and architects. Thanks to creative partnerships with visionaries such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner and Poul Kjærholm, Fritz Hansen has created a number of trendsetting, technically revolutionary and functional furniture classics which became classics. New creations also demonstrate the innovative power of the brand: The success of the models FAVNTM and RoTM by Spanish top designer Jamie Hayón or the series minusculeTM by Cecilie Manz are testimony to their flair for design and materials.
Fritz Hansen is famous for a number of iconic design classics, but you also work with contemporary designers a lot. How do you connect past and future? How can one move into the modern world without breaking with the past?
I wouldn’t distinguish between design classics from the past and new design for the future – at Fritz Hansen we are keen to ensure there is a common thread running through our “design DNA”. It is important for us to design new things that can stand next to pieces that are 50 years old – for example, take our combination of a new table by Jaime Hayon with a 55-year-old Arne Jacobson design!
What do you like most about your work?
I really like to work in a highly internationally-orientated environment and with Fritz Hansen exports at 80%, it means I am travelling a lot. At the same time I really like the combination of business and design – it is a privilege to work with design and innovation.
Founded in 1872 by the carpenter Fritz Hansen as a carpentry workshop, today the Republic of Fritz Hansen is known all over the world.To this day, the design by Republic of Fritz Hansen is characterised by its own independent identity - the art of furniture making that exhibits contemporary sense of form and long-lasting originality. For us, the Fritz Hansen team created an Office.Playlist. Will it be a classic in its own right? Tune in to find out!
Materials which are selected for the environment in which we work and live in are usually considered as a mirror of the soul. Some leave us cold and seem unapproachable, they keep us at a distance and create clear borders. Others are inviting and exude warmth, they invite us to touch and bring a harmonic balance to a room. Wood is without doubt part of the second category and is more and more sought after as a material - both for our homes and offices.
What is it that makes wood so fascinating? Surely, it can't be just the diversity of nature with its different grains, habits and wood types, providing us with a seemingly endless range of design opportunities. It's also the thought of a natural environment and grown beauty, the idea of valuable resources and sustainability and the feeling of security and soundness. Wood combines all of these qualities: a regrowing miracle material which never stops to live and is unparalleled. No surprise then, that since the invention of the saw blade man has always wanted to surround himself with this natural element.
Bene Belgium turns 10! In order to properly celebrate this anniversary, we are pleased to invite you to the Bene Expert Talk «Co-Creating Tomorrow», taking place at the brand new headquarters of our partner Potiez-Deman.
Co-Creating Tomorrow: cooperation and creative collaboration enable innovation and encourage companies to grow and develop. In a Bene Expert Talk, international consultants, designers and entrepreneurs will discuss how teamwork can make your company successful and the part that office design plays in this process.
A new spin on the office: Bene brings fresh pep into the office with the TIMBA Table and TIMBA Stool, designed by PearsonLloyd, offering the best conditions for creative cooperation and dynamic teamwork.
Cooperation is the key word. Employees shift back and forth between meeting rooms, places and spaces for communication, team and project work, workshops and desks. TIMBA, the new furniture line from Bene, was developed especially to create a pivotal point of focus for teams in modern office landscapes.
TIMBA Table and TIMBA Stool take you by surprise with their solid oak construction and rotating features. The oak legs of the table and stools convey stability and warmth. The round swivel base brilliantly provides the team access to power and the network via the “Power Bowl” in the centre of the TIMBA Table. The TIMBA Stool’s round, swivelling seat surface ensures optimal freedom of movement during discussions and promotes dynamism and interaction. When people are relaxed in terms of their posture, they remain flexible and open to new ideas.
“Meetings in the office are no longer events you always go to a separate room to conduct. They are just as likely to be quick, unplanned, and informal. TIMBA was developed for an open type of cooperation that is done at a shared table; it fills precisely that gap between informal collaboration and the formal setting delivered by traditional meeting rooms.” (Tom Lloyd, PearsonLloyd)
Co-Creating Tomorrow: cooperation and creative collaboration enable innovation and encourage your company to grow and develop.
Join us to find out how teamwork can make your company more successful and what part office design plays in this process at the
Bene Showroom Cologne, on 21st of October 2014
»Co-Creating Tomorrow«, Bene Cologne, Habsburgerring 2, 50674 Cologne*
Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporary figures we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time we had a conversation with Ulli Ehrlich. The Head of Design and Managing Director of the Sportalm family business resides in Kitzbühel. She spoke with Marlon Schuhfleck about sources of inspiration, daily challenges and the exciting effect of the colour white.
Since the 1990s, Ulli Ehrlich has given the Sportalm collections their distinctive character. The broad spectrum of their creations ranges from sports clothing to stylish wardrobe staples and playful traditional fashion. She always knows how to bring the regional roots of the family business into an international, modern context. And success has been on her side: By now, Sportalm is one of the most successful companies in the Austrian fashion world.
Traditional, functional, regional, and yet always modern, stylish and international - Sportalms' range bends boundaries. Ms Ehrlich, how did this very unique company positioning come about?
Traditional dress has always been part of Sportalm's portfolio. When we bought Franz Kneissl, the product range was complemented with ski fashion and then about 10 years ago we took the plunge into fashion. We believe that our alpine lifestyle can be successful anywhere, not just in the mountains. In the meantime, this has developed into a very fashionable clothing collection which we can sell worldwide.
What is a typical day like for a creative designer at Sportalm? Or is there no such thing as daily routine in your work?
Of course, there is a daily routine of office work and meetings, but every day is definitely exciting, because we always work on a collection, prepare a trade show or photo shoot. There is always something new to do.
"None of us is as smart as all of us", said the American entrepreneur and management teacher Kenneth Blanchard. Cooperation is the buzz word of the moment - we know more together and achieve more as a team. The best ideas do not come from working alone - complex tasks and interdisciplinary projects require team work. What is required for good team work? How are ideas transformed into innovation and launched to the market? And what is the contribution of rooms in this context?
An MIT study found that employees learn about 70% of everything they know about the job from their colleagues. It is easier to learn important skills and small tricks which are re-quired for the job whilst working with each other than when working by oneself behind a desk.
The importance of social cooperation working within a company works goes beyond the in-dividual. Team work is at its best when the exchange and communication between individu-al project participants runs "smoothly".
Yet, isn't it mainly the social aspect of work that has been left behind in our time of digitisa-tion? Information is passed on by email, entire projects are coordinated online and you learn about your colleagues' birthday on the Intranet.
After 20 successful years, Count Basic are now releasing their fifth album „Sweet Spot“. On this occassion, Count Basic’s master mind Peter Legat has created a very special Office.Playlist.