Kettnaker - 150 years
From the carpenter's workshop in Upper Swabia to an internationally active manufactory
The 150-year history of the Kettnaker manufactory strings together milestones: successes, ups and downs and inventions that change the industry. Today, the company manufactures highly individual, freely configurable furniture systems at its site in Dürmentingen by means of a modular system. Solutions are developed for all types of rooms: rom wardrobes and sideboards to tables, shelving and beds, realised with high-quality materials with 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 and the façade panels can be exchanged with a single movement. The ALEA collection is similarly flexible: all modules can be stacked or arranged in any order- sculptural statement pieces are created. Managing partner Wolfgang Kettnaker coined "Bespoke furniture" as the guiding principle for the direction of the manufacture. "We've managed to stay independent for 150 years. We owe this to our timeless and high-quality products and a close partnership with our retailers. We live traditions and break them when the time is right. Individual design, innovative strength and a strong team spirit ensure healthy growth, nationally and internationally. This is our way into the future."
A story of transformation
The medium-sized dynamics have shaped the company from the very beginning. In 1870 Karl Kettnaker founded a joinery in Dürmentingen in Upper Swabia. His son continues to run the company as a classic joinery with individual production and direct sales. In 1960 a large fire completely destroys the production. The third generation masters the new beginning with a strong team spirit. It recognises the potential of series production of carcase furniture and thus heralds a new era in the company. Stroke of fate: From the lecture hall to the management Already in 1987, while still studying industrial engineering, the current managing partner, Wolfgang Kettnaker, had to take the place of his late father.
In 1999 he became sole managing partner. "I grew up next to my grandfather's workbench and was allowed to experiment a lot in the workshop," he recalls. Together with the development team he initiates trendsetting changes. The design becomes more modern and puristic, new materials are added. At the end of the 1990s, Kettnaker expanded its range to include lacquer surfaces. The successful development in the market creates growth, which is also visible for the community of Dürmentingen. In 2005 a new office building with a large showroom was built, in which the versatile collection was presented to the public.
Innovative leap SOMA
In times of financial crisis, the orientation must be reviewed again. "The market has consolidated in a very short time. In order to survive in this critical phase of competition, we only had one chance: We had to penetrate an even more acute market segment and make the existing products even more luxurious and individual. Our goal was to become even finer and more minimalist, as well as to enable a wide variety of materials," says Wolfgang Kettnaker, describing the situation. An extraordinary idea heralds the turning point: The furniture body is fitted with magnetically fixed façade panels of six millimetres thickness. With it, the aesthetics of a piece of furniture can be changed with just a few simple movements. The front of the furniture is separated from the function of the carcase, so that the sophisticated customer can give the furniture an aesthetics according to his individual ideas. From now on, completely new materials such as rear-lacquered glass and aluminium give the Kettnaker furniture systems their extraordinary and unique signature. The SOMA magnet changing system is a sensation in the industry.
Made in Germany - At home all over the world
In the anniversary year Wolfgang Kettnaker is gearing the company towards the future. The product range will be expanded to include wardrobes and upholstered beds: "Our path is not primarily oriented towards trends, it is about values, timelessness and the quality of a manufactory. After all, modular furniture systems often accompany the user throughout his or her life. With the help of our flexible systems, they can cope with every change and move to a different environment". All development and production processes are 100 percent in Germany. "Every single part is handled several times during the manufacturing process, we regrind, improve, check," says Wolfgang Kettnaker. "This is the only way we are able to guarantee the quality we promise with our brand, with a team of longstanding and self-trained employees." Kettnaker's success factor is not least the strong partnership with its dealers. “We take the customer needs very seriously, it is an essential motor of our innovative strength", explains Wolfgang Kettnaker. We want to provide our partners with what they need for their customers. "
The active communication and commitment to service are part of the company ethos. The partner network extends to the upmarket specialist furniture trade in both metropolitan and rural regions, to interior designers and interior architects. The internationalization of Kettnaker is also progressing steadily in Moscow, Dubai and Shanghai. Today the company is one of the top 50 luxury brands in Germany. "Every generation has to re-examine the business and redefine it in keeping with the times," stresses Wolfgang Kettnaker. "Today, in the early 21st century, with modern machinery and a highly systematic approach, we are creating a design language for demanding individualists. We mention series and unicum in one breath."