Personal Space: Manfred Bene on ”Lebensraum” (Living Space)

Office History Living Space Interview

Much rather, Raum implies an emotional dimension that dates back to the 1960’s, when visionary ideas of space were revolutionising the architectural scene. In those days, tall statements and bold theses such as "Everything is architecture" began to be voiced, criticising prevailing functionalism.

Manfred Bene, today chairman of the supervisory board of Bene, the internationally successful office furnishing company, remembers statements such as ‘First we will shape our environment, then the environment will shape us’, "which gave keen insight to me and shaped our corporate philosophy."

Accordingly, his concept of space is comprehensive: "Space is what surrounds us". Be it rural space, urban space, living space – or, for that matter, office space.

Obviously offices play an important part in the life of a person who grew up in an office furniture family enterprise, as is the case of Manfred Bene. But still, the "passion and imagination" this full-blooded entrepreneur puts into the development and implementation of his ideas comes indeed as a surprise: For him, offices are primarily living space, a "hot place" of communication and creativity. Interior space should pick up the vibrations of a stimulating atmosphere three-dimensionally rather than being a rigid structure.

For a business man, space naturally also implies economic space.

And one of Manfred Bene’s principal characteristics is his determined will to grow. "I realised soon that quality products only generate high revenues if marketed across large economic spaces." In that regard, he mentions the company’s proactive drives at major internationalisation in the eighties and nineties of the past century. Ever since then, Bene has launched its ideas on office space in growing markets such as London, Moscow and, just recently, Dubai, all of which have their own local outlets.
"We look into our customers’ eyes", Mr. Manfred Bene summarises his successful business model.
An eye for an eye, a space for a space.



Désirée Schellerer

Public Relations Manager