Manufacturer Kettnaker celebrates anniversary: From a joiner’s trade to an international company in 150 years
The 150-year history of the manufacture Kettnaker is marked by numerous milestones: Successes, ups and downs and inventions that change the industry. Today, the company produces highly individual, freely configurable furniture systems with the help of a modular system at the company location in Dürmentingen, Germany. In doing so, solutions are developed for all room types: From wardrobes and sideboards to tables, shelving units and beds, all furniture is manufactured with high quality materials and inimitable precision. A highlight is the SOMA series: On request the panels of the furnishing system can be equipped with a unique magnetic exchange system whereby the facade panels can be exchanged instantly. The ALEA collection is also flexible: The modules can be arranged in any order or stacked – creating sculptural statement pieces. Managing partner Wolfgang Kettnaker defines “Bespoke furniture” as the guiding concept for the orientation of the manufactory. “We’ve managed to remain independent for 150 years now. We owe this to our timeless and high-quality products and our close partnership with the trade. We live traditions and break them at the right time. Individual design, innovative strength and a strong team spirit lead us to healthy growth, nationally and internationally. This is our way into the future.”
A history of transformation
The medium-sized dynamic characterizes the company from the very beginning. In 1870 Karl Kettnaker founds a carpenter’s workshop in Dürmentingen, upper Swabia. His son continues to run the company as a classic carpenter’s workshop with individual production and direct sales. In 1960 a major fire destroyed the entire production. The third generation overcame the new beginning with a strong team spirit. It recognized the potential of series production of corpus furniture and heralds a new era in the company.
A stroke of fate: From the lecture hall to the management board
While still studying industrial engineering in 1987 the current managing partner, Wolfgang Kettnaker, had to take the place of his deceased father. Since becoming sole managing partner in 1999 he has been initiating forward-looking changes together with the development team. The design becomes more modern and puristic as new materials are added. At the end of the 1990s, Kettnaker expands its range to include lacquered surfaces. The successful development in the market creates growth that is also visible for the community of Dürmentingen. This was followed in 2005 by a new office building with a large showroom in which the versatile collection is presented to the public.
Innovation leap SOMA
In times of financial crisis, the orientation has to be reviewed again. “The market has consolidated in a very short time. Therefore, we only had one chance to survive in this critical phase of competition: we had to enter an even more acute market segment and make the existing products even more luxurious and individual. An extraordinary idea marks the turning point: The furniture corpus is fitted with magnetically fastened façade panels with six millimetre-thin material. This allows the aesthetics of a piece of furniture to be changed in a few simple steps. The front of the furniture is separated from the function of the body. In this way, the discerning customer can give the furniture an aesthetics according to his individual ideas. Completely new materials such as rear-lacquered glass and aluminium lend the Kettnaker furniture systems their extraordinary and unique signature. The SOMA magnet exchange system is a sensation in the industry.
Made in Germany – At home all over the world
In the anniversary year Wolfgang Kettnaker is aligning the manufacture to the future. That’s why the range is extended including wardrobes and padded beds: “We do not primarily focus on trends, but on values, timelessness and the quality of a manufactory. The reason for this is that modular furniture systems often accompany the user throughout life. With our flexible systems, they can take part in any change and move to a different environment.” Moreover, all development and manufacturing processes take place 100 percent in Germany. “Each individual part is picked up several times in the production process, we regrind, improve and check,” says Wolfgang Kettnaker. “This is the only way we can guarantee the quality that we promise with our brand with a team of long-standing and self-taught employees.”
One of Kettnaker’s success factors is its strong partnership with its dealers. “We take customer feedback very seriously; it is a key driver of our innovative strength,” explains Wolfgang Kettnaker. “We want to provide our partners with what they need for their customers”. Part of the company ethos are the lived exchange and commitment in service. The partner network extends to the upscale specialist furnishing trade both in metropolitan and rural regions, to interior designers and interior architects. Kettnaker’s internationalisation is also continuing in Moscow, Dubai and Shanghai. Today, the company ranks among the top 50 luxury brands in Germany. “Every generation has to rethink the business and redefine it modernly”,Wolfgang Kettnaker emphasizes. “Today, in the early 21st century, we are shaping a design language for discerning individualists with modern machinery and a highly systematic approach. We call series and unicum in one breath”.
More information about manufacture Kettnaker at hicklvesting.
Company website of manufacture Kettnaker.