Discover Germany, Issue 53, August 2017

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Issue 53 | August 2017






Your Shortcut to Germany Bergen


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G enburg Goth

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Billund Manchester

London City








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Pap ers



Discover Germany  |  Contents

Contents AUGUST 2017

24 Photo: © Ramon Haindl for

90 Photo: © ETH Zurich

COVER FEATURE 24 Rabea Schif Media all-rounder Rabea Schif, best known for presenting Prominent! on VOX, speaks to Discover Germany about her latest projects, her love for Frankfurt and about why Germans should dare more.

SPECIAL THEMES 35 Summer in Austria In this special theme, we take a look at how to spend a summer in Austria so you can get inspired for your next trip. 40 EMO Hannover 2017 From 18 to 23 September 2017, the EMO Hannover trade fair will give an insight into the exciting world of metalworking. Thus, we have handpicked some of this year’s innovative exhibitors. 48 Recruiting Experts Germany’s recruitment industry is booming. In this special theme, we therefore present some of Germany’s best recruiters. 62 Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017 Consumer electronics, technology solutions, digital innovations – all these terms have become well-known and appreciated terms all over Germany. Let’s find out what the current trends are and who today’s industry movers are. 85 Top German Architects For this theme, we have handpicked some of Germany’s top architects so you can find out about the motives and inspirations behind their enchanting buildings. 90 Architecture Special Switzerland Switzerland’s architectural heritage is as diverse as it is impressive and goes far beyond geographical borders. Find out more

about great Swiss architects, their work and their processes in this special theme.

FEATURES 28 Film Review: 13 Minutes Find out what our writer Sonja Irani thinks about 13 Minutes – a film about Georg Elser, who tried to assassinate Hitler. 30 Star Interview: Julia Dietze The versatile, charismatic actress Julia Dietze speaks to Discover Germany about her current projects, her biggest challenge so far, her love for Berlin and much more. 32 First-Class Experience in Germany’s Second Tier As 18 August marks the long-anticipated start of the Bundesliga season 2017/2018, journalist Daniel Barthold went to find out more about one of Germany’s favourite pastimes and Germany’s second tier. 34 Hotel of the Month, Germany Located in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, the long-established Hotel Staudacherhof is the perfect place to fully enjoy the Bavarian Alps and all of its various facets. 38 Fallen Out of Time and Space Writer Karin Huber went on a hiking trip to explore one of Switzerland’s most impressive landscapes: the Swiss Alps’ Flüela Pass and the Jöri Lakes near Davos. 47 Consultant of the Month In this article, the Austria-based ITC procurement specialist Heitzig Consult GmbH speaks about how they help clients to overhaul their telecommunications infrastructure, while saving costs and more.


Dedicated to Design Whether you are searching for a new, stylish outfit for the office, a unique bag,

38 Photo: © Karin Huber

enchanting jewellery or for innovative design ideas from the DACH region, be sure to take a look at our design section. 28 Culture This month, our culture section is filled with a great film review and a star interview with one of Germany’s greatest actresses. 32 Travel Whether you are searching for a great hotel, your next holiday experience or some inspiration for sport enthusiasts, we have got you covered in the travel section. 40 Business Our business section is filled with innovative companies, inspiring trade fairs, great consultants and recruiters, consumer electronics and technology trends and German and Swiss architects. Our columnist Gregor Kleinknecht further takes on the interesting topic of the European Court of Justice in regards to the Brexit discourse. 113 Culture Calendar Discover Germany’s culture calendar is your perfect guide to what not to miss in August. 118 Barbara Geier Column This month, our columnist Barbara Geier explores the relationship between Germany and fashion. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  3

Dear Reader,

Published 08.2017 ISSN 2051-7718

Karin Huber Nadine Carstens Silke Henkele Sonja Irani Thomas Schroers

Published by Scan Magazine Ltd.

Cover Photo © Ramon Haindl

Print Liquid Graphic Ltd.

Sales & Key Account Managers Emma Fabritius Nørregaard Laura Hummer Noura Draoui Sophie Blecha Catriona Noble

Discover Germany Issue 53, August 2017

Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Nane Steinhoff Copy-Editor Isa Hemphrey Graphic Designer Mercedes Moulia Assistant Editor Marilena Stracke Contributors Barbara Geier Cornelia Brelowski Daniel Barthold Gregor Kleinknecht Ina Frank Jessica Holzhausen

Publisher: SCAN GROUP Scan Magazine Ltd. 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom Phone: +44 (0)870 933 0423 Fax: +44 (0)870 933 0421   Email: For further information please visit

Summer holidays are in full swing and thus, you are probably travelling to or just coming from a nice holiday destination. Whether you are a beach lover, a culture enthusiast or prefer weekend trips, we hope you enjoyed and are still enjoying this year’s exciting summer. Our summer issue – the August issue is filled with exciting design and fashion tips, great travel ideas for this or next summer, technology trends, as well as architects and much more. Furthermore, we were able to speak to German actress Julia Dietze and found out about her past and current projects amongst other things. I’m also happy to announce that this month’s cover is adorned by none other than media all-rounder Rabea Schif. Best known for presenting Prominent! on VOX, her face has also already been seen in several commercials, internet formats or music videos. Discover Germany spoke to her to find out more about her passion for presenting, her time in London, why an interview with Lady Gaga was the most memorable talk she ever had and much, much more. Writer Karin Huber further takes us to the enchanting Jöri Lakes in the Swiss Alps and explains why this exciting landscape should be visited on your next trip to Switzerland. Last but not least, August marks the beginning of something rather special for the majority of Germans: the Bundesliga 2017/2018 season kicks off on 18 August. This means affordable football tickets, fresh beer and a classic Bratwurst for months on end. To celebrate this muchanticipated event, writer Daniel Barthold went out to explore some of Germany’s most popular and most traditional stadiums of the second tier. Because after all, the ‘Zweite Bundesliga’ has several traditional clubs that are worth a visit too, while offering great atmosphere, fair-priced tickets and an exciting promotion and relegation battle. Sit back, relax and thanks for reading.

Nane Steinhoff, Editor

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

4  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

the place to be for business.

Berlin: High in Demand.

Accelerate your growth – in Berlin. Germany’s capital has got it all: the most influential political and economic decision makers, innovative companies and an unrivaled concentration of science and research. Berlin has great potential at its fingertips: Specialists and executives who are excellently trained and thrilled by the high quality of Berlin’s urban life. If you consider relocating your business you’re very welcome in Berlin! Accelerate your company’s growth – with customized solutions powered by Berlin Partner for Business and Technology.

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Fashion Finds

Fashion Finds As August is in full swing, we realised that autumn is not far away. However, that does not need to be a bad thing as autumn also means beautiful park sceneries with golden leaves and, of course, your favourite autumn outfits. This month, we handpicked some great office looks for men – perfect for the end of summer. EDITOR’S PICKS  I  PRESS IMAGES

The Mönchengladbach-based fashion label CINQUE embodies the casual elegance of the Italian lifestyle – as can be seen in this stylish, yet sophisticated office outfit. Suit jacket ‘CIPULETTI-S’ £265, long sleeve ‘CIZUGLIANO’ £53, pants ‘CIPULETTI-H’ £124.

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Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Fashion Finds

This fashionable bow tie by German brand Gentleman’s Agreement puts special emphasis on sophisticated details, meticulous handicraft and the highest quality. From £68.

If you have been looking for the perfect bag that not only stores all your belongings but that also looks great at the office, as well as on the weekend, look no further than this bag by CINQUE. £79.

Dare to be different with this stylish shirt by BOGNER. Style it up with a blazer or style it down with a simple pair of jeans. £155.

Founded in 1984 in Cinque Terre in Italy, CINQUE has grown into an internationally operating fashion label. It is no wonder with gorgeous fashion pieces like the ones shown here. Coat ‘CISECTOR’ £309, pants ‘CIWILD’ £79.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  7

F O T O G R A F I E : S Y LV A N M Ü L L E R


Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Eva Strepp

A pearl necklace. ‘Loop’ ring.

‘Swing’ earrings.

Bracelets with freshwater pearls.

A necklace and earrings from the ‘Viola’ collection. Photo: Eva Strepp

Simple forms and a light design create timeless jewellery Due to their vivid iridescence and flawless beauty, pearls are Eva Strepp’s favourite material. By focusing on simple concepts and clear forms, the skilled jewellery designer creates delicate, elegant collections that suit most women.

addition to this look are the ‘Tropfen’ earrings that also feature beautifully shining drop pearls.


In her workshop in Keltern, BadenWürttemberg, Eva Strepp puts her ideas into practice. With loving attention to detail, she collects pearls piece by piece, sorting them according to size and colour. As the jewellery designer explains, white pearls occur in numerous shades, from cool bluish colours to warm rose and crème tones. Then, she and her team primarily drill, but also mill, saw and polish the pearls. “It is essential to work precisely in order to avoid damage to the pearls’ outer layers,”she says. Thanks to this skilled craftsmanship, she creates fine necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings that are comfortable to wear and make a beautiful addition to any outfit.

For many centuries, natural pearls have been admired as objects of beauty. They are not only extremely rare and valuable, they also exude timeless elegance – especially if they are presented the right way. Jewellery designer Eva Strepp is convinced that it only takes a luminous pearl and a steel cable to put every woman in a good light. With her fine collections, she shows that less is more: while a classic string of pearls might appear old-fashioned nowadays, the highly skilled artisan prefers a reduced, simple style that suits most women, providing subtle highlights for every occasion. When designing her jewellery, she usually follows an impulse. “Sometimes I get new ideas when going for a walk and spend time by myself. Then, I think a particular design through and try to combine different forms until a surprising new piece evolves,” she explains.“I

am interested in designing jewellery that is conclusive and persisting. During this process, I concentrate on bare essentials and remove unnecessary loud add-ons,” says Eva Strepp. Pearls have been her favourite choice of material for more than ten years. Therefore, she only uses freshwater and Tahiti cultured pearls of the highest quality. These are combined with 750 gold and sterling silver or simple, yet elegant, steel cables. “I think pearls are perfect due to their spherical form and their beautiful light. To me, these are great design elements I like to play with,” she explains. Her ‘Viola’ collection, for example, has a captivating, distinctive romantic design, featuring a delicate necklace with a dropshaped pearl connected to a gold-plated steel cable with a bayonet clasp. A perfect

Eva Strepp’s jewellery is available at numerous retailers throughout Germany and Austria. For more information, visit the following website. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  9

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Abolengo de Alpaca

Näsemann family. Photo: © Kira Strunk

Abolengo de Alpaca: A true gift from nature For centuries, alpaca fleece has been called the fleece of the Gods, and rightly so. The precious soft fabric has outstanding qualities and is perfect for people suffering from allergies. Alpacas are usually bred in South America and are known for their origins with the Incas, but a herd of a hundred animals have found a marvellous home in Germany’s Münsterland at the alpaca farm Gut Aldenhövel. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

‘Abolengo de Alpaca’ is the name of the alpaca breed at the beautiful Gut Aldenhövel in Lüdinghausen. The Näsemann family, who were firmly established in the bedding industry, fell in love with the gentle animals over a decade ago. It all happened almost by chance. Beatrix Näsemann was ill and had to spend time in bed, where she watched a documentary about alpaca breeders. “I always had it in the back of my mind to work with an10  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

imals,” she remembers. The rest is history as they say. Today the family runs its own alpaca farm with six hectares of lush pastures and cannot imagine a life without their beloved alpacas. The family’s speciality is using alpaca fleece for various bedding purposes, from fillings for duvets and pillows to mattress toppers and mattress stitching. The luxury organic blanket with 100 per cent alpaca filling is the most popular product

as it is perfect to regulate the bed’s temperature. “To complete the optimal sleeping experience you need to have a duvet that provides excellent sleeping conditions,” explains Näsemann. “Alpacas are capable of adjusting to temperature differences between minus 25 degrees Celsius to plus 20 degrees Celsius on a daily basis. This makes the fibre so valuable for humans.” The alpaca products are particularly great options for people suffering from allergies, as they contain very little lanolin. Näsemann says: “We only use prime quality for our duvets. Because the finer the alpaca fleece, the stronger the positive characteristics such as the light weight paired with the ideal thermal capacity.”

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Abolengo de Alpaca

Näsemann’s bedding store Dorma Vita, which has been in the family for four generations, is the ideal platform to bring alpaca goodness to the world. Frank Näsemann adds: “It’s wonderful to be able to offer sustainable products of such remarkable organic and ecological value. We sell a piece of nature, and offer our customers exceptional products for reasonable prices with a clean conscious.” In the Abolengo online store there is a wide range of Alpaca products from socks, capes, blazers and hats to gloves, cuddly toys and yarn. Close friendships with breeders and textile manufacturers in Peru allow Abolengo to import additional fairtrade alpaca products directly in order to meet the high demand over here. Robin Näsemann, Beatrix and Frank Näsemann’s oldest son, studied in the USA to become an alpaca show judge and is now the only certified judge in mainland Europe. He visits Peru personally at least Photo: © Robin Näsemann

twice a year to ensure top quality. “In addition, we also buy raw alpaca wool here in Germany or Holland from breeder friends. That particular fleece is only used for our bedding items,”Näsemann explains. The wellbeing of their animals has top priority. No alpaca is going to be slaughtered and they are seen as part of the family. “It is just fantastic to live with these peaceful animals. Breeding is fascinating and we stay away from factory farming. I know every single one of my alpacas by name,” says Robin Näsemann, who jets around the world as a show judge when he is not at Gut Aldenhövel.“Of course it is great to travel the world, but the really exciting part of being a show judge is to see so many different animals. I discover an animal’s quality and potential and can hence influence my own breed.” At Gut Aldenhövel, every alpaca has its own family tree and studs are carefully selected from across the globe. On their

farm, emphasises Beatrix Näsemann, the alpacas grow old in peace. Visitors are of course welcome at Gut Aldenhövel and can have a closer look at the beautiful tranquil animals while they are grazing in the scenic landscape. Various seminars and introduction courses can also be booked for those who would like to learn more about the breeding, origin, history and show element of the alpacas. The alpaca products can be ordered online through the website or at one of the Dorma Vita stores as well as at the farm shop. Investing in an alpaca product is not only beneficial for your own wellbeing in terms of improving your sleep quality. It also contributes to making our planet a little better through supporting an environmentally friendly farm run by responsible breeders who understand what is most important: the well-being of their animals.

Alpaca shawl. Photo: © Kira Strunk

Alpaca duvet. Photo: © Robin Näsemann

Alpaca poncho. Photo: © Kira Strunk

Fine baby alpaca plaids. Photo: © Kira Strunk

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  11

Robert Horn with the Archiquant bag at the Venice Biennale.

These bags are made for life We have become used to the fact that many of the things we buy will only last a relatively short amount of time. The quick and easy use of products has thus become normal. When products become easily replaceable, it is reassuring to find one of these rare gems that are built to last.

cases we are still selling today,” says Horn, recalling the beginnings of his successful leather design company.


R. Horns Wien’s range of products on offer quickly widened, and today also comprises travel bags, handbags, purses and wallets as well as many more leather accessories like file folders or iPad sleeves. “Some Viennese have a very pronounced liking of luxury craftsmanship and luxury leather products, and it is this old and well-established tradition that we feel obliged to. Apart from

Viennese Robert Horn, an aficionado for bespoke leather shoes, started his business R. Horns Wien more than 30 years ago.“Hand-made shoes have always been a passion of mine. Their quality of craftsmanship and material as well as their original and yet sometimes very tradi12  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

tional styles have fascinated me for a long time. I have always appreciated the value of high-quality material combined with perfect workmanship and wanted to create something equally outstanding. The first leather briefcase I had thus handmade for me became the prototype of the brief-

An old Viennese tradition

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  R. Horns Wien

the quality of craftsmanship that goes into R. Horns Wien’s products, the design of our items is equally dedicated to tradition and purism. Our customers will find that our leather products emanate an attractive mixture of elegance and simplicity that blends into a unique look of functionality and timelessness,” Horn elucidates. Bespoke accessories “When I opened my shop, I wanted to craft and sell products that are representative for a certain quality and tradition. Looking back on the past 30 years R. Horns Wien has been in business, I can proudly and wholeheartedly say that we succeeded,” Horn beams. R. Horns Wien’s high-quality leather products come in a vast variety of forms and sizes. Each of the pieces leaving the workshop is unique.“As we don’t want to undermine the quality of our singular products we produce in very small numbers only,” underlines Horn. Leather goods made by R. Horns Wien become even more singular as the design

studio offers a bespoke service. “We do have customers who have their own very particular and personal ideas. They want to own a bag in a particular size, form or colour; or are looking for an item that is not part of our product range at all. We are very happy to comply with their requests and to find creative solutions for their ideas,” explains Horn about R. Horns Wien’s unique bespoke service. The beauty of well-worn leather Products by R. Horns Wien will get more beautiful with age if properly cared for. “Our products are made for life! They will be a reliable companion for a very long time indeed. If you care for them you will find that their age will give them a certain kind of patina and beauty that only comes with years of careful wear and tear,” says Horn, praising the advantages of the longevity of leather goods made by R. Horns Wien. Yet if one of their articles should indeed get broken, the company offers a repair service. “We are of course very happy to repair our products. This gives

us the opportunity not only to see how well our articles age but also to identify possible weaknesses of our design, which will enable us to reconsider and improve our work,” offers Robert Horn. Novelties made by R. Horns Wien The design team at R. Horns Wien is always on the lookout for attractive and fitting additions to their product range. The latest one is the ‘Home & Office’- series. Pocket trays in various sizes or leather-covered drawer handles will give your home that finishing, personalising touch. For seasoned and unseasoned air travellers alike, R. Horns Wien has created a stylish, transparent cosmetic bag that allows the inside to be checked by airport security without having to unpack. If you have become curious about R. Horns Wien’s products but do not happen to be in Vienna in the near future, do not worry - their unique products can be ordered online.

Briefcases in various sizes and colours.

A little selection of the varied colours on offer at R. Horns Wien.

Transparent toiletry bags - ideally suited for cosmetic articles.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  13

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  RÜGA & ICECARE


Showcasing Portuguese innovation At first glance, the two Portuguese brands RÜGA and ICECARE might not have much more in common than their origin. While RÜGA sells free-spirited women’s clothes, ICECARE has specialised on tasty ice cream. However, if one looks closer, RÜGA’s and ICECARE’s paths touch each other by their shared values, as well as their out-of-the-box thinking and attitude.


and exceptional wearing comfort. As a Portuguese brand for women’s clothes, it belongs to TOPSVILLE - Malhas e Confecções, Lda, a Portuguese company from Guimarães. RÜGA is committed to producing fashion for independent, modern and free-spirited women who put special emphasis on lifestyle, wellbeing and, of course, great fashion. Its inherent style is ‘boho chic’ and thus, the items’ distinctive marks are cheerful colours, bold patterns, bright and lively stampings and images, as well as a relaxed tone.

RÜGA was founded in 2007 by two enthusiastic brothers from northern Portugal and, ever since, RÜGA creations have stood out through their originality

Throughout its ten years of existence, RÜGA has associated itself with Portuguese public life figures. Internationally


Vitality, joyful living, existence that is pure pleasure, no associated guilt, increased wellbeing, economic power to live in the according mood and lifestyle bring the brands together. Their out-ofthe-box attitudes are shown in a joint photo shooting that can be admired on these pages. The photo shoot unites RÜGA’s lively colours with ICECARE’s 14  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

scientific and industrial production setting to prove that, in fact, for both brands “the two worlds collide”.

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  RÜGA & ICECARE

speaking, efforts have been focused on international exhibitions and on expanding the website presence. Thanks to these widespread efforts, RÜGA can now boast a market presence in countries such as Sweden, Finland, Mozambique, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Guadalupe, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Philippines, Switzerland and Australia. It needs to be noted that the German market has had a very welcoming reception to RÜGA’s clothes and the brand seeks to further raise brand recognition in the country with its sophisticated brand strategy. These strategic outcomes would not be possible if RÜGA had not taken advantage of Portuguese economy internationalisation support measures, driven by the European Union and the Portuguese Government. One of these support measures is international co-promotion.

To present itself on the German market, RÜGA has embraced this respective challenge by finding a national partner who shares equivalent values. The partner is ICECARE, a Portuguese ice cream brand belonging to Gelado Colorido – Fabricação de Gelados e Sorvetes, Ltd (also a Portuguese company based in Vila Verde, Braga). If you are interested about RÜGA’s fashion, why not take a look at their products first-hand? They are sold at several multi-brand stores in Portugal and abroad. For online shopping lovers, RÜGA obviously also offers an online store on their website where customers can purchase all current collections, as well as older collections at reduced prices. But for now, let’s take a look at ICECARE to find out what makes this Portuguese ice cream brand so special.

ICECARE Have you ever heard of innovative ice cream? Well, probably not, but Vila Verdebased ICECARE offers exactly that. In fact, it offers “all pleasure, no guilt”. This means it wants to produce and export functional ice creams with no, or at least not many, negative aspects. Eating them with pleasure, without guilt and maybe even for one’s health’s sake, are the main goals. To achieve these goals, the Portuguese ice cream brand works alongside nanotechnology experts, namely the International Iberian Laboratory, and produces functional ice creams that are based on biotechnology and innovation. Lab tests and rehearsals are used to guarantee the highest quality and to adhere to the company’s main target of having positive effects on health and wellbeing. While organic and high-quality milk is used as the prime raw material for the

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  15

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  RÜGA & ICECARE

16  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  RÜGA & ICECARE

ice cream, ICECARE’s product portfolio includes some functional ice creams with highly beneficial organoleptic characteristics that have been scientifically developed in partnership with the University of Minho’s laboratories of biotechnology and bioengineering. What makes ICECARE stand out is therefore their dedication to creating innovative ice cream that is a healthier eating option at the same time. It aims to overcome the role of traditional ice creams through being fat, gluten and lactose free and, as such, it bridges the gap between the enjoyment of ice cream’s taste and the ability to provide nutrients and vitamins to the customer. The taste, texture, quality and the look of the ice cream also significantly stands out from conventional ice creams. So, how exactly did ICECARE’s products get associated with Germany? Well, beginning with artisanal ice cream production, ICECARE has directed itself to Germany right from the start. Having found local partners in local ice cream shops in South-West Germany, namely Sinsheim, Heilbronn, Stuttgart and Heidelberg, ICECARE began exporting right away and, today, Germany is the brand’s main market. Traditional flavours such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry made their first attempt on the German market. Shortly after, positive reception has led to new flavours – namely, lemon, yogurt and hazelnut. Nowadays, ICECARE is building its way to achieving other strategic goals, namely the scientific path to functional ice creams mentioned above. The work that is currently being done aims to reduce the fat in ice creams without altering flavour and consistency. Then, the next step will be the sugar reduction, followed by other important changes like adding proteins and medicine nutrients. All in all, ICECARE’s distinctive traces are scientific formulas based on state-of-the-art nanotechnology. It intends to be an innovative ice cream, as well as a vehicle for the increase of wellbeing and even for medicine ministration. This out-of-the-box positioning also translates in its out-of-the-box cubic form. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  17

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Dedicated to Design

Dedicated to Design… Summer time is in full swing and therefore it is time to have a fresh breeze blow through your home, its design and living accessories. Let’s treasure those last sun beams and dive into the wonderful world of maritime colours. Blue, cyan and aqua are all part of the mix that we have compiled for you. BY: THOMAS SCHROERS



1. Atmospheric, warm, beautiful. Candles should not be missed in any decoration. With individually painted designs, the candles by SAMAKI are a perfect decorative piece to be placed on sideboards or tables and a highlight when it comes to maritime design. From £4. 2. ‘Sunny day seaside green’. This is the colour scheme and name for the shown cup. Actually, this is the jumbo cup and part of a whole collection of plates and cups for coffee, tea and breakfast. In your kitchen, this set will empower you and your style while transmitting a feeling of relaxation and peace. £POA. 3. Here is the perfect souvenir for your maritime collection. A blown cyan vase. Ideal for highlighting flowers and perfect as a simple decoration. Height 14cm, width 7cm. £18. 4. Designed by LSA International, this drinking glass is a delicate item for all occasions. Either used at parties for cocktails or just for a glass of water, its clear appearance makes it an instant favourite. Six for £26.



5. Make yourself comfortable with this cushion cover in blue and green tones. Made from 100 per cent spun polyester poplin fabric, this stylish cover makes a statement that will brighten up any room. Available in three sizes. From £19.


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Discover Germany  |  Design  |  GANTlights

Where design meets architecture to brighten up a room The idea to design his own lamp came to Stefan Gant’s mind in his former flat in Friedrichshain, Berlin. He started working meticulously and now, six years later, the effort has definitely paid off. His product design label GANTlights offers individual lamps with architectural influences in small quantities and has been awarded with the German Design Award Special 2017. TEXT: INA FRANK  |  PHOTOS: STEFAN GANT

“80 kilogrammes of concrete ended up in the bin because the mixture was not coherent and the material could not be used any more,” says Stefan Gant, founder and designer of GANTlights, remembering creating his first lamp. However, that has not stopped him from following his idea. At first, he sold his designs on the online marketplace DaWanda and then founded his product design label GANTlights. Initially, Stefan Gant studied architecture; therefore his approach to design is rather architectural, as he explains: “When you draft a plan for a building, there are some aspects you have to keep in mind,

like the location, the use and the static. I design my products according to the same principle, for instance, I deliberate how a hallway can be illuminated in the best way and then create an appropriate lamp.” GANTlights now offers hanging lamps, wall lamps and table lamps, and Stefan Gant is always on the lookout for new designs. “Recently, I reworked the technology of my lamp C1, so now the bulb is also dimmable,” says Stefan Gant. He has a sketchbook full of more ideas and is ready to put them into practice.

Top left: K1 ceramic lamp. Top right: C1 pendant luminaire, concrete and oak wood. Above: B1 hanging lamp.



Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Livarea

Livitalia wall unit C46 – room divider, rotatable TV panel.

Minimalistic, modern, online:

Live the Livarea lifestyle Furniture that features both high quality and an appealing design is rather hard to find online. The Germany-based furniture company Livarea, however, has found the perfect solution. The online store with free delivery and the option to customise its furniture according to individual requests, provides a great platform for busy customers on the lookout for high-quality, minimalistic furniture in timeless designs. TEXT: SONJA IRANI  I  PHOTOS: LIVAREA.DE

Founded in 2012, the Livarea online store offers high-quality furniture items, which can be individually designed as much or as little as customers wish. “Normally, the products we sell are solely available in stationary trade shops,” explains Marco Sempell, founder and owner of Livarea. “But not everyone finds it easy to go to these shops. Many of our customers are entrepreneurs, doctors or lawyers. During their normal working day, they usually don’t have time to pop into the stationary trade shops. We make their lives a lot easier by provid20  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

ing an internet platform that allows them to choose and purchase their new furniture items with a few simple clicks.” Timeless design The typical Livarea design is mainly created by a designer in Italy. Colours and materials are adjusted to the current trends every year. In general though, Livarea tries to sell timeless furniture.“White, black and grey without any kind of squiggles tend to work best,” says the furniture expert at Livarea. “These kind of furniture pieces

can be combined to all kinds of already existing home-living styles – even without a previous viewing. Plus, they’ll still look good in ten years.” Compared to ordinary mass production furniture, the advantages of the Livarea concept quickly become evident: Livarea provides individual dimensions and colours, high-value fittings for perfect gap dimensions and capacity as well as many pre-assembled elements. For a better overview, Livarea also keeps its range small and manageable:“Because less really is more when it comes to timeless furniture.” Bestseller wall units “Our modern wall units are our most popular products,” reveals Sempell. “These feature a very unusual design and can be customised to meet all kinds of special re-

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Livarea

quests. Equally popular are our minimalistic design wardrobes, which can be also be individually adjusted to fit into every home.”

unwrapped and set up on its intended location,” says Sempell. “Delivery is free and there are always two staff members who take the furniture items right to their intended location.”

When it comes to trends, the furniture specialist has noticed a certain tendency to go “back to nature” in recent years. “Wood and marble is now increasingly combined with paintwork and varnish again,” he says. “Functional furniture is becoming more popular, too. Those are pieces of furniture that can be used in different ways and thus make the most of limited space in a small room. One example of that would be a desk with integrated storage.”

For larger items, such as wardrobes and wall units, there is the option to book an additional assembly service. “In this respect, communication with the customer is crucial,” says the dedicated customer adviser at Livarea. “That’s why at Livarea, every customer gets a personal call from us after the order was placed. In this call, we recap on all the details and also note down any special requests.”

Customised deliveries

A growing following

Another speciality of Livarea is that every piece of our furniture is produced after the order was placed. Thus, individual requests can be implemented without any problems. “A large part of our furniture is already pre-assembled and just has to be

“We often hear that we have one of the most beautiful websites in the furniture industry,” reveals the Livarea founder when asked if there are special achievements he is particularly proud of. “We would like the customer to instantly feel

Timeless, minimalist bedroom furniture – can be combined with every interior style.

that he has come to the right place whenever he’s looking for high-quality furniture online. Thus, we’ve made a conscious decision to keep the design of our website just as simple and minimalistic as our furniture. As a result, our customers can easily navigate our site and have a great, smooth experience when purchasing their furniture online.” This approach is rewarded with an increasing following worldwide. “We notice an increasing number of international followers on our Pinterest and Instagram profiles,” says Sempell and explains how this community works in terms of new designs.“We are always on the lookout for specialities that are not yet available for purchase so we can present new ideas in our inspiration area. Products, which are particularly popular here, make it into our online shop.”

Individual wall unit with integrated desk.

Design wardrobe with glass doors – transparent when light is on.

Multifunctional design furniture – outdoor dining table.

Livitalia wall unit C39 – unique materials and mortar look.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  21

The ErgoSystemÂŽ A100 sets new standards and is perfectly equipped for almost any purpose and location: randomly configurable handrail combinations with custom-scalable profiles, brackets angled for optimum grip and colour combinations to match any interior turn the issue of barrier freedom into a joy for hands and eyes alike. The unique-to-the-market diagonal-oval styling of the rails guarantees particularly dependable support, moreover. Rounding the ErgoSystemÂŽ A100 off are a maintenance-free drop-down support rail, towel holders in single and double variants, a multiple award-winning shower-head bracket, wall hooks, shelf racks and toilet-roll holders. More information at BAU Munich, hall B4, stand 131 or at

Discover Germany  |  Design  |  Karro & Gentle Gin

The times of rusted wheelbarrows are long gone – with Karro Ergonomically shaped handles, a low weight and a robust material that is easy to clean – the wheelbarrow Karro offers everything to make one’s garden work easier. “It is about exceeding expectations that no one ever had before,” explains Friedrich Westphal, CEO of Fluidform GmbH and inventor of Karro, when asked why he decided to develop a new type of wheelbarrow. The idea came to his mind during a holiday. He saw a totally corroded and broken wheelbarrow lying on an alpine meadow and thought it might be a good idea to make wheelbarrows out of plastic. “Besides, there had not been any innovation in the field of making wheelbarrows for decades. So, we thought it is the right time to develop a new product,” says Sonja Hägle, assistant of management. Compared to ordinary wheelbarrows, Karro has many advantages. The handles

are ergonomically shaped, which relieves one’s back and wrists. Despite its weight of only nine kilogrammes, Karro is extremely robust and durable. Above all, the so-called ‘lotus effect’ makes Karro very easy to clean. Satisfied users of Karro include the urban gardening project Elisabeths Garten in Düsseldorf, the garden-


ing of the theme park Europa Park and IntegrA Lahr, ateam of gardeners and disabled young adults. Karro has already been awarded with quite a few design prizes, but the developers do not rest on their laurels. The form of the tray will soon be redesigned to respond to some customers’ wish for a larger volume.

Finest gin made in Berlin Less juniper, a greater focus on other ingredients and German organic wheat alcohol from local grain: these characteristics make Berlin’s Gentle Gin so special that even ‘sipping it on the rocks’ becomes a special treat.

alcohol with activated carbon and bottling to adding stickers, sealing or packaging.


“The idea for the start-up was a kind of coincidence,” smiles Stanislav Bic, Gentle Gin’s spice man. “I’m passionate about herbs, opened a herb shop and, through this, I met the Scottish gin producer Marcus. We then founded Gentle Gin and he became our gin master.” Bero Aslan, a true allrounder, is Gentle Gin’s third member. Together, the trio creates super gentle, smooth gins that are full of aromas and impress with a mild finish. Gentle Gin’s portfolio consists of three exceptional drinks. ‘SAFFRON’ is a rich and gentle golden gin with an Indiainspired botanical blend and a secret herb personally grown by the Gentle Gin crew. The ‘TEA DRY’ comprises of a classic dry botanical base that is enlivened with the

The ‘Saffron’, ‘Tea Dry’ and ‘Pink One’ gin.

crisp flavour of borage flowers and a blend of organic teas. The youngest gin to join the family is the ‘PINK ONE’ that is made with a blend of pink pepper, rose, lavender, grapefruit, tropical verbena and infused with Jamaican hibiscus. All gins are entirely handcrafted, double distilled in a traditional copper still, produced in small batches, infused by high-quality botanical ingredients from selected farmers and completely selfmade. The latter also entails that everything is ‘made in Berlin’ – from filtering the Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  23

Photo: © Michael Förster

24  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Rabea Schif

Rabea Schif

Revolutionising Germany’s fashion scene TV presenter, model, fashion and art lover – Rabea Schif is a true media all-rounder. Best known for presenting Prominent! on VOX, she has also been seen in several commercials, internet formats and music videos and has worked for numerous fashion magazines. At her young age, she can already look back on an exciting life. Thus, Discover Germany speaks to Rabea to find out more. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF

Rabea was born in Frankfurt and grew up in Niederrad, as the youngest of three siblings. Being the granddaughter of a soldier from Louisiana, she is coined by her American roots. At an early stage in her life it already became clear that Rabea was made for the spotlight. As a teen she played in Frankfurt’s theatre ‘Die Komödie’ and landed a role in ZDF’s Inseln unter dem Wind. The rest of her résumé reads like a dream to many. After visiting the English-speaking Frankfurt International School, Rabea decided to study art and design in London. Shortly after, she started a career in the fashion industry. Jobs at ‘Smile Management’ and ‘Project Felix’ followed. For three years, she travelled the world for Exit magazine and visited clients, such as Kenzo or Céline, to sell them ad placements. On the side, she successfully worked as a model and jobbed as a freelance producer, styling assistant and design assistant – for Tatler magazine

amongst others. Furthermore, she played in several music videos and commercials, for example, for Sony, Nike and Nokia. However, Rabea’s real dream always was presenting. Thus, when she heard that the British music and TV producer Simon Fuller was holding a casting for his new internet show The Chic Fix, a weekly format which dealt with topics like fashion, culture and celebrities, it did not take her long to apply and get the job. After two years, the channel was sold and The Chic Fix was discontinued, but Rabea kept going and kept her dream of presenting alive. She smiles: “I remained persistent, never gave up on my dream and was very lucky. On top of that, I had a really great management who always believed in me.”That is exactly why more and more presenting jobs slowly came rolling in. But what exactly is her fascination with presenting? Simply put: “I love

meeting new people and hearing about their lives. I can learn something new during every encounter and I love sharing this with the viewers. I think my strength is that I’m able to make people feel as if they’re not in an interview, but rather in an intimate conversation with me.” Coming home Throughout her time in London, companies sent Rabea and her microphone to London’s Fashion Week to speak to fashion bloggers, models like Poppy Delevingne or to the art director of British Vogue. However, after 13 years in London, Rabea wanted to move back to Frankfurt. She explains: “I met my husband around seven years ago and moved back to Frankfurt because of him. Also, after living in London for 13 years, I wanted to be closer to my parents again.” Today, she is married and lives with her husband in Frankfurt’s city centre, not far from the hospital she was born in. Back in Frankfurt, Rabea did not slow down: she presented the German web TV channel fashionDaily.TV, went to the film festival in Cannes, visited the fashion show Bread & Butter in Berlin and, after meeting the founder of the online shop, she started to sell the Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  25

Discover Germany  |  Cover Feature  |  Rabea Schif

Photo: © Ramon Haindl for

shop’s remainders of luxury brands like Acne, Prada or Malene Birger in a pop-up store in Frankfurt’s Zeilgalerie shopping centre. From 2011 to 2012, she became the creative director of the ‘The Hub Concept Store’. In 2015, she started to present the well-known celebrity show Prominent! on VOX. From this time she recalls: “I will always remember my interview with Lady Gaga – she was so sweet and gave me the feeling that she was also interested in me. She was polite, full of respect and not at all arrogant.” ‘Germans could dare more’ As a real fashionista with numerous years in the fashion business, Rabea knows what she is talking about.“I discovered my passion for fashion at a very early stage. I loved to go shopping with my mum and always watched her when she styled herself. My mum was actually always my big fashion inspiration,” she recalls. After having lived in London – one of the world’s 26  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

greatest fashion capitals – for such a long time, it must have been a big change to move back to Frankfurt. “To be honest, I love both cities. London stands for the Swinging Sixties, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie – things that have always accompanied me. Fashion there is always one step ahead – so many significant trends have been born in the British capital, something that has always inspired me. In addition, there is a huge selection of beautiful shops, ever-changing exhibitions and awesome clubs. There is such a vast choice of incredibly good restaurants and bars, as well as an unbelievable diversity of various people in London,” she smiles. “But Frankfurt is my home town and will always be close to my heart. Maybe the selection isn’t as large as in London but when you look closely enough, you can find great places and things here too. I think it’s great to see how the city has evolved in the past few years and how great the

quality of life is here. After all, Frankfurt is the smallest big city in the world – a true little gem in my eyes,” says Rabea. In a fashion sense, Frankfurt also has a great deal to offer, according to Rabea: “There are several cool shops: I think that Hayashi and Pfüller are great for high-end fashion. When I want to buy vintage items, I love to go to Epiphany, 13 or Aschenputtel. I also really like the concept store The Listener. The only shopping down-side in Frankfurt is that we unfortunately don’t have a large variety of shops. That’s why I admittedly buy loads of things online since I moved back here.” She adds: “I also think that overall, Germans could dare more in regards to style and fashion. They could have more courage to look different and maybe also taking on a trend before it is already several months old. I always say that, unfortunately, no fashion trend has been born in Germany so far – but maybe that will change in the future?!”

Photo: © Ramon Haindl

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  27

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Film Review Column


13 Minutes (2015) Did you know that there were as many as 42 attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler carried out by Germans? Sadly, they all failed. In most cases due to a spontaneous change of plan, such as Hitler leaving 13 minutes earlier than he had originally planned to stay for a speech at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich. This is where the carpenter Georg Elser had hidden a bomb in a wooden panel on 8 November 1939… TEXT: SONJA IRANI  I  PHOTOS: LUCKY BIRD PICTURES, BERND SCHULLER

The Story 13 Minutes (originally called Elser) brings the story of Georg Elser to life in a great and very powerful way. The film starts on the evening of the attack. After attempting to cross the border into Switzerland, Elser is arrested and consequently tortured because he won’t reveal the names of his conspirators. As we learn later on, this is because there were no conspirators.

“That Hitler is bad for Germany” The film then tells Elser’s life story through various flashbacks that take place in his rural home village Königsbronn in Baden-Wuertemberg. These show him as a bit of a womaniser, but they also give a good impression of how people were affected in 28  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

daily life by the totalitarian dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Seeing the increasing injustice first hand, Elser starts to realise that only by killing Hitler now, “an even bigger bloodshed”could be avoided in the future… The Location 13 Minutes was not shot at original sites. Instead, the film locations were the town hall of the Schöneberg locality in Berlin, the Bavarian village of Weidenberg, the town of Lindau at Lake Constance and the Open Air Museum Hohenlohe Wackershofen in Baden-Wuertemberg. Moreover, many outdoor scenes feature the beautiful mountain backdrop of South Tyrol in Italy (Bolzano, Terlan, Auer and Mendelpass).

The Final Verdict The pace of the film was a bit slow here and there. However, I think it’s important to remember those brave German resistance fighters. Therefore, this film is a definite must-see! We will never know. But perhaps, if all had worked out, Elser would have changed the world... back in 1939. All in all, a gripping biopic about a very courageous man! **** 4 out of 5 stars 13 Minutes is now available with English subtitles on DVD and Blu-ray as well as for streaming on Amazon Prime. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Irani is a (Tourism) Marketing Translator, Travel Journalist and ex London expat now living back in Germany. Her second home is the cinema. If you don't find her there, she is probably travelling the world in order to trace her favourite film settings. On her blog she shares her best tips for film-inspired travel on a budget.

Rosé aus der Provinz. Saftabzug vom Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. Ausgebaut in französischer Eiche. 13% Alkohol.

Rosé für Erwachsene. Nur zu bekommen im wirklich gut sortierten Fachhandel oder über

30  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Discover Germany  |  Star Interview  |  Julia Dietze

Julia Dietze ‘Acting holds all professions and personalities’ Actress Julia Dietze was born in France, raised in Germany and has lived in cities all over Europe. She has spoken to Quentin Tarantino about the European film landscape and learned martial arts for a role. Now the versatile actress talks to Discover Germany about her current projects, her biggest challenge so far and more. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTO: JODI BROWNSTEIN

Actress – was that always your dream job? J. Dietze: Well, right after firefighter, dancer and chef... somehow acting holds all professions and personalities. I love this job because it also carries secrets and opens doors to unknown places. However, acting is also rather demanding and you really need a thick skin, as well as an indestructible enthusiasm. I believe that no one would become an actor or actress who doesn’t have a real passion for it. Born in Marseille, raised in Munich, and time spent in Amsterdam and Milan. What does ‘home’ mean to you? J. Dietze: Home is my family, the people that I love, the place where I can relax and be myself. I don’t have any ‘home feelings’ for certain places. Without the people that I Iove, I wouldn’t have made all these memories. They made the places come alive and that’s why the feeling of home doesn’t belong in one certain city for me. Today, you live in Berlin. Could you ever imagine moving away? What makes the city so special? J. Dietze: I love Berlin. It is a very lively, genuine city that has an unbelievable

past. A city full of Peter Pans and asphalt princesses – this pretty much describes the charm and spirit of this city that feels like more of an ever-changing circus. I will definitely move away one day though as I simply miss the ocean too much. But I will always keep one foot in this colourful city and will never close the door entirely. Your international breakthrough came with Iron Sky. This year, you can be seen in four movies: 5 Frauen, Plan B, Fack ju Göhte 3 and Feierabendbier. All four represent entirely different genres, is there a role that you especially like to remember? J. Dietze: Each one of these film shootings holds a different beautiful memory. The noire film 5 Frauen had an unbelievably beautiful location, an old French village in which time has stood still since the ‘60s. The surrounding nature was a paradise. I also really enjoyed working with such great women. We filmed Feierabendbier in wet, cold, rainy and partly snowy Munich in February, mostly at night. So, that was more the tough side of our job, but it was also like a family reunion as I worked with the same team on Onkel Wanja in the previous year and simply love the company’s underdog spirit.

Shooting Plan B – Scheiß auf Plan A was very exciting. For this film, I was trained in martial arts, boxing, kung fu and sword fighting. During training, I really reached my physical limits but I managed to overcome them which felt really awesome. Furthermore, the Reel Deal stuntmen are the best colleagues that one could wish for. Filming Fack ju Göhte 3, on the other hand, was entirely different again as I was the new girl in a well-established team. However, the director Bora Dagtekin and Elyas M’Barek really did everything so that I would feel comfortable on set and were absolute gentlemen. What else is planned for this or next year? What can we look forward to? J. Dietze: In February 2018, the sequel Iron Sky 2: The Coming Race will be released in cinemas. Finest science fiction. This time, it will be about the world’s largest conspiracy theory. I will only reveal this much: reptiloids, dinosaurs and aliens. In this film, I travel through time, which is why I had an elaborate special effects make-up as I had to act between an age range of 25 to 84 – definitely the biggest challenge for me so far. Additionally, I will film my first series this summer in which I will play a lawyer. Do you have that one dream role? What other wishes and dreams do you still have? J. Dietze: I would like to play alongside Joaquin Phoenix, under the direction of Terrence Malik. In a private sense, I wish health and happiness for my family. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  31

Discover Germany  |  Travel Feature  |  Start of Bundesliga/Germany’s Second Tier

Millerntor Stadium of St. Pauli. Photo: © deggert07

First-class experience in Germany’s second tier As 18 August marks the long-anticipated start of the Bundesliga season 2017/2018, journalist Daniel Barthold went to find out more about one of Germany’s favourite pastimes. TEXT: DANIEL BARTHOLD

Affordable football tickets, fresh German beer and a classic Bratwurst from the grill. Watching football in Germany is a popular hobby these days. You might have spotted English fans at several grounds of the Bundesliga – Germany’s top flight – due to the above-mentioned treats. Tickets for a match at Dortmund, Bayern Munich or FC Cologne are much cheaper than any of the Premier League clubs and, let’s be honest, nothing beats a cold beer and a sausage on game day. But it gets even better! Germany’s second tier of the football pyramid, 32  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

the ‘Zweite Bundesliga’, has several traditional clubs that are worth a visit. Great atmosphere, fair-priced tickets and an exciting promotion and relegation battle invites any football traveller to an unforgettable journey. For this special experience, we picked four stadiums in Germany’s second tier to get a feeling of football in the ‘Unterhaus’ (a German phrase for the 2. Bundesliga). The trip, of course, starts in Germany’s second-largest city. The Hanseatic city of

Hamburg and its infamous St. Pauli district is home to one of the most unique football clubs in the world. FC St. Pauli and its supporters are known to think a bit outside the box and their activities against racism, homophobia and sexism make a visit to the Millerntor-Stadium a special one. Especially when playing on a Friday night, the vocal fans at the terraces give you a hunch of the free spirit at St. Pauli including a post-match drink at one of the various bars at the ‘Reeperbahn’ district just a stone’s throw from the football ground. If you have survived a night out in St Pauli, the journey continues to the Ruhr area, a bit over three hours southwest of Hamburg. The working-class region is

Discover Germany  |  Travel Feature  |  First-Class Experience in Germany’s Second Tier

known for its giant football clubs Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, but it also has several smaller clubs that present the region and its values in the same way. MSV Duisburg are a club newly promoted from the third division and, if you choose the right fixture, it welcomes you to a filled home arena with some noisy home fans who simply love football – almost like the UK with its working-class towns such as Sheffield or Newcastle. Especially when playing local rivals Dusseldorf or Bochum, it will be a great atmosphere. From Duisburg, there are several daily fast trains to Berlin to visit Germany’s capital. However, halfway it is worth stopping in Lower Saxony. The city of Braunschweig values its tradition as the ‘city of the lion’ and they worship their local football club in big fashion. Eintracht Braunschweig – German champions of 1967 – are known for their loyal fan base and they usually play in front a packed home stadium. The club and its city are not on every tourist’s radar, but regardless it is a lovely occasion

on the way to Berlin to stop over in Braunschweig to experience a nice second tier fixture in an ‘old school’ football ground. Furthermore, it only takes another two hours before arriving in Berlin. The German capital is obviously a tourist magnet and there are tonnes of sights to see. However, our trip leads us to the outskirts of East Berlin. Koepenick, far away from any tourism, is home to 1. FC Union Berlin. The club and its fans have a special connection, especially since a great number of Union supporters helped in building their refurbished football ground called the ‘Alte Foersterei’. It has become a lovely stadium, which represents progress but you will never lose the feeling of history and tradition at Union Berlin. Tradition that sometimes feels gone in the English Premier League with all the investors taking over the football clubs. That is why you will spot a bunch of English football fans at every home match, which is connected to the popularity of Berlin nowadays. It is needless to say that

Berlin offers endless options of nightlife after the game. The last stop on this football trip will be Dresden in the far east corner of the country. The local football club, SG Dynamo Dresden, is known for extremely loud and loyal fans. Its reputation in Germany could certainly be better but their respect to the game is undoubtedly present around the stadium. It is not unusual to see locals in Liverpool or Everton jerseys because they appreciate the rich history of the English clubs. A home game at Dynamo Dresden is always something special. The terrace where the die-hards support their team might be smaller than the one at Borussia Dortmund, but in terms of atmosphere and noise level it is amongst the best in the country. Certainly, it is a worthy last stop of the football tour in Germany’s second tier. It does not really matter that it is not the top flight because the experience is without a doubt top notch.

Photo: © Pixabay

In front of Eintracht Braunschweig’s stadium. Photo: © philmensch

Millerntor Stadium of St. Pauli. Photo: © CalexicoBlue

St. Pauli artwork. Photo: © Martin Abegglen

St. Pauli. Photo: © Martin Abegglen

Millerntor Stadium of St. Pauli. Photo: © Steve Watkins

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  33

Discover Germany  |  Travel  |  Hotel of the Month, Germany Family Staudacher. Photo: © Wolfgang Ehn

Heated pool. Photo: © Marcel Meyer

110 years of Bavarian history combined with modern lifestyle. Photo: © Günter Standl


110 years of Bavarian tradition and modern lifestyle The Bavarian Alps are famous for their breath-taking landscapes as well as a myriad of possibilities to spend a relaxing vacation. Located in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, Hotel Staudacherhof is the perfect place to fully enjoy this natural gem and all its various facets.

lessly combines traditional Bavarian with modern Ayurvedic food, thus serving as further proof that tradition and modernity are not exclusive of each other.


Staudacherhof in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – where Bavarian history and a 110-year tradition of hospitality meets modern lifestyle. Be sure to book a room today and become part of the Staudacherhof family.

There is no denying that Staudacherhof in Garmisch-Partenkirchen can look back on a long tradition of hospitality. What started as a family home at the beginning of the 20th century, quickly turned into a friendly and welcoming guesthouse that laid the foundations of what is now the modern Staudacherhof – a four-star, familyrun superior hotel with a concept that is focussed on the future, while at the same time remaining firmly attached to the past. “To be able to look back on 110-year tradition of hospitality makes me incredible proud! While Staudacherhof is decidedly grounded within Bavarian tradition, our family never ceased to look for the improvement of its concepts. The will for innovation, the determination to embrace the new, has made Staudacherhof what it is today: a hotel that easily combines Bavarian history and tradition with a mod34  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

ern and mundane lifestyle,”enthuses Peter Staudacher, owner of Staudacherhof. Hotel Staudacherhof with its quaint turrets and traditional Bavarian architecture has been a ‘home away from home’ for 110 years, and wellness and mountain aficionados in particular will appreciate the hotel’s hospitality. “Our well-established team and ourselves are highly motivated to cultivate the positive atmosphere that transcends the hotel. Each team member shares our commitment to hospitality and love for detail; and it is only thanks to their dedication that enables us to continually strive for the best in all that we do,”iterates Staudacher. The rooms at Staudacherhof breathe an attractive mixture of tradition and modernity. A guest service that leaves nothing to wish for is rounded off by a ‘Bayurvedic’ menu - a cuisine that effort-

Double room with rustic charm. Photo: © Marcel Meyer

Gourmet cuisine at Staudacherhof. Photo: © Marcel Meyer


Enjoying summer to the fullest It is warm outside, people gather in public spaces and life just seems a tiny bit lighter. Because spending a summer in Austria is an especially enchanting experience, we handpicked some of the country’s best spots so you can get inspired for your next trip. PHOTOS: PIXABAY

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  35

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Summer in Austria

The Soulkitchen

Three culinary concepts under one roof Located in the heart of Innsbruck, the Soulkitchen combines three outstanding concepts so guests can discover a new culinary adventure each time they visit. The unique venue has quickly turned into a clear favourite for locals and newbies alike. We explore why.

sic breakfasts to detox options. It features a stunning 17 different food stations and guests can dine on the large sun terrace, which has 400 seats and is even heated on cooler days.


Is it possible to create a harmonic synergy of three uniquely different hospitality concepts that will all be equally successful? Absolutely. The Soulkitchen in Innsbruck shows how it is done. “Founding the Soulkitchen kind of happened by chance. We had been thinking about a new concept, Barefoot Coffee, for a while when a very interesting huge location suddenly became available to us,” explains owner and entrepreneur Heiner Raschhofer. “We used the opportunity to combine three different concepts under one roof. The umbrella brand Soulkitchen was born. It combines our enterprises Raschhofer, my Indigo and Barefoot Coffee.” The special arrangement of three different concepts sets the Soulkitchen miles apart from other restaurants. Guests can enjoy 36  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

home-brewed craft beers and juicy organic burgers or move over to the café Barefoot Coffee, which invites to indulge in breakfast and snacks by day but turns into a trendy bar with sophisticated cocktails by night. “Each concept is clearly set apart and offers space to get to know something new. Using architecture and interior design, we tried to clearly separate ourselves,” Raschhofer adds. “The freely suspended pizza oven by Marana Forni, the big central fireplace and the different bars are just some of the specialities in our Soulkitchen. The show kitchen, where all the food is prepared, gives guests a glimpse behind the scenes.” A true delight is the Brunch Boulevard, held on Sundays and public holidays. Innsbruck’s biggest all-inclusive brunch offers anything the heart desires from clas-

It goes without saying that the Soulkitchen frequently hosts a variety of great events and regularly welcomes internationally renowned DJs, which emphasises the innovative character of the venue. Of course the Soulkitchen, or parts of it, can also be individually booked for private events. The best testimony is probably the guests’ feedback: “I’m going home to the Soulkitchen.”

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Summer in Austria

Main image: Hotel Schani. © Haefele. Photo: Left: Smart maisonette room. © Haefele. Photo:

The smartest hotel in Vienna

Schani’s garden. © Hotel Schani. Photo: Arnold Poeschl Below: Multifunctional: lobby, reception and bar in one. © Hotel Schani. Photo: Arnold Poeschl Smartphone as room key. © Haefele. Photo:

What is a smart hotel and how does it work? We spoke to Benedikt Komarek about his smart Hotel Schani and how guests can book, check-in and enter their rooms simply by using their smartphones.

homely as possible. Not having a traditional reception means staff have more time to take on classic concierge tasks.


There is so much more to say about this outstanding and very unique hotel, from its lush garden to the communal workspaces, but in the meantime you will just have to go and see for yourself.

Can homely tradition and modern technology work hand in hand? The answer is a clear yes. Hotel Schani is a pioneer in the field of smart hotel management without losing sight of wonderful Viennese traditions. “It was our mission to make the guest’s journey from booking to check-in as simple as possible by using modern technology,” says Komarek, who comes from an established hotelier family. “As a starting point, we looked at technology used for flight travel.” Here is how it works: you go on Hotel Schani’s website and, just like selecting a seat on an airplane, you pick your favourite room from a floorplan. 48 hours before arrival, you will receive an e-mail to doublecheck or complete billing information. There is a link to download the app and do the quick check-in. As soon as the room is available on the day of arrival, the digital key is directly sent to your smartphone. There are no queues at reception, guests

can go straight up to their room and open the door with the smartphone. Of course, guests can also choose to have a normal key card. As the room is charged for upon arrival, there are also no check-out queues. Instead guests get the bill via e-mail, which also supports Hotel Schani’s environmentally friendly approach, promoting a paperless office. Sustainability is a fundamental part of Hotel Schani’s philosophy and it has been awarded the GreenBuilding Award from the European Commission.

Get 20 per cent off with the booking code ‘fly2schani’ on

“Hotel Schani is not only about modern technology, it is important to us that the hotel stays true to its location in the heart of Vienna. There are too many hotel chains where everything looks the same. We want to be different,” emphasises Komarek. Beloved traditional designs, Viennese cake and coffee, and friendly staff who are always happy to chat and give tips for local adventures, make sure guests feel as Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  37

The Jöri Lakes:

Fallen out of time and space The scenery around the Flüela Pass in the Swiss Alps is barren and primordial. Rubble, stones, rocks, lichens. This bareness soothes the spirit and the soul. It opens up space for other things, for the new. “Sense of time and space get lost, you are, you live…” says Markus, a fellow hiker on a trip to the Jöri Lakes near Davos. TEXT & PHOTOS: KARIN HUBER  I  TRANSLATION: NANE STEINHOFF

When one climbs up the last few metres, one stands on the ‘Jöriflüelafurgga’ alpine pass on 2,725 metres above sea level and finds everything just spectacular. We looked forward to this ‘wow’ moment for a long time. The vast, primordial high valley with the Jöri Lakes - the front one milkywhite as if farmers have temporarily stored their cows’ milk here, the ones behind inkblue; other lakes that lie beneath the ‘Jöri38  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

flesspass’ (2,561 metres) can only be seen when one hikes towards the ‘Winterlücke’. Surreal, a different planet The scenery is surreal: the mountains, the lakes, the surrounding green, the grey and brown stones, the sky blue above us. “This light,” murmurs hiking colleague Axel in awe. Mountain peak after mountain peak, the ‘Flüela Wisshorn‘ mountain

(3,085 metres) and the southerly situated ‘Schwarzhorn’ mountain seem so close. Far away is the ‘Tödi’ mountain (3,614 metres), the Glarus Alps’ highest peak. The Jöri Lakes are fed by the ‘Jörigletscher’ glacier which has already retreated quite far. Someone explains that, between 2,200 and 2,800 metres, around 20 small and larger lakes can be found on three square kilometres. On the map however, we see less; some are probably not even marked on it because they are so small or dried up. Ascent The ascent to the saddle of ‘Jöriflüelafurgga’ is not difficult and leads us through an archaic stone and rock landscape with moss,

Discover Germany  |  Travel Feature  |  Fallen Out of Time and Space

lichens and autumnal colours. We feel like we have fallen out of time. Only the marmots’ warning whistles can be heard. We started our hike in Davos. From there, the postbus drives to ‘Wägerhus’. At the beginning, we jump from stone to stone as mountain water tries to find its way across the hiking path. After around 150 metres in altitude is the junction; we choose the way towards the ‘Jöriflüelafurgga’ and the Jöri Lakes. The hiking path leads uphill in large turns - just like the Flüela Pass street that stays within our sight until right at the top. The path’s last section runs downhill again before we ascend the last few metres towards the ‘wow’ feeling. Fish on 2,500 metres Upon descent, the Jöri Lakes, besides which the Flüela Wisshorn’s slopes rise steeply into the sky, remain in our sight. But the path requires a great deal of attention. It is narrow, rocky, across several metres we have to make our way hand over hand along a steel rope. The rest remains steep but becomes more easily walkable again. It is green around the Jöri Lakes. The cows were there before us as the tracks reveal. Cotton grass gently sways in the wind. We keep hiking across a small bridge that leads us over the ‘Jöribach’ stream. It runs down towards the ‘Vereinatal’ valley and has its source in the largest of the Jöri Lakes. A few anglers swing their rods. Fish in the Jöri Lakes? “Sure, and

not a few either,” they laugh and show us the creel that lies in the water with three caught Arctic chars. In any case, their dinner is taken care of… For a short while, the hike takes us uphill again. The look back reveals that one lake has a reddish shimmer, it is probably the iron oxide on the stones. A research team from Zurich also found iron sulphide and reduced elementary iron there. Iron, as one of the researchers wrote on his blog, can be found in almost all oxidation levels, depending on which microbial environment it is located in. Above the lakes, at 2,533 metres, the path splits once again. The landscape is changing, it becomes increasingly green, blueberry shrubs, long withered alpine roses, junipers, pastures, juicy mountain herbs. At first, the ‘Jöribach’ stream ripples mildly, then more and more water accumulates in the streambed, small waterfalls and water basins emerge in the midst of a wild and romantic, enchanting Grand Canyon miniature landscape. Here, four valleys meet: the Vereina, Vernela, Süser and Jöri valley. The ‘Jöribach’ stream and the Vernela stream also merge into the water-rich Vereinabach stream that splashes and turns into a torrential river. 700 metres lower: the Vereina railway Close to the Vereina mountain lodge, at the end of the Alpstrasse, the RhB (Rhae-

tian Railway) trains between Selfranga and Sagliains blast through the 19kilometre-long Vereina tunnel in 18 minutes 700 metres below us. Someone, according to narrations from the mountain lodge, once tried to walk along the contour line above the tunnel tube as close as possible – it supposedly took these “lunatics” 60 hours. Those who still have enough stamina after the five-hour hike (without breaks) could keep on walking through the 14-kilometrelong wild-romantic Vereina valley with its waterfalls, small moors, shady mixed forests and arolla, mountain and dwarf pine trees towards Monbiel and Klosters. We sit down in the Vereina bus ordered in advance that conquers the altitude of 800 metres in 30 minutes and drives until Davos’ train station or Klosters. Hiking trail infos: - Walking time: four to five hours - Altitude difference: ascent of 518 metres Wanderung_Vereinatal/#ho2 Connections with public transport:

About the author: Karin Huber is a journalist BR.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  39

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  EMO Hannover 2017


The exciting world of metalworking From 18 to 23 September 2017, the EMO Hannover trade fair will give visitors, exhibitors and industry professionals an insight into the exciting world of metalworking. On the following pages, we have handpicked some of this year’s innovative exhibitors. PHOTOS: DEUTSCHE MESSE

40  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  EMO Hannover 2017

Left: Assembly of an aerosol gauge.

Measure for measure

Top right: Electronic internal gauge. Right: Mechanical external gauge. Bottom: Production of gauge parts.

When it comes to security, micrometers do matter. Certain parts of a brake disc, for example, need to have a particular thickness for them to function safely. The accuracy of this thickness needs to be confirmed by highly reliable measurement devices – high-quality devices like those produced by Kroeplin GmbH in Schlüchtern, Hesse.

and precision of our instruments that helped Kroeplin to occupy this highly prestigious market position,” says Deberle, explaining the successful story Kroeplin has written so far.


One of Kroeplin’s latest additions is bound to continue the company’s success story. “One of our most recent innovations is the refinement of our conventional electronic measuring device with a inductively rechargeable battery, a built-in Bluetooth functionality and a scale interval of one micrometre, which is less than the width of a spider’s silk,” Deberle explains.

Established in 1883, Kroeplin GmbH is what you may call a company with a truly great tradition.“Our measuring devices are built with a view on high quality and high reliability and in that follow the vision of our founder Heinrich Carl Kroeplin,” says Markus Deberle, CEO at Kroeplin GmbH. The measurement devices made by Kroeplin GmbH have a high degree of vertical integration and are mainly employed by the metalworking industry. “Our devices,” explains Deberle, “come in two basic variants: one for internal measurements like for example of the inside diametre of a drill hole, the other for external measurements like, for example, wall or material thickness. As all of our devices are handy and easy to use, they can be employed for all kinds of purposes and

parts. In addition, if one of our customers has particular requirements, Kroeplin GmbH is happy to engineer a measuring device that fully fits the customer’s needs,” Deberle elaborates. With a current market share of 70 per cent and a well-established network of trading partners in 65 countries, Kroeplin’s significance on the national and international market is undisputed now more than ever. “We started producing electronic measuring devices in the 1980s,” Deberle exemplifies.“Now, their sales numbers make up for 50 per cent of our total revenue. This kind of progression needs a certain degree of vision, innovation and perseverance. So, ultimately, it is thanks to the incredible innovative spirit and stamina of our team and the non-reproducible high quality

Kroeplin GmbH - where precision is indeed the measure of all things.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  41

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  EMO Hannover 2017

Historic XXL lathe, Schiess carousel 1925. Photo: © Deutsches Museum

Turning around to modern times Highs and lows through history and politics: the tradition-steeped SCHIESS GmbH has seen it all. Today, the Aschersleben-based company is proud of their customised machines and products, paving the way to ‘Industrie 4.0’, a new industrial age tailored to modern, sustainable times.

ry workshop includes an air-conditioned measurement laboratory and test stands for both components and machines, guaranteeing a 100 per cent measurement of all manufactured components.


Production optimisation The SCHIESS GmbH enterprise originally stems from two companies – the Schiess AG, founded in 1866 by Ernst Schiess in Düsseldorf, and the machine construction company Aschersleben (Saxony-Anhalt), founded in 1857 by Heinrich Billeter and Wilhelm Klunz. By merging the two, today’s SCHIESS GmbH came into existence in 1991. Heavyweight champion The best known SCHIESS product is their ‘VertiMaster XXL’ machine; a heavyweight multitasker, with a maximum turning diametre of 22,000 millimetres. The machine can be used for almost any industrial task you can imagine (turning, 42  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

milling, grinding, drilling, gear-cutting). The original Aschersleben branch in turn brought expertise for portal milling and sideway grinding ‘XL machines’. Together, the two sectors of XXL and XL machines today form the product portfolio basis at SCHIESS GmbH, lately extended by machines for the aerospace sector – an ‘old’ but newly explored field for SCHIESS. Last but not least, SCHIESS offers an all-encompassing retrofit service. ‘Handmade in Germany’ Of both high production depth and quality, the SCHIESS GmbH guarantees high-precision manufacturing as well as complete in-house assembly. The facto-

Also a given at SCHIESS GmbH is an extensive analysis and support of the production process itself, for example by creating stability diagrams as a basis for new technology proposals. Other optimising methods include modal and dynamic analysis and supporting the customer with tool selection, components design and a detailed working time analysis. That way, the SCHIESS customer service includes an individual process adjustment – through to a complete process support, if necessary. Deeply rooted in industrial history Around 150 years ago, Heinrich Billeter and Wilhelm Klunz started their enterprise

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  EMO Hannover 2017

in Aschersleben as a repair shop for turning machines, boilers and pumps. Only three years later, the first machine tools were produced at the premises. The company soon started specialising on planing machines, which were met with great enthusiasm at the 1889 Paris world exhibition. Until the 1920s, the product range had grown to 15 different types of planers. The SCHIESS AG, founded in 1866, likewise started out as repair shop and small components manufacturer. Their first large turning machines were produced in 1870 and soon reached the international market. By the time of the 1880 Industrial and Art Exhibition in Düsseldorf, SCHIESS counted as one of the three major machine-toll factories in Germany. By 1906, the enterprise became a stock company (SCHIESS AG) and, by 1915, the number of employees had risen to more than 1,000. During the war, the company worked primarily for German shipyards. Back to the future after 1989 Cut to the more recent past, during the ‘turnaround’ initiated by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, first contacts of the Düsseldorf-based SCHIESS AG (part of the Lentjes Holding) were established

Housing head measurement.

with the former East German WEMA in Aschersleben, resulting eventually in the merger of 1991. After some dramatic economic turmoil and a major restructuring phase following on a buyout of the Düsseldorf premises, SCHIESS Wema managed a restart with a new product palette in 1999, producing horizontal drilling, vertical turning, as well as portal milling- machines. Thanks to a large-scale investment by the ‘Shenyang Machine Tool Group (SYMG)’ in 2004, the SCHIESS GmbH experienced a sound recovery and finally regained its position as a valued machine tool manufacturer with a vision. Sustainability and innovation SCHIESS customers mostly stem from the energy, transportation and aerospace sectors as well as from the fields of tool and mold construction, cast and steel machining and the rapidly growing retrofit market. The SCHIESS GmbH thus enjoys a stable base of regular customers who know and value both products and service, as well as new clients, looking for innovations. The latter bring a high interest in exploring new possibilities together with SCHIESS, also within new fields of activity such as the aerospace market.


2017 Optimising their XXL products with regard to ‘Industrie 4.0’ and ‘China 2025’, SCHIESS are looking forward to the Hannover EMO 2017 in September, where they will present their new inventions for the aerospace sector. They will further focus on standardising their XL product lines and components with the aim of creating synergy effects and cost reduction, as well as enhancing their competence in composite material machining. Last but not least, the ever-increasing retrofit sector, common ground for the traditionally sustainable SCHIESS XXL machines, and the customer-specific contract manufacturing (made possible through their adaptable VertiMaster VMG 6) will also be further extended and optimised. A full agenda for the newly established manufacturer with a long tradition! EMO: hall 13, booth A14 Sales: Schiess GmbH Tel.: +49 (0) 3473 / 968 – 333

In process, V 12 and VertiMaster T2040.

VertiMaster AERO 25.

VertiMaster VMG 6.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  43

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  EMO Hannover 2017

Leading expert for electric special drives ATE’s mission is to improve the world bit by bit and the company has been a true pioneer in creating smart electrical drives, which are custom-made for specific requirements. Electricity has been an integral part of our society for a long time now, but thinking outside the box and using their in-depth knowledge creatively puts the team behind ATE far ahead of their competitors. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: ATE

Electricity has always empowered mankind. It enabled us to build machines, to improve our living conditions and to make the world come closer together. All it takes is copper wire, electrical steels and a great deal of creativity. That is still the case today and ATE has made it its mission to help create new technologies and conquer unknown electronic territory. ATE’s extensive portfolio of diverse products shows that 44  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

they can be applied in a wide range of different industries across the world. Basically, any company that uses electric mounting kits (rotors and stators) can benefit from ATE’s know-how. The German company was founded as a start-up in 2000 and has been growing steadily ever since. In 2008, the team at ATE already broke the world record with

their micro-drive capable of a breathtaking one million revolutions per minute. Their speciality lies in keeping the drives extremely small yet highly functional and reliable with an unbelievable amount of power. Developing customised solutions through working closely with their clients on their individual requirements can be seen as one of the pillars at ATE. ATE’s head of sales Joachim Bär says: “Our electric drives are like a tailor-made suit and one hundred percent application specific. Our designs are precise, meet the requirements and usually do not need prior testing. Most of our special motors have been designed for high speeds and/ or high torque. What they all have in

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  EMO Hannover 2017

common: they always produce the maximum output power in the smallest package size.” Top-quality materials paired with extensive research ensures client satisfaction right from developing the concept down to the manufacturing and integration. ATE can produce prototypes, but also has the capacity to manufacture medium-sized product series. Using the latest state-of-the-art computer simulation software to develop the machine designs, the team at ATE also maintains tight relationships to universities and international solution leaders to stay in the loop of market innovations. Sometimes the team of electric and mechanical engineers even develops the necessary software themselves in order to design electric drives for previously unknown fields. At ATE it is all about mastering the challenges that new areas bring. In order to realise even unconventional drive concepts in a short amount of time, ATE has an in-house laser cutting system for electrical lamination as well as the most modern

facilities for vacuum moulding of winding amongst other features. Their customer base includes more than 1,000 international clients. Three times in a row, from 2015 to 2017, the ‘Porsche 919 Hybrid’ won the prestigious 24-hour race of Le Mans with various ATE drive systems. This is certainly something to be incredibly proud of and it can be seen as a great testimony for the excellent quality of ATE’s products. ATE also built the power unit of the world’s fastest fully electric ferry ‘BB Green’. The luxury yacht ‘Adler Suprema’ also works with ATE products in its hybrid drive system. “The constant process of optimisation puts us in the position to realise technically impressive special solutions under economically attractive conditions,” explains Bär. Flexibility and creativity are core values at ATE and is not only reflected in their facilities but even more so in their team of engineers. “Our client advisers understand our customers’ applications and their individual requirements down to the smallest detail.”

Innovative companies turn to ATE to expand on their competitive advantage. The team of designers, developers and project managers provide target-oriented direct advisory services to suggest the ideal solution. Helping their clients to unfold their full potential when it comes to using electric drives also means ATE itself is constantly expanding and re-shaping itself. The company is aiming to increase their production capabilities on site in Leutkirch to achieve their goal to produce 100,000 engine components per year and push for partial process automation. To remain the technical market leader, ATE will also explore new application areas. Could your business provide their new challenge? Join ATE’s innovative revolution and build a future for your company that turns faster than the eye can see. For more information, visit the following website.

Panoramic view of Leutkirch.

Luxury yacht ‘Adler Suprema 2’.

The ‘Porsche 919 Hybrid’.

A stator.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  45 Interface design: schmitz Visuelle Kommunikation

Gira X1 – smart home mastered.

Award interface design: German Design Award 2017, winner in the Excellent Product Design Building category Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2014, Best of Best for highest design quality For more information:

Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Consultant of the Month

Helmut Browne, owner and managing director of Heitzig Consult GmbH Austria.


Don’t worry, be happy:

ITC procurement made easy Do you need to overhaul your telecommunications infrastructure, save costs and stay ahead of your game, but do not quite know where to start? No worries. Austria-based ITC procurement specialist Heitzig Consult GmbH will know how. TEXT: SONJA IRANI  |  PHOTOS: HEITZIG CONSULT GMBH, AUSTRIA

As a non-proprietary consulting firm, Heitzig Consult GmbH Austria carries out the entire ITC procurement process – both from an economic and a technical viewpoint. “This includes the analysis and benchmark phase, tender documentation, bidding negotiations and finally professional project management,” explains Helmut Browne, owner and managing director of Heitzig Consult GmbH Austria. “Our main goal for almost all of our projects is optimising ITC costs – and most of the time we manage to do this quite well.” A strong international focus is one of Browne’s key success factors.“Just recently we agreed on a close partnership with a consulting firm in the UK thanks to many years of previous project cooperation,” says Browne. This will allow us to manage projects for our corporate clients all over

Europe.” Several other international partnerships – from the USA to Asia – are currently in the planning phase. The international experience is one of several factors that make Heitzig Consult Austria so different from other smallscale consulting firms. “We also possess a very in-depth knowledge in our area of expertise, we are an independent consulter and we have a lot of practical experience. That’s what our clients value,” says Browne. “Furthermore, our team always keep up with the industry’s newest trends and developments. I think that’s something very critical in the consultancy business because it allows us to know exactly what our clients need.”

and recommendations are our greatest encouragements,” he says. “A good example for such a happy client story is a project for one of our first clients back in the year 1999. We developed a new operator model for communication solutions, which at that time had not previously been heard of. After we successfully implemented it, the project quickly became known in the industry – and several other projects followed!”

Office, Campus Vorarlberg.

Browne’s main goal, however, is to make his clients happy. “Their positive opinions Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  47


A booming industry In 2016, Germany’s recruitment sector’s turnover has increased by 9.3 per cent to 1,99 billion euros, according to a market study by the Bundesverband Deutscher Unternehmensberater (BDU) or Federal Association of German Management Consultants in English. It also predicts that, in 2017, the two-billion turnover hurdle will be overcome for the first time. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTOS: PIXABAY

48  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

In 2016, approximately 7,100 recruiters, as well as 3,500 permanent researchers, worked in around 2,000 consultancies in Germany. In total, more than 14,000 employees were employed in the recruitment sector. The numbers reveal that the sector might be small, but it definitely has a great deal to offer. After all, with the help of these recruiting experts, around 62,500 leading and expert positions were filled in companies in the industry, economy and administration. As a comparison: in 2015, 57,400 positions were filled. For 2017, a forecasted increase in turnover of eight per cent leaves market participants somewhat confident. Another finding of this respective study is that digital

transformation and, simultaneously, the narrowing applicant market, pose as a significant challenge to companies. “Without professionally organised and successfully completed recruiting processes, the risk of loss of competitiveness increases,” notes Dr. Regina Ruppert, BDU vice president. Forecasts for 2017 In general, recruiters are positive about 2017 – also due to a good economic situation and labour market data. The average revenue forecast lies with eight per cent. With a revenue of 2,15 billion euros, the sector would achieve a new all-time peak. The market participants are on the same page about the fact that digitalisation changes the own business models and

that it makes them more efficient at the same time. Digital interconnectivity, such as considering social media channels or IT systems for the daily operations, becomes a substantial success factor of the occupation. Similar to the previous year, additional jobs are said to be created in the recruiting sector in 2017. 75 per cent of the large recruitment consulting firms plan to employ additional consultants and 50 per cent want to top up their researcher teams. To find out more about Germany’s great recruiting experts, take a look at the following special theme.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  49

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

TOPSTEP expert team.

Stepping up (in) sales and distribution TOPSTEP GmbH helps both middle-sized enterprises and DAX companies to successfully expand their sales force through expert support. Specialising in distribution and sales, TOPSTEP works through sector-specific experts only – which has proved to be a winning combo.

profound knowledge of the specific requirements that sales representatives are facing in their job daily. In turn, this fact enables them to quickly identify good candidates.


Why sales representatives and candidates prefer TOPSTEP: TOPSTEP acts as a turnstile for sales representatives of various sectors within the DACH region. The career managers for the respective sector support their candidates on a long-term basis as a reliable, consistently available contact person. Both professional distribution specialists and management-level candidates are only offered promising posts with a positive impact on their own career development. A continuous communication with both sides is realised by the sector-specific TOPSTEP career managers, who are available throughout the entire hiring process. Through this kind of 50  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

continuous support, they also automatically become the first go-to person in the case of an intended change of post. This, for example, saves the candidates the tedious task of scanning job sites as TOPSTEP often have the right type of vacancy at the ready. Doubly specialised: TOPSTEP career managers Every TOPSTEP career manager is doubly specialised for the respective market, by representing both a specific sector and nature of position. This double advantage is further supported by a wide-ranging, in-depth network. TOPSTEP have a

Founder Samy El Bastaweisy recalls: “When I started TOPSTEP in 2012, there were already a number of recruitment agencies out there and we needed to create a specific outline for us to be able to stand out. Our philosophy, however, was clear from the start: Quality instead of quantity.” Through distribution and segment specialisation and their long-term partnership claim with both clients and candidates, it was possible for TOPSTEP to quickly secure a strong position within the market. In addition to positions in sales and distribution, distribution-related vacancies are also of interest at TOPSTEP. Candidates

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

tend to pro-actively contact the agency as soon as they hear about their large portfolio of enterprises. An example would be an engineer looking for a contact in his specific sector – which TOPSTEP may already be representing for sales and distribution. Proactive concept: why companies choose TOPSTEP Filling vacancies in sales and distribution can efficiently present a tricky problem to companies nowadays. Armed with their double-sided knowledge, TOPSTEP career managers in many cases already know the ideal candidate within a certain sector even before having been commissioned to fill a post. In fact, each career manager proactively performs between 60 to 100 interviews with sales representatives per month in their branch of industry. That way, they often promptly have the right person at hand when it comes to vacancies.

Due to their own proactive stance, TOPSTEP are quick with filling vacancies and in the position to offer a cooperation based on success, which bears no risk for the client at all. Their service is charged only after successfully filling a vacancy, a fact especially of interest for foreign companies searching the German market, who would like to explore available candidates without the obligation of immediately filling a post. Recruitment at TOPSTEP includes personnel consulting in the first place. The agency strives to find mutual strategies and solutions together with enterprises and companies, ultimately leading to their expansion in sales.

ly growing number of sectors. “During the past years, we have built a network that has already helped dealing with numerous tricky tasks in successfully filling specific roles,” he says. To him, it is a clear fact that this is only possible through the commitment and passionate attitude of each team member, taking both TOPSTEP and their own career forward every day. “I am especially proud of my co-workers who have made the success of the last years possible,” he states. “Since I started out on my own in 2012, a lot has happened. We have developed and grown immensely. To further foster and strengthen this development is our definitive goal for the future.”

A quickly expanding enterprise within the market sector

Step by (Top-)step, the career management service provider aims at reaching even more sectors this year, by constantly expanding their strong team of committed career managers.

Founder Samy El Bastaweisy is proud of the overall development of his company during the past years and the fact that TOPSTEP career managers work at eye level with a solid client base, in a steadiLong-term partnerships.

Sector-specific expertise.

Long-term expert support.

Samy El Bastaweisy, founder and CEO.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  51

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

KKC team with former German Federal President Christian Wulff.

KKC-Berater®: A strong partner for international recruitment KKC-Berater® is an award-winning consultancy for human resources, turning headhunting into an efficient, effective and fair process. With over 20 years of international experience in the field, the experts at KKC-Berater® cover a wide range of areas from the automotive and pharmaceutical industry to luxury retail and mechanical engineering, to name but a few.

It actually translates into refined search methods to find candidates with the best possible fit to an existing vacancy in a company. Listening and understanding the customer’s needs, always respecting not only legal standards but also business ethics are the keys to this success.”

A key factor that sets KKC-Berater® apart from the competition is the specialisation in various industry and business sectors. Riehm points out: “Automotive, synthetic materials industry, mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical industry are equally part of our portfolio like luxury retail and the watch industry. Each single core area is covered by a consultant for whom the respective industry is a ‘home match’, having spent many years there as an executive manager.”

KKC-Berater® is particularly specialised in small and medium-sized businesses, what Riehm calls “the backbone of the economy in Europe, in particular in Germany”. To find the perfect match for a vacancy, the consultants do a structured requirement analysis and develop a detailed competence profile. They take the corporate philosophy and culture into

Extensive experience and the resulting international network can be seen as the foundation for KKC-Berater®. The consultancy’s origin goes back to 1988 when Rohde & Partner Personalmanagement, an executive search company, was established. In 1999, Klaus Kellermann joined Rohde & Partner as a managing partner and founded Klaus Kellermann Consulting


A company stands and falls with the quality of the employees and finding the best personnel can often be a daunting task. Especially in a market that works more and more internationally and changes faster than the eye can see. KKC-Berater® provides the solution. The consultants recognise the importance of matching excellent businesses with outstanding personnel, both executive and specialist, and provide an objective analysis in order to realise optimal solutions for open vacancies. Ashok Riehm, managing partner and CEO of KKC-Berater®, explains: “‘Treffsicher. Kompetent. Fair.’ This is the mission, rather than a pure motto of KKC-Berater®. 52  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

account in order to bring the perfect personality to the table.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

GmbH in 2003, short KKC Berater®. The firm is still embedded in the well-known Rohde & Partner Group with an impressive 35 consultancy partners in just as many countries. From the UK and Switzerland to Russia and China amongst many others, the consultants have professional links to the major players of the global markets and know the country-specific circumstances and customs. To be able to draw from this outstanding network is a clear bonus for KKC Berater®. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that KKC Berater® has received a variety of prestigious awards. The most recent ones include ‘Top Consultant 2017’ in the categories ‘Overall Satisfaction and Problem-Solving Competence’, awarded by Welt as well as ‘Top Consultant 2017’, another price under the patronage of the former federal president of

Germany, Christian Wulff. “Perception is reality. Therefore KKC-Berater® is proud about its recent awards. But be assured KKC-Berater® will not relax on these achievements, we will take it as a stimulus to grow,” Riehm adds. A special service of KKC-Berater® is what they call “reversed headhunting”. As the name suggests, in this particular case the KKC experts work hand in hand with candidates. Riehm explains further: “Due to the expertise in so many branches KKC-Berater® has access to the ‘hidden market’, not published online or offline. For candidates planning their next career level, we are the coaching partner to develop an individual strategy, to match candidates’ assets with a target list of companies, so support the application phase and to professionally accompany the entry into their new environment.”

Thomas Pilz, partner and plastics industry specialist.

Ashok Riehm, managing partner and CEO.

KKC consultant - Thomas Heinrich.

Silke Keipke, consultant head of research.

As a classic consultancy for human resources, KKC-Berater® is able to offer a proven successful method when it comes to recruitment and their clients, both companies as well as candidates, can directly benefit from their prominent position in the economic sector. A track record of clients who keep coming back to KKCBerater® is testimony to their in-depth expertise. Letting these highly specialised and skilled experts take over, ensures top-quality personnel through a fair and objective approach. KKC-Berater® goes beyond just ticking off skillsets. Casting a wide recruitment net, the KKC experts are able to find the right match for long-lasting successful business partnerships. Awards for KKC 2017.

Founding partner - Klaus Kellermann.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  53

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

Placers headquarters in Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt.

Placers co-founder Gunter Osswald.

Finding the right German candidate for an executive position Placers human resource consulting, situated in Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt, successfully finds the perfect candidate for vacant positions. Focusing on German personnel, Placers also works for international companies who either want to headhunt German specialists for jobs in a different country, or want to enter the German market and are still searching for specialist employees. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: PLACERS

With a good overview of the German market and different business sectors, the consultants at Placers know where to look and how to get in touch with the right people for the right job. The company is a small one, but both founders have great experience in what they are doing (collectively about 25 years). “We might be small but our size also makes us far more flexible and individual than larger companies,” says co-founder Gunter Osswald. Osswald and his partner have trained over years to not only develop and improve methods needed for research and acquisition, but also to get insights into various business sectors. “You, for example, have to know that sales personnel in certain sectors often do not work from the office, so you have to gain access to a 54  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

mobile phone number to contact him or her discreetly,” says consultant Gunter Osswald. Placers’ main focus lies not just on industries and the building sector, but on all kinds of personnel from controller to engineer, from unique young talents to experienced executive managers. “We are speaking of personnel with an annual income of above 50,000 euros. About 80 per cent of our work concerns positions paid with 50 to 120,000 euros a year,” explains Osswald. Centre point has always been the German market, but the company has increasingly helped international clients to find the right personnel when entering the German market and establishing a branch there. Of course, German engineers and developers for example are sought after all

over the world. Finding one who is ready to leave for a new international position is never an easy task, but one Placers can help with. Placers’ main office is situated near Frankfurt, one of Germany’s economic centres and a main transport hub, which allows the consultants to reach all the main industrial areas easily by train or car – no matter if Hamburg or Munich. Gunter Osswald concludes: “Efficiency, professionalism, discretion and an individual search strategy for us are the keys to a successful project and an efficient recruitment.”

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

Technic experts wanted – and found! It stands to reason that if you are looking for a job, or want to fill a vacancy in your company, you will not be looking for just any job or candidate, but for the perfect match. In finding this match, people grow is your perfect partner.

find for each candidate the ideal job and for each vacancy the perfect candidate,” Papanikolaou is pleased to inform.


The work of people grow has only just started and, given the fact that in Germany alone 80 per cent of all employees work in jobs unsuited for them and their abilities, let’s keep our fingers crossed that their services will continue to bear fruit.

“When I established my company people grow in 2013, my aim was to help people and companies alike to find their perfect job or job candidate and to thus promote success amongst both sides. In doing this, my personal aim is to initiate a shift in the working world towards an arrangement where the human being, with all its facets and talents, becomes top priority,” says Georgios Papanikolaou, describing the intention and aim of his recruiting agency people grow. Having a well-founded technical education themselves, Papanikolaou and his team are the perfect choice for the recruitment of technical specialists and managers. “Thanks to our in-depth knowledge of the technical market and its players, people grow is indeed the best contact. We are familiar with the requirements of this particular market, we know about the special demands of any of these positions

and we have the means to find the perfect match,” Papanikolaou explains. In order to find this match, the team at people grow take on a holistic approach.“Each of our clients, company and candidate alike, are a unique entity. We value their multi-layered singularity and our tailormade approaches are matched to their specific needs and requirements. people grow follows an approach that highly values communication and empathy. Honesty, determination, singularity, a human touch as well as a deeply felt dedication to our work are terms that characterise our work approach,” says Papanikolaou. Top left: Georgios Papanikolaou, owner of people grow recruiting experts. Photo: © G. Papanikolaou Left: people grow - the expert for the recruitment for technical positions. Photo: © Bigstock Top right: Headhunting 4.0: intelligent recruiting solutions by people grow. Photo: © Bigstock Below: people grow - professional selection of candidates through aptitude testing. Photo: © Bigstock

people grow’s approach evidently succeeds.“people grow may be a start-up, but the success we have had so far proves us and our approach right: the projects we took care of in the last four years were all crowned by success and we managed to Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  55

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

Client satisfaction.

Teamwork. Photo: © iStock

Personal KAISER:

Quality, not quantity Consultancy Personal KAISER offers a direct and individual search for outstanding staff without using recruitment databases. The expert team bases their personnel search for the ideal candidate on three essential pillars: trust, honesty and reliability. Genuine values and a down-to-earth approach ensure the team at Personal KAISER finds executive employees whose personality and skill match a vacancy to perfection. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: PERSONAL KAISER

Finding qualified employees whose personalities match a company’s corporate culture can be incredibly difficult. It is not only very time-consuming, but it can also cost a great deal of money when a bad choice is made and a position has to be filled over and over again. Personal KAISER brings the solution to this increasing problem with their absolute tailor-made search for the perfect candidate. Their approach can be seen as traditional headhunting, which has unfortunately become a real rarity in today’s fast-paced online-driven world. 56  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

to read job offers. They do not use the common online job searching engines. That is why Personal KAISER is not a personnel placement agency as such. We do not deliver from almost empty databases because qualified specialists are not necessarily searching for their next challenge themselves.”

Based in Munich, Personal KAISER was founded in 2000 by Anne Kaiser and has never been a standard recruitment agency. Far from it. At Personal KAISER, there is no database to use. The consultants draw from their wide network and expertise of how to approach superb employees directly and in a personal way.

What Personal KAISER does differently is to actively seek the conversation with successful personalities in order to convince them to change position. Right from the first contact, the experts at Personal KAISER earn a potential candidate’s trust and equally build the image of the contracting company.

“Personal KAISER finds competent professionals and successful management personnel who, up to that point, had no reason to apply elsewhere,” explains CEO Anne Kaiser. “Top executives don’t tend

This personal approach requires a great deal of intuition and tact for it to be successful and the Personal KAISER team has mastered that craft to perfection. Anne Kaiser expands: “To find the perfect match

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

for the searching company within a short period of time, we do a comprehensive briefing with the specific supervisors and the human resources department. We identify the concrete need of the company before moving on to the in-depth search. “Aside from the professional qualifications, we also learn which soft facts play into finding the perfect candidate so that he or she fits into the company or rather the specific department. This is a crucial criterion for our selection process,” emphasises Kaiser. “Often a variety of candidates bring the right skills for the job but not all of them are actually suitable to work for a particular company. Ultimately, the personality is the deciding factor in order to fill a position successfully and for a long time.” The ‘KAISER Executive Search®-Method’ evaluates potential thoroughly before suggesting them to a company. No database can provide that kind of insight. The searching company receives dossiers

on the suitable candidates only after the consultant has gotten to know the potential future employee. This special method allows for Personal KAISER to find high-ranking candidate in no time. This results in remarkably high client satisfaction, genuine usefulness and also security of investment. It is generally growth-oriented companies that turn to Personal KAISER for help. Medium-sized businesses, regional banks and savings banks are amongst their client base. As Anne Kaiser points out, their clients are often businesses that value their employees greatly and understand that a genuinely good work relationship with their staff is what moves a business forward. Consulting Personal KAISER is also particularly of advantage when it comes to succession planning, as the help of the experts will minimise the risk of having an unfilled position and hence losing money. When a company wants to expand a divi-

Competence in finding executives.

sion or when opening a new branch in a different region, it is also incredibly useful to consult with Personal KAISER early on. It is not only about the company that looks to fill a position, Personal KAISER also ensures that the presented candidates get appealing development opportunities. Only a happy employee is a good employee. The direct and personal search Personal KAISER provides is a true game-changer for many companies and long-lasting relationships with clients are testimony for their excellent services. Often recommended through word of mouth, Personal KAISER has been able to fill all the assigned vacancies to the satisfaction of their clients. Counting on real human interaction rather than betting on anonymous search databases has proven to be a great recipe for success at Personal KAISER, and it will certainly continue to convince in the future.

Conversation with experts. Photo: © Fotolia

Johannes Dühr, project manager at Personal KAISER.

Johann and Anne Kaiser, CEOs Personal KAISER.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  57

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

The human factor Sellke. stands for Personalised Executive Assistant Search, which sometimes means looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTO: STEFAN GRÖPPER

Recruiter Barbara Sellke’s expertise with the knack of finding ‘the right match’ of executive and assistant ranges from family business to corporate middle management to DAX company executive. Recruitment for her is not only an endeavour, it also requires ‘hard work’ and, most of all, a profound knowledge of the sector.

pressive client and candidate list and this year looks forward to expanding her nationwide activity by working for clients throughout the DACH region.

It also entails an excellent pool of classified candidates and, last but not least, a job well done for Barbara Sellke always includes an upfront meeting at eye level. “At first, some people find this odd – but it always works out and saves both sides a lot of time and energy,” she says.“As soon as I meet an executive, if at their office or even for a five minutes coffee on the fly – I know much better who would serve as a good assistant to them.” Obviously, the ‘hard facts’ of the job description count but, in the end, it is the special and delicate relationship between executive and assistant that are of equally high importance. For example, all assistants need to be capable of doing an excellent job, while also representing their employer with competency and confidence. Matching two personalities for a fruitful, trouble-free and trusting cooperation is the Sellke. formula for success. However, her work does not necessarily stop with the signed contract. Over the usual six-month trial period and beyond, evaluation and consulting on both sides are also part of the package as required. Looking back on more than a decade in the field of high-level assistance work, Barbara Sellke knows what she is talking about. “I have met many people and all types of personality, both on the executive and the assistance side.” Having successfully worked in the recruitment sector since 2009, she has built an im58  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Barbara Sellke, Personalised Executive Assistant Search. © Sellke.

The term ‘human resource’ has two important words in it. The ‘source’, from which functioning business relationships ideally derive from, and the word ‘human’. For executive assistant recruiter Barbara Sellke, the human being is the key to success, in both recruitment and business.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

‘New Work’ is not just a buzz word in the creative industries Recruitment in the communications industry is a niche market. Like so many others, it is undergoing changes due to increasingly dynamic global markets. Until very recently, communications agencies were predominantly seeking creative staff. These days, however, more and more companies grow their own creative departments in order to drive their company vision independently of external agencies. In the DACH countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), the industry is under enormous pressure as advertising clients increasingly react to current events. Instead of assigning long-term budgets, today they often only allocate project-specific funds. TEXT: WIBKE CARTER  |  PHOTOS: HENRIETTE POGODA

This development in turn strongly impacts the search for new staff. While not long ago it was an accolade to work as a creative, strategist or consultant for a Cannes Lions-awarded agency, the now talented junior staff think carefully whether to work for an agency or in-house for a company. They consider creative challenges versus financial security, work-life balance and regularity of working hours. The lack of experienced digital personnel means young people can now choose where they would like to work. Designerdock, which has been operating in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for over 20 years, specialises in freelance and full-time communications, marketing and design recruitment, and as such is one of the few players in the field. Due to the close networks among people working in these industries, as well as their expectations regarding their work, sovereignty, and the incompatibility of roles between different agencies, it is difficult or unattractive for

most recruitment agencies to start operating in this employment sector. According to Designerdock Berlin managing partner Kristin Louis, all of their recruiting experts come from the communications industries, and have experience in the sector they supervise. The resultant trust and understanding forms the foundation for the rather unconventional recruitment agency’s success notes Louis.“We take care that our recruiting experts don’t act like average headhunters. We rarely place suits and we aren’t suits ourselves. Instead, we see ourselves as a competent partner of this sector. It is important to us that we personally meet each job seeker and client before we add them to our database.”

Letf: Kristin Louis, Designerdock Berlin managing partner. Middle: Company spokesperson Deborah Abeßer. Right: Photo: © Designerdock Bottom: Kristin Louis, managing partner (left) and Deborah Abeßer, company spokesperson (right).

complexity must be acknowledged and prioritised,” adds company spokesperson Deborah Abeßer. As the advertising industry primarily employs creative 20 to 40-year-olds, these recruits are largely ‘digital natives’. Their daily work is characterised by digital overload. As Deborah Abeßer reports: “Regardless of Designerdock location (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), ‘new work’ is a pressing desire for all job seekers. People in the creative industries look for extended recovery periods (digital detox), meaningful work (sustainability) and flexible parttime and home office options. Today, creativity needs more freedom than ever as expectations have increased. We see ourselves as ambassadors for our candidates and hope for more openness toward new work models from sector employers.” Designerdock can be found in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich.

This direct industry contact gives Designerdock special knowledge which works to all parties’ benefit. “The market trend toward purely databased services proves very difficult for recruiting. Recruiting is a people business, thus human Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  59

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

Zahlmann Consulting – international performance for guaranteed success Finding the right partner for your business ideas can be quite a challenge. Luckily, Zahlmann Consulting is there to help. Founded in 2002, Frankfurt-based agency Zahlmann Consulting is a top-player in the world of international recruiting and consulting. With offices in Frankfurt, New York, Moscow, Kuala Lumpur and London, Zahlmann Consulting is specialised in digital recruiting solutions worldwide, turnkey internationalisation services and continual sales coaching. “Contrarily to other agencies, our customers can expect one-stop-shopsolutions from us - starting with online sales lead systems, sales software, market tests to sales outsourcing. Another important pillar of our business is worldwide high-level recruitment for which we use unique online search methods. We have also developed digital 19.05.15 and social21:14 recruiting FAsmus_Ad1-2_Discover_#01__ Seite 1

systems that individually find the right candidate in every country. We are able to digitally establish an individual search process to focus on talents in sales, marketing or high-level executives in all major markets,”says Dirc Zahlmann, founder and CEO of Zahlmann Consulting. Zahlmann Consulting is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world of international consulting and recruiting. “We have grown considerably over the past years. One reason for this is not only the growing demand for qualified international assistance in digitised recruiting and sales solutions worldwide but also in our team which has remained visionary, innovative and creative over those past years,” Zahlmann elucidates.


Adding to Zahlmann Consulting’s highly qualified range of services and expertise, some of the more recent developments include long-term coaching systems and digital and social lead sytems to help clients grow in international markets.

Left: Using the latest technologies for your success. Photo: © Envato Market Right: Dirc Zahlmann, founder of Zahlmann Consulting. Photo: © Zahlmann Consulting

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Referenzen: Apple Inc., Airbus S.A.S., Allianz SE, Audi AG, Axa Konzern AG, BASF SE, Bayer AG, BMW Group, Robert Bosch GmbH, Continental AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Henkel AG, HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG, Kühne + Nagel AG, Liganova GmbH, L'Oréal Deutschland GmbH, Merck KGaA, Novartis AG, Pfizer GmbH, Roche Diagnostics, SAP AG, Shopware AG, Siemens AG, Software AG, Swarovski KG, Volkswagen AG, u.v.a. 60  |  Issue 53  | Deutschland August 2017

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Recruiting Experts

Heidi Steinberger.

In-depth career consulting.

Distilling potential: Heidi Steinberger Human Resource Service Heidi Steinberger looks back on decades of experience as a personnel consultant and recruiter from within the Munich region. About ten years ago, she also began her profound work as a career consultant with the same amount of passion – a dual path that bears many rewards. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: HEIDI STEINBERGER

“For an enterprise, I practically act as their business card – which is the reason why I am striving to understand their company culture and philosophy to a point where I can make it my own,” Heidi Steinberger explains. Representing an enterprise to her also means portraying the level of respect for the employees. A respectful attitude to Heidi Steinberger is one of the main pillars of company culture as well as a major aspect of her own work as career consultant. She takes a person not only seriously but also strives to fully understand a personality in all its facets, so that qualities and talents can be distilled of which the candidates themselves may not have been aware of.“The solution lies within the personality,” she states. As senior consultant with decades of expertise in the sector, Heidi Steinberger

has a specific interest in middle-sized or family businesses that she deems to be an important factor for Germany’s economy. She consults enterprises with between 20 and several thousands of employees and especially enjoys working with innovative companies with a vision, like ‘hidden champions’. Her enterprise portfolio also includes the manufacturing and engineering sector, the latter known to her through her own work experience, as well as the cosmetic and electronic industry.

sonality and helping them to find the exact right place in a working environment. Heidi Steinberger Human Resource Service lately joined the experteer consultancy test (Headhunter of the Year) in which her clients attested to her “comprehensive and competent support”, paired with an “open, clear and honest communication”. Long-term relationships with her clients are based on expertise and seriosity while, as career consultant, her ability to see the long-term potential in a candidate makes for a key factor, as well as having their interests at heart. Heidi Steinberger Human Resource Service.

Apart from a mutual respect for the human being on both sides of employment, Heidi Steinberger’s work is defined by transparency and first-hand communication. Autonomous and reliable in her dealings, a face-to-face encounter is part of her approach of fully supporting a perIssue 53  |  August 2017  |  61

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017


Coining the trends of tomorrow Consumer electronics, technology solutions, digital innovations – all these terms have become well-known and appreciated all over Germany. Let’s find out what the current trends are in these respective fields on the following pages. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  I  PHOTOS: PIXABAY

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Consumer electronics, for example, coin our everyday lives like never before. German living rooms simply cannot be imagined without flat screens, gaming consoles or multi-room systems. At the same time, classic entertainment electronics increasingly merge with mobile IT devices like smartphones or tablets that increasingly establish themselves as control centres for technologies from the entertainment sector. What is more, is the future-oriented area of virtual reality: many consumers are fascinated by this respective technology after using it for the first time. The latest sales forecasts also confirm the enormous potential of virtual reality. However, not only virtual reality holds enormous potential; consumer technology does too. Barely any other sector is coined by such a large and rapid succession of disruptive innovations. Through digitalisation and interconnectivity, newer and more efficient products are developed all

the time. For this, once popular devices such as the classic camcorder or navigation systems disappear on the other hand. The smartphone has effectively changed the consumer technology market, as well as consumer behaviour. It typifies the merging of consumer electronics with IT and communication technology. As can be seen, technology and digital solutions from all walks of life significantly coin our everyday lives. Thus, for this issue, we decided to handpick some of Germany’s greatest innovators in the above-mentioned fields of consumer electronics, technology solutions, digital innovations and more. Get inspired by their latest innovations, inventions and products. To find out more about current technology, consumer electronic and digital trends, take a look at the following pages.

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Digitalising enterprise product costing with expert help from Germany In digitalising the calculation of product costs, the German company FACTON with headquarters in Potsdam near Berlin has defined Enterprise Product Costing. Today, FACTON has become the market leader in this area with clients all over the world – a growing company that joins business expertise with practical solutions. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: FACTON

To have the right software for cost accounting makes life easier for everyone involved. However, for many years there was no product on the market that fitted companies’ needs – no matter the size, or industry. This was the starting point for FACTON as a software developer: FACTON was originally founded as a consultancy that offered engineering services for the manufacturing industry, especially the automotive industry. “But over and over again, we realised that next to technical information, the clients also asked for costing information,” says FACTON CEO Alexander M. Swoboda. “And the only tool used so far to collect this information was MS Excel. All 64  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

companies we encountered were using it, no matter the size. And because there simply was no software available that matched the specific requirements, we developed our own software,” he adds. “We had a very clear vision for ‘Enterprise Product Costing’ right from the beginning: We wanted to enable our clients to calculate the overall production costs, so that with the gathered data the finance department can, early on, calculate how much the development of a product costs, and at what price a product can be bought and sold,” says CEO Alexander M. Swoboda. This also allows them to provide the costing information management needs.

Developing a completely new software product and individual solutions did not always go smoothly: not all of the first software products turned out to be cost effective for FACTON, even though the clients were happy with the results they gained and the products they received. The first products FACTON developed focused on the requirements of individual clients.“Introducing these products at the respective companies allowed us to become the company we are today,”says Alexander M. Swoboda. “A market leader.” Because of its software products’ success, the company changed rapidly – from a consultancy to a successful business software developer. The company is still constantly growing and recruiting new staff to tackle new challenges. Over time, FACTON widened its client base in the automotive industry and added aerospace companies and other manufacturing industries. The company also took on part-

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

ners to develop its portfolio further. Right from the beginning, FACTON focused on large and international companies. Winning Ford Motor Company as a client was the first big milestone, which allowed the company to grow further; other global companies followed. Today, the company has four branches with offices in Potsdam, Dresden, Stuttgart and Detroit and employs about 100 people. FACTON is leading in a market segment worth more than four billion euros. “We are very pleased that several thousand users are currently using FACTON worldwide and we are getting closer to our goal to put Enterprise Product Costing (EPC) on the same footing with ERP and PLM systems.”The company intends to grow further in the coming years – in Germany, Europe and elsewhere.

FACTON deeply influences the global supply chain. “On the one hand, we help our clients to produce products in the intended quality and quantity with costs as low as possible. On the other hand, we equip them to provide products for millions of people,” says Alexander M. Swoboda. Technical innovations also enable easier cooperation with suppliers and clients, for example for companies in the automotive industry. What makes FACTON so unique in the software development market is the company’s extensive experience in consulting with enterprises: “From the very beginning, we have had great know-how in enterprise product costing and our clients profit from the great variety of products and functions we offer. We are always adding more and more users and have in-

tegrated ever more complex calculations to comply with our clients’ requirements.” FACTON brings together unique knowhow in three core business areas: calculation of operational costs, production technology and software development. “This combination is unusual and cannot be copied by any other company, no matter how large,” says the CEO. Knowing the thought process of C-level management and understanding managers’ agendas has allowed FACTON to develop its product and turn the company into what it is today. Understanding what clients need is – in short – part of FACTON’s success and the big advantage clients gain when working with the German specialists.

Alexander M. Swoboda, CEO of FACTON.

Photo: © REDPIXEL / Fotolia

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  65

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017 VR rollercoaster ride at Europa-Park.

Coastiality App.

Coastiality ride ‘Alpenexpress’.

The future of virtual reality – An immersive 360-degree rollercoaster ride MackMedia is a pioneer for transmedia entertainment and the digital storytelling brain of Germany’s largest theme park Europa-Park. One of the company’s latest innovations consists of the breath-taking virtual reality (VR) Coastiality rides and an accompanying app. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: MACKMEDIA

The idea of creating fantastical worlds has always been the motivational engine for theme parks across the globe. Therefore, merging virtual reality with a real-life experience to offer a complete body and soul adventure is the holy grail of today’s entertainment sector. Thanks to MackMedia, that dream is finally coming true. Together with VR Coaster and Mack Rides, the company has developed the world’s very first VR rollercoaster ride. While riding on a real-world rollercoaster and feeling the thrilling rush of wind, the centrifugal forces at power with every twist and turn, visitors see an incredible flawlessly designed 360-degree fantasy world through a Samsung Gear virtual reality headset. The perfectly synchronised 360-degree animations unfold a story in front of the amazed viewer’s eyes, which is supported by the real-life sensory experience. It 66  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

is a breath-taking adventure, literally and figuratively. At Europa-Park, visitors can choose between two worlds, a wild mining cart ride and a flight on the back of a dragon, or they can become true sky explorers high above the clouds. Far more than 650,000 passengers have already tried the rollercoaster upgrade in Europa-Park – whilst worldwide there have been far more than 2.5 million people who have chosen to ride a VR coaster. With the free accompanying app, Europa-Park enables any smartphone user to immerse themselves in fantastic 360-degree worlds whenever, wherever. The start-up company, VR Coaster, and the Coastiality App by MackMedia, have together won the prestigious German Computer Games Award, which is not only an honour but also testimony to the outstanding technical quality.

“Europa-Park believes this technology is ground-breaking for the theme park industry. We see our pioneering work in this field confirmed daily. The visitor numbers are clear indicators of its popularity,” says Michael Mack, managing partner of Europa-Park and CEO of MackMedia, who heads up the project. The triangle of success consists of the rollercoaster manufacturer Mack Rides, MackMedia, which develops the creative concepts, and VR Coaster, responsible for the creation of the virtual reality experience. They offer a complete package to upgrade rollercoasters worldwide and open a portal to a new era of innovative entertainment. The future awaits us. Are you ready to come on-board?

German Computer Games Award: best innovation 2017.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Perfecting the taste of freshly brewed coffee through technical innovation For the Nuremberg-based company NIVONA great tasting coffee is at the core of its business: the small and committed team of coffee lovers, innovators and engineers came together to build the best possible fully automatic coffee machines. Today the team has grown to more than 25 employees.

vate households,” says Fiedler. NIVONA products can be bought at selected retailers. The NIVONA CafeRomatica 1030.


NIVONA fully automatic coffee machines use the so-called Aroma Balance System, which creates a unique brew: coffee lovers can easily choose between three aroma profiles and thus influence the brewing process and taste. “What is important here is the pump pressure of 15 bar, the throughput speed and the way the waters flows through the brewing chamber,” explains NIVONA’s managing director Bastian Fiedler. Depending on the setting, the water sometimes flows faster, sometimes slower through the freshly ground coffee, bringing different aromas to the foreground every time. “For me a great

coffee has personality and character. A good bean and a thorough roasting are essential for the taste, but only the right preparation can get the most out of it,” says Fiedler. “The NIVONA CafeRomatica 1030, for example, shows its potential wherever many coffee lovers come together. Especially in an office kitchen it provides an optimal work-life balance through technical finesse – like the 18 individually adjustable recipes,” says Bastian Fiedler. The cleaning is very easy, as is the handling via app or the TFT colour display. “This makes the CafeRomatica 1030 also suitable for pri-

Your passport to a digital future Interoute Virtual Data Centre (VDC) is a first-class global hybrid cloud solution that impresses with public cloud simplicity, private cloud security and an abundance of advantages. TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF  |  PHOTO: INTEROUTE COMMUNICATIONS LTD

Interoute VDC is a scalable and secure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform integrated within Interoute’s global, private fibre optic network that spans over 70,000 route kilometres. This means that it does not charge for data transfers in and out of their virtual data centres to the internet or between VDC zones. With zones built locally in one’s country and a total of 17 VDC zones around the world, it lets you place your data and applications close to your users. It is thus an agile, local cloud that gives you a global reach. Furthermore, you can choose between having Interoute VDC delivered as a private cloud service via your corporate VPN or as a public cloud service via the internet – or

both. Interoute VDC also gives users the same control and resource as having an own data centre – without the cost of buying equipment, power or manpower. This flexible architecture allows users to create the perfect, personalised configuration. Last but not least, Interoute VDC combines computing virtualisation in the cloud

with network virtualisation in the ground. With Interoute VDC you do not need to spend time and effort installing and managing firewalls between your virtual data centres and all data traffic is inherently secure as it moves between them. Interoute Germany GmbH Europarc Dreilinden, Albert-Einstein-Ring 5 14532 Kleinmachnow, Germany, +49 30 25431-0

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  67

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Smart plug Eve Energy.

Smart thermometer Eve Degree solution. Smart thermometer Eve Degree.

More comfort? Just ask… With Elgato’s Eve you can control your home devices with a mere tip of your finger or, even simpler, with your voice. The Eve product series and free accompanying app is built for Apple’s revolutionary Home Kit and allows you to track and change for example temperature or energy consumption.

iPhone, your Apple Watch, an iPad, the remote control of Apple TV or soon from the new Siri-capable speaker Apple HomePod, increasing the quality and comfort of your home has never been easier.


If anyone is still wondering: the future has certainly arrived in our homes. The dream of controlling our appliances simply from our iPhone or iPad is no longer just a fantasy. Elgato, a frontrunner when it comes to the innovative field of Connected Home, has developed products and software, which are easily paired with Apple’s home kit and manage various aspects of your home. With eight main products, Elgato is the provider of the largest selection of Home Kit accessories. Without having to leave the comfort of your couch, you can check for example any room’s temperature, humidity, air quality or door state - simply through asking Siri for the desired data. With just your voice, you can control all the devices connected to Eve Energy. This means Siri can turn on lamps for you, adjust temperature or let you know which doors are open. 68  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

Elgato spokesperson Lars Felber explains what sets Elgato’s app-enabled accessories apart: “Eve products combine seamless software with state-of-the-art hardware. We apply our expertise in user interface design and firmware programming to turn a simple heating, lighting or power control device into a smart solution that not only improves your comfort, but is also fun to use. By working together with specialised partners in the electrical industry and the thermal comfort sector, we ensure our customers receive a very well-rounded product made of reliable hardware and innovative software.” The set-up is easy and straightforward. There is no need to install a bridge or to run a cable. All you need are the Eve series products and the Elgato Eve app, which can be downloaded for free in the app store. Whether you manage it from the

Are you ready to make your home your castle? Home Kit accessories Elgato Eve.

Smart motion sensor Eve Motion.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

‘LIBRA’ 6324-CAM.

‘ELARA’ ST 2671-CAM.

‘VESTA’ ST 1906-CAM.

When light meets a camera and means security Have you ever wondered who buzzes your doorbell while you are not home? Or have you ever wanted to feel entirely protected against burglaries when on holiday? What might seem like a sci-fi vision of the future becomes reality with LUTEC SECURY’LIGHT, promoted from the Alfter-based ECO-LIGHT Leuchten GmbH.

ambient light: at night, SECURY’LIGHT automatically dims, only lights up when movement is detected and turns off automatically after 20 seconds to reduce energy usage.


With the SECURY’LIGHT Connected Camera Concept, one will never miss a delivery again. Or when suspicious movement around the house is detected, the user receives an alarm buzz and can immediately access the camera to see what exactly is going on. LUTEC SECURY’LIGHT new, innovative camera lightings unite safety and light, while giving the user full control of all safety settings with the free LUTEC app for one’s smart home. Light, camera, motion sensor, noise-cancelling microphone and a two-way speaker are all accessible in the app and users can adjust the sensor’s sensitivity and all security settings with it. So, how exactly does it work? Simply choose one of LUTEC´s stylish lamp models (‘ESA’, ‘PERI’, ‘LIBRA’, ‘VESTA’ or ‘ELARA’) and order it with the SECURY’LIGHT. Its camera has a lightsensitive lens, high-resolution (1280 x

720 pixels), a wide-angle lens and a F2.0 shutter – recording blurred images is thus a thing of the past. With SECURY’LIGHT, users can make screenshots or video recordings, replay videos, communicate with a two-way speaker or mute the microphone. No movement will be undetected with the intelligent passive infra-red motion sensor. While SECURY’LIGHT is fully adjustable in time, light intensity and distance of the sensor, the SD card can fit up to ten hours of HD recording. To prevent a full memory card, it only starts recording when detecting movement. Furthermore, the light’s integrated microphone comprises 360-degree noisecancelling recording and hears clear voices over a distance of five metres. The motion sensor captures an area of 180 to 270 degrees (depending on the model) and detects movements in up to 20 metres. Last but not least, SECURY’LIGHT adapts to its

Easy to install, to configure and to connect to several phones – what are you waiting for? Watch the SECURY’LIGHT clip on YouTube.

Never miss a thing!

‘ESA’ 6255-CAM.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  69

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Finger and face recognition scanner.

Osram iris scan.

Protection in the blink of an eye Password-based protection for smartphones and tablets is becoming less and less reliable, but increasingly important as we organise our entire lives from our mobile devices. Osram Opto Semiconductors is leading the way to the future of biometric identification with applications like infrared iris scanning and facial recognition. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: OSRAM OPTO SEMICONDUCTORS

It is hard to imagine a world without smartphones and tablets. We manage our daily lives from these handy little devices and enjoy the freedom they give us. But our mobile companions store sensitive and valuable data, from confidential business emails to anything connected to banking apps or online shopping. The list is endless and there is no question that we need to safeguard our devices against unauthorised access. The answer lies in biometric identification.

conquering futuristic grounds. They develop a wide range of high-tech products for various applications: precise optical sensors for health monitoring, infrared LEDs for automotive security systems as well as high-performance LEDs for street and tunnel lighting.

This is where one of the major drivers of innovation in illumination, visualisation and sensing, Regensburg-based Osram Opto Semiconductors, lends a strong helping hand.

The pattern of an iris is unique. During the biometric ID process, scanners illuminate the eyes with infrared light and a picture is taken and analysed for its pattern. A similar process is used for face recognition, which analyses our unique typical features. Both methods require bright and even illumination so that the pictures are

The company can look back at over 40 years of experience and yet again they are 70  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

One of the pioneers’ most recent projects is the special infrared LEDs, which form the basis of iris and face recognition also usable on mobile devices.

usable. Osram’s infrared LED lights offer the perfect solution without dazzling the users. “Access control as a whole is becoming increasingly important and iris and facial recognition are two of the most reliable methods here,” explains Nina Reiser, marketing manager at Osram Opto Semiconductors. “Following in the footsteps of consumer markets, industry is now showing more interest.” The innovative scanning process with infrared lights safeguards our data, simply in the blink of an eye. Protecting your personal data has never been easier.

Osram iris scan product.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017 The interface of Swisstom BB2 combines safety and aesthetics. Photo: © Swisstom AG

UID lays the foundation for user-friendly control with well thought through concepts.

Cooking becomes a real event with the new interface for the Thermomix TM5.

Unique user interfaces for a better experience A market leader for user experiences in Europe, User Interface Design (UID) offers a wide range of services for interactive portfolios. From user interfaces to product series, UID understands their craft inside and out and has an impressive team of 100 experts to take your business to the next level. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  |  PHOTOS: USER INTERFACE DESIGN GMBH

Founded in 1998 in Ludwigsburg, UID has made it its mission to design easy-to-use interfaces for the perfect user experience. Managing director Franz Koller explains: “Our vision is to make tomorrow’s world easier through using technology people are comfortable with.” “Regardless if it’s in their professional or private lives, users expect interactive products and digital services to match their needs. Hence UID designs user interfaces that guide users intuitively through programs and create attractive user experiences.” User interfaces are a huge part of a brand’s image. It influences a customer’s decision to buy. Being aware of the great potential a smart user interface bears and using it wisely can set a company apart from its competition. “Regardless if the focus lies on single user interfaces, entire product families or

custom-made services, we accompany our clients through all stages. From the idea to fully implementing it,” says Koller. “Our usability engineers, designers and software developers work together and the end user with all given requirements and needs takes centre stage right from the start. In alignment to that we build an interaction and design concept for the user interface which emphasises the quality and aesthetic of a brand.” UID’s clients come from automotive, consumer, enterprise, manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical industries. Koller adds: “Whether it’s software for banks and insurance companies, machine control, household appliances or medical devices, we develop interactive products tailored to each target group.” UID can be particularly proud of the first Thermomix with graphical user interface. The multifunctional kitchen appliance by Vorwerk won the iF Design Award,

the Red Dot Award, the German Design Award Special Mention and the UX Design Award: Public Choice. Another important creation is the electrode belt developed by Swiss start-up Swisstom AG to monitor lung functions. In record time it was used in international hospitals and won the iF Design Award. Time is limited in hospitals so the complex medical parameters are presented in a way to be grasped quickly and interpreted safely. UID adds aesthetic value and helps to make our world easier to understand.“The goal is to create coherent, interlinked arrays of products and services where the single units can operate together smoothly and efficiently. This results in a unique user experience,” Koller summarises.

UID gives your product an individual face with great attention to detail.

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Consulting competence.

An optimum in IT service innovation Optivation is an enterprise that offers full IT service management consulting and looks after IT transition and transformation processes, either with a full-service package or with expert module support. Their goal, the technological optimisation of their client’s IT process world, is reached with efficiency and expertise – resulting in putting their clients ahead of competition. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: OPTIVATION HOLDING

The Optivation three-step procedure consists of the analysis of the task or problem at hand, followed by creating innovative and individualised solutions and integrating them into the customer’s IT operation with a conscientious, follow-through attitude. CEO Thomas Bühler states: “We have our virtual ‘tool box’ at the ready at any given time. Regarding the state of a company’s process, we can offer a complete outsourcing consulting package, or jump in at the ready to help out with details. The difference to other global players in the sector may be that our level of expertise never changes, as the implementation and sup72  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

port of a project is performed by the same experts who formed the initial planning team.” The experienced consultants at Optivation go the extra mile. Their work is marked by a specific solution competence, tailor-cut to the given situation or the respective stage of a transition process. If for a full transition or the optimisation of an outsourcing project, the same level of expertise is applied on both planning and implementation. In many cases, the post-transitional backup service and daily support of a company’s or institution’s IT body is also part of the deal. Thus, the Optivation team of consultants keeps the level of expertise

throughout the process and beyond. Their clients stem from the public and financial sectors, as well as the manufacturing industry and the IT service sector. However, basically any institution, company or enterprise with an IT department will highly benefit from their customised, reliable and varied expert service offers. Optimised IT service expertise The Optivation experts step in for consulting on both service and governance management, as well as taking over an interim management if needed. By applying their self-developed and pre-generated procedure models to each individual task, they focus only on those aspects that are truly necessary and economically feasible for the client. In terms of IT Governance, Optivation provide a targeted support of the controlling, monitoring and reporting of IT services. This concerns both inhouse IT structures as well as services brought in through ex-

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

ternal providers. Based on the best practice advice sketched out by the ITIL-V3 model, the process applied by Optivation will focus completely on the individual requirements at hand. Interim management can be an effective support factor in bottleneck situations, when resources are needed elsewhere, or if the workload gets out of hand. In these cases, Optivation experts take over a company’s IT management on a temporary basis – armed with know-how and expertise, working side by side with the company management.

Whether transition, support or controlling, interim management or key provider, Optivation have your back when it comes to IT services through a directly acting, customised expert support, built for longevity and success. This year, Optivation are looking forward to further adjust their expert programmes

to upcoming challenges with regard to the ‘Industrie 4.0’ era and Cloud Computing developments. Active on the respective panels and research bodies, they understand innovation as the productive counterpart of adapting to the future, while always keeping their customers in mind.

Customer orientation.

Support systems, workplace enhancement and security The Optivation ‘IT-service management suite’ offers a choice of modern toolindependent ITSM solutions that help to build a company’s spine while being flexible, functional and user-friendly alike. Having made their pick, Optivation will help customers with optimal process controlling and a high productivity by keeping all IT processes at a level of permanent compliance. When it comes to workplace innovation, be it of technological or process-related nature with a focus on cost optimisation, security or ergonomic aspects – the Optivation analysis tools and models enable a company to make full use of their innovation potential.

Innovative ideas.

IT security is on everyone’s lips nowadays, with both legal requirements and individual expectations asking for tailor-cut solutions on the one side and easy-to-grasp IT security guidelines on the other. New technologies need to be applied frequently and safely. Here, Optivation consultants step in with minimising risks and a cost-efficient analysis. Transition and provider management Optivation take over an outsourcing project either as a whole or in parts as required. Their module ‘IT Transition Services & Provider Management’ supports an enterprise or institution in pointing out the relevant thematic field and the suitable outsourcing partner, while at the same time optimising the entire transitional process. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  73

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

“Our motto is ‘customers first!’” Sven Meise, CDO, FrancotypPostalia Holding AG, Berlin.

FP-Sign is a new digital signature solution made in Germany – simple, secure and in accordance with the law.

Profiting from new digital processes is easier than many companies think For many companies, the main questions is still: why is digital transformation so important? It is one of the key drivers that allow companies to adapt to an ever-changing market and customer demands. Berlin-based Francotyp-Postalia Holding AG accompanies clients on their way into a digital world offering software solutions like FP-Sign, a digital signature software as a service. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: FRANCOTYP-POSTALIA HOLDING AG

Digital documentations and document processes are the entrance points into the digital world for many companies. But often enough companies still do not use their full potential. In 2016, bitkom Research together with FP FrancotypPostalia determined that when it comes to incoming and outgoing mail, as well as archiving, many companies still do not take advantage of key features the digital world has to offer. A hybrid mail solution, like the one Francotyp-Postalia provides through its subsidiary FP IAB, can advance the digitalisation of inbox and outbox. Hybrid mail combines the best of digital and physical dispatch. “And companies that want to archive documents and business mail we support through our subsidiaries FP freesort and FP Mentana Claimsoft,” says Sven Meise, CDO at Francotyp-Postalia Holding AG. With FPSign, the company also provides a solution 74  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

that makes it possible to sign business correspondences and contracts digitally – easier and faster. Using the normal mailing route, it might take weeks until a contract is signed and send back and forth between the relevant parties. To make this process faster is therefore the goal of many companies, using cloud computing and digital transfer of signed documents and contracts. The problem here always is how to make this process secure and legally binding. “FPSign is the German solution for this problem,” says Sven Meise. “Our cloud-based solution processes data solely through German and certified data centres.” With only a few clicks, contracts can be signed and shared. The recipient does not even need an own licence. FP-Sign as a portal solution and software as a service can be used without high acquisition costs.

Francotyp-Postalia is Germany’s market leader in the franking business with more than 200,000 customers worldwide who entrust them with their business communication. With more than 90 years of experience the company quite early adapted to digitalisation and now offers individual and custom-made solutions for clients allowing them to optimise their processes – efficiently and cost-effectively. “Agility and excellency are our goal with every service and products,” concludes Sven Meise.

Via the cloud documents can be signed with one simple click and shared in minutes.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Modern sound technology for old-school music lovers Digital downloads have made access to new music far easier. But for many music lovers, the sound quality is lacking when using a digital sound source – especially compared to its analogue counterpart. Berlin-based Tento Engineering develops high-end pocket-sized devices that turn digital data-flow into analogue signal without any perceptible lack of quality. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: TENTO ENGINEERING

Tento Engineering UG is a German startup founded in 2013 that has specialised in high-end audio devices for people who love the sound of analogue music, who want to use their old but still high-end earphones or high-quality loudspeaker system combined with their digital music sources. This needs a precision digitalto-analogue converter (DAC), the key component, which generally determines the kind of sound the customer’s music assembly will perform. Tento 1866OCUB v.2 PortaDAC is a portable DAC that converts digital data flow into an analogue sound signal, outputs it via Line out and amplifies it for

high-quality headphones. It can be connected via a coaxial or optical input, USB or even Bluetooth (optional: Hi-resolution aptX codec supported). Small, but with great quality, the converter is ideal for

everyone who wants to have highly detailed sound not only at home but also outdoors. With neutral settings, it reflects the studio recording perfectly without softening or hardening the sound. Tento Engineering’s philosophy is the best sound quality suitable for all kinds of music – without compromise. Components can easily be replaced to adjust the system and fine-tune the sound according to users’ personal tastes.

Tento 1866OCUB v.2 PortaDAC.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Pierre Gronau, founder of Gronau IT Cloud Computing GmbH.

Digitalising companies while protecting sensitive data Digital transformation and global connectivity are the main challenges companies and their IT departments are facing today. Gronau IT Cloud Computing GmbH in Berlin, as the name indicates, is a specialist for modern cloud computing with core competences in DevSecOps, architecture, quality assurance, managed services and data security – a valuable partner when modernising IT structures. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN  I  PHOTOS: GRONAU IT CLOUD COMPUTING GMBH

“For many years, information technology has been our passion,” says Pierre Gronau, who does not shy away from cracking even the hardest cases. Pierre Gronau, who has founded Gronau IT Cloud Computing GmbH, is a senior consultant and has many years of experience as technical project manager. Digital data processing today is key in nearly every aspect of modern business environments, which is reflected in Gronau IT’s portfolio; from analysing the existing IT structure to developing new concepts, implementing them and train76  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

ing employees accordingly. “We have an interdisciplinary, proactive and expedient approach,” says Gronau. It is the best way to optimise not only IT structures but also business processes – a key requirement to stay successful in an ever-changing business world.“It is our mission to reduce the workload and optimise processes to allow our clients to reach their business goals faster and with less stress,” says Gronau. When digitalising their processes, many companies worry about data security and

how to keep their internal processes, ideas and data safe – especially when using cloud storage and services relying on internet connections. In many companies, there are still reservations towards cloud computing because companies fear to lose control over their data. This fear is unfounded, says Pierre Gronau. The main problem often is not cloud computing in itself, but underlying insecurities in the management when those responsible realise how fast things are moving forward once they have decided on digitalising their business. Economic advantages often outweigh the risks Cloud computing offers enormous potential for agility and resilience and – if done correctly – also economic advantages. Organisations can simply work faster

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

because they do not need to organise and provide hardware before starting to work. With cloud computing, there are fewer downtimes, which not only improves internal processes but also customer services. Above all, cloud computing saves money: less capital has to be invested into infrastructure and to build capacities and of course the greater reliability in the end also saves costs. “We think there are indeed security advantages in choosing a cloud because cloud providers have a tangible economic incentive to protect their customers,” says Gronau. None the less, there are certain steps companies should take to ensure their own safety in the age of digitalisation. Identity management and permissions are key for information security when it comes to cloud computing, a field Gronau IT Cloud Computing GmbH is an expert in. “Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) can help at the beginning to win back compliance and control,” explains Pierre Gronau. “Sadly enough, these are technically very complex topics and due to this cannot be handled by IT generalists.” Next to already challenging technical aspects, there are also national and international regulations concerning data security and personal data to be considered. Data protection and security are the main guarantees necessary to protect intellectual property. “The

main factor to protect data during transport, cloud storage and processing is the encryption,” says Gronau. Organisational discipline is needed when it comes to key management.“You can only have full control over your data, when you don’t entrust your keys to a third person.” Enabling clients to battle cyber attacks Even with all the relevant security measures in place, there is never a 100 per cent security against for instance cyber attacks. This is why companies have to be enabled to react very fast in case of an attack to keep data safe and reduce damage. “Our advice: Do trust your admin and give him space for further education and training in how to tackle cyber attacks,” Gronau emphasises.

Another aspect when considering cloud computing are the costs. Indeed, those can become quiet high if companies try to build it from scratch. Gronau IT Cloud Computing GmbH can help to find solutions that are cost effective and secure at the same time, relying on already existing models, or to build made-to-measure solutions according to a company’s individual needs.“Companies should focus on security inside the cloud and advance their digital transformation from a business perspective,” explains Pierre Gronau. Only when bringing together business ideas, flexible safety measures and cost-effective solutions can a company be made fit for a digital transformation and mobile future.

Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  77

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017 Left: Dr. Guillaume Aimetti, Grigori Gajdukow, Benedikt Schilling, Svenja Uslu, Jorit Kleine-Moellhoff, Dr. Georg Wittenburg (from left to right). Photo: © Profund Innovation, FU Berlin Below: Product screenshot. Photo: © Inspirient Bottom: AI-generated slide deck and web application. Photo: © Inspirient

Looking at data with fresh eyes Data-driven inspiration sounds almost like a magical term. The artificial intelligence (AI) software, developed by the start-up Inspirient, identifies new insights in business data entirely automatically and without any preparation. This can save up to 90 per cent of your time, which is indeed a little magical. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

It often requires a great deal of effort and time for companies to garner important insights from a variety of data. Numerous specialists are hired to deal with the vast amounts of data and make sense of it. Inspirient’s founders Dr. Georg Wittenburg and Dr. Guillaume Aimetti witnessed this on-going problem during their time as business consultants and it inspired them to start their own business, which solves exactly that problem. “The basic idea behind Inspirient is the automatic search for specific characteristics, patterns or insights in any desired set of data,” explains Inspirient’s spokesperson Grigori Gajdukow. “Our artificial intelligence takes over almost all of the analysis steps in the background, which are usually done by employees.” The software is applicable to all kinds of data for various aspects of a business. Whether it 78  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

is marketing, sales, production, finance or human resources, Inspirient shows relevant relations in the data and presents them in a way that is easy to understand. This means time-consuming data wrangling is not required anymore. Gajdukow adds:“Using Inspirient requires no training or technical know-how and reduces a company’s dependence on specialists for analytics. All the company has to do is upload their data and the rest is taken care of. Within minutes the software is able to discover trends and distinctive characteristics which can be crucial for making business-critical decisions or they can even show opportunities to increase a competitive advantage.” The analysis is presented in simple, business-ready presentation slides so that the results can be discussed and easily interpreted. The software is relevant for

consultancies as well as corporations to uncover new patterns. With their outstanding product, the startup was amongst the top 50 German startups of 2016 and has already won various awards such as the BARC Start-up Award for Analytics and Data Management 2016 as well as the BNP Paribas International Hackathon in Berlin and the innovation award for IT for Business Intelligence 2016. Given that Inspirient is so very useful for numerous businesses yet it remains so easy to use, we will certainly hear from them again.

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Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017 brainwaregroup’s office in Hamburg.

Marius Dunker, COO.

brainwaregroup: simply smart. your solution. With over 25 years of extensive experience, brainwaregroup provides awardwinning all-round specialist software solutions to the IT lifecycle and contract management sectors. With a diverse client base, great technical capability and an international track record of success, brainwaregroup is ready to master any challenge.

them?’. The combination of management functions and the portrayal of technical disciplines that makes it possible to support processes and daily tasks in the IT sector,” Dunker adds.


The team at brainwaregroup work closely with their clients to fully understand newly outlined problems. As leading industry experts, they leverage an extensive global network of experience so that their clients can actually learn from each other. It is therefore not surprising that brainwaregroup has received a range of prestigious awards over the years including various SAMS Awards.

Right from the start, brainwaregroup has always promoted a holistic approach to building software solutions to meet modern IT requirements. Today, across many different sectors, clients continue to benefit from brainwaregroup’s comprehensive list of specialities and can hence easily avoid media disruptions. COO Marius Dunker explains brainwaregroup’s philosophy: “Clients want comprehensive, customisable and integrated solutions; not just partial solutions. Currently, software licence management and security are key focus areas for our clients. Particularly in licence management, clients want to manage risks transparently. Our Spider SAM Suite builds the base for this much-needed visibility in combination with our Columbus Inventory Suite – thus

enabling clients to maintain a consistent compliance position as Spider proactively outlines optimisation potential.” As Dunker points out, superficial knowledge can quickly cost a company hundreds of thousands of pounds as managing licences in the datacentre environment, for example, is almost impossible without an expert system. This is due to the progression and widespread adoption of virtualisation and partitioning technology, resulting in new complex licensing metrics. “Security is another key focus for our clients. Critical customer data on mobile phones and tablets is still not fully managed. The driving question here is ‘how can I identify security gaps in my systems?’ and, more specifically, ‘how can I close

Operating from its headquarters in Switzerland, brainwaregroup has an impressive solution portfolio, which includes key areas such as asset, contract and licence management as well as security and system management to name but a few. The complexity of these areas makes an expert like brainwaregroup simply invaluable to its clients. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  81

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Photo: © iStock, Pinkypills

Business software for the future Two of today’s biggest subjects for businesses worldwide are digitisation and the Internet of Things. Tackling vast amounts of detailed data and using it effectively, as well as digitising numerous processes and making them customer-transparent, are just some of the challenges companies must face. IT pioneer Asseco Solutions has been doing digital groundwork for over 25 years and offers tailor-made solutions, which go far beyond just delivering software. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

A true visionary in Enterprise Resource Planning, Asseco Solutions is a major international player and part of Asseco Group, which is represented in 52 countries with over 21,500 employees. Asseco Solutions is the ERP-specialist. Needless to say, they know exactly what they are doing. The major new challenges that businesses across the globe must master in today’s digital world are something the experts at Asseco Solutions understand inside out. Asseco Solution’s Member of the Board Holger Nawratil explains how 82  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

his company can help: “The term digitisation is generally applied to many fields and happens in various areas. We offer IT solutions for all arising problems. For example, there is the digitisation of processes where the goal is for everything to be recorded electronically.” Another interesting aspect is what is known as the Internet of Things. This trendy term summarises that billions of devices are connected and generate enormous amounts of data. If machines and their data are

managed and processed in a smart way, it can greatly improve a business, not only through automatic processes, but also through opening up new revenue streams. “It is not only about integrating processes, but also machines. It can be a company’s own machines or the ones they are supervising. Those machines automatically send detailed information about their current condition, for example temperature or pressure,” says Nawratil. “Based on that information, certain actions can become necessary. If, for example, the pressure is decreasing it is recommended to do predictive maintenance as it can forecast a potential problem.” This is to prevent a complete breakdown and is therefore cost-effective for the machine-owner as well as opening up a new revenue stream for the company offering predictive maintenance based on the incoming data.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Consumer Electronic & Technology Trends 2017

Data on how a specific machine is performing can also be compared to data of other machines of the same kind. If the machine produces less than the others, changing specific parameters is recommended in order to improve performance, which in return increases revenue long term. The necessary software solutions APplus and SCS use to integrate machines and hence analyse data are available through Asseco Solutions and have received prestigious awards already. Asseco Solutions also masters the challenge, which integrating old machinery frequently represents. Within only a few days, they can install additions to bring old machines into the future of online cloud systems and data analysis. Asseco Solutions understands that nowadays everything is interlinked and changes

have a knock-on effect. Therefore, they not only offer IT solutions, but also consult on overall business models. Digitisation may mean that a new business model would generate bigger profits and is therefore something to be seriously considered. A daunting task without professional help. For a manageable fee, the specially trained consultants analyse a company and not only define together with the client which software solutions will be beneficial, but also assess if the current business model can be improved or expanded on. “Many companies have difficulties reflecting if issues like digitisation and Internet of Things are relevant for them and if so how it is going to affect their current business. We coach them through providing in-depth information and an

Photo: © iStock, FangXiaNuo

individual analysis of their situation. Working hand in hand with our clients, we develop a strategy paper for their company’s digitisation and, if requested, we support them throughout their restructuring process,” Nawratil explains further. This holistic concept is very attractive for businesses across all sectors and Asseco Solutions has received the ‘ERP-Systemof-the-Year-Award for Innovation 2016’ by the ‘Centre for Enterprise Research’ for this particular approach. With the right partner, implementing ERP solutions does not have to be an insuperable task. Asseco Solutions gives businesses the right tools to succeed in a fast-paced world of digitised processes and interconnected devices. Photo: © iStock, JIRAROJ PRADITCHAROENKUL

Holger Nawratil, Asseco Solution’s Member of the Board. Photo: © Asseco Solutions, Claus Uhlendorf

Photo: © iStock, Pinkypills

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The creative minds behind the buildings Germany is filled with spectacular buildings, innovative structures and sustainable housing. For this issue, we have handpicked some of Germany’s top architects so you can find out about the motives and inspirations behind their enchanting buildings. PHOTOS: PIXABAY

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Sustainable aesthetics and gradual transformation The genius loci as the gentle transformer: for Nöfer architects, the goal is to find new forms for eternal architectural values. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

Over the past 100 years, architecture has often faced the problem of following the latest hype, producing cities filled to the brim with buildings that are outdated and incapable of meeting nowadays needs. Nöfer architects strive to go against that tide and produce architecture that picks up on century-old urban building traditions, implemented in combination with intelligent modern building standards. 86  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

This merger guarantees little aesthetic and structural abrasion and allows for a slow transformation and restoration of the urban cityscape. Through intensive analysis of the architectural detail, Nöfer architects have created their own repertory which in turn leads to recognisable characteristics in their work, described by Tobias Nöfer as detailed architecture in tune with anthropomorphic proportions.

Main image, right and bottom middle: Kurfürstendamm 170, Berlin. Photo: Wildgrube, © Nöfer Architekten Bottom left: Spree One, completion 2018. Visualisation: Nöfer Architekten Bottom right: Upside Berlin high-rises, completion 2019. Visualisation: Xoio, © Nöfer Architekten

With the ‘Palais Holler’, Nöfer architects have recently finished a representative building situated at Berlin’s traditional Ku’damm boulevard. The completely new building replaces a structure from the ‘60s, which had suffered irreparable water damage. The office and commercial building is oriented on the historic building style of the West Berlin boulevard, also featuring the typical combination of gabled, mansard and flat roof. The new structure effortlessly blends in with the urban street front and features two lofts, five floors, a two-level underground car park as well as a small garden. The office units of var-

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ious sizes are grouped around the central courtyard, another typical component of traditional urban Berlin architecture. As the architect says: “Our clients share the view that a commitment to quality and durability wins in the end. Instead of being reinvented on a daily basis, architecture forms the symbiosis of the ever-valid architectural laws with our contemporary feeling for form.” The architect grew up in a small town in Westphalia, marked by wartime destruction and badly executed reconstruction. Early on, he grasped the significance of an aesthetic and structural sustainability, lasting more than just one generation. “Other than our clothing, which is easily exchangeable, façades are made to last and have to do their job for many years to come. That fact has marked my work as a freelance architect since 1998 – and today also forms part of our office philosophy. We want to create sustainable and beautiful architecture.”

the right proportions, which can only be achieved if the builder acknowledges the added value coming with a sustainable architecture that responds to its immediate surroundings. This form of commitment must last all the way until handover day and beyond. The architect in turn needs to be prepared to fulfill the required standards and functional demands through hard work. Regarding cost and complexity, the total span of this dual commitment often poses a mutual challenge for both investor and architect. The reward lies within the result. The ancient virtues of beauty, functionality and stability, even if formulated thousands of years ago, still stand today.“For us,”says the architect, “one is unthinkable without the other.” Architecture will always be measured by these everlasting parameters. However, the postmodern mix of styles and the “anything is (or should be) possi-

ble” attitude prevails and, as the architect states, may often lead to confusion about architectural standards: “If architecture wants to preserve its autonomy and be understood by everyone, not only its creator, it needs to return to a common language – common because it is nurtured by the same source, the architectural fundus.” Applying their philosophy to office buildings has worked out well for Nöfer architects lately. They will continue to tackle building tasks that interconnect the pillars of sustainability, functionality and beauty, translating them into a new form language. To see ‘what is’ and to then add to it conscientiously sums up the Nöfer philosophy, leading to a gradual transformation of the urban cityscape. architektonische-details

In his book Architektonische Details (see link below the article), Tobias Nöfer describes, how the architectural detail is the key to good architecture. In his view, the stance of the architect is revealed by the detail. Ideally, a detail stands for the overall design idea behind the structure. But it should also show perfect craftsmanship, do justice to the material and be both practicable and precise in its feasibility. “The beautiful detail,”says the architect,“is something we need to be willing to afford if we claim to create lasting architecture.” Apart from the architectural detail, the genius loci also plays a major part in what Tobias Nöfer refers to as the “spiritual input of the building process”. Applying both aspects results in a sensitivity for

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Exterior house rendering of model home ‘Kronshagen’.

Intelligent homes for the future Danhaus has stood for Nordic architecture, innovative energy-saving concepts and special savoir-vivre for almost 40 years. Today, each individually planned Danhaus is equipped with special polar insulation which, in combination with intelligent home technology, caters for extremely low energy consumption and best sound insulation due to solid exterior brick cladding.

that, depending on the heat pump and the house model, a Danhaus, in terms of figures, only uses between 0.8 and 1.5 litres of heating oil per square metre and per year. However, the fossil fuel oil isn’t even used.


Experiencing diversity

Scandinavian savoir-vivre and design has become increasingly popular and is associated with feelings of comfort and warmth. This especially holds true for the prefab house sector. Thus, the prefabricated house manufacturer Danhaus decided to combine Nordic architecture with cosiness and modern energy-saving technology. It all started on a vacation to Denmark, where the Danhaus founders got the inspiration for enriching the German building landscape with Scandinavian ambiance. Enchanted by Nordic country home style 88  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

and the many positive qualities of natural wood, they designed a timber-framed house concept that has been enthusiastically used by thousands of people. “Through further developing our innovative insulation technology, Danhaus is the only German company that builds at the polar circle today,” says Bastian Erben, managing director of Danhaus. This polar insulation, in combination with highperformance heat pump heating systems, turns the Danhaus into an extremely energy-efficient ‘1Liter-Haus!’. This means

Interested families can experience the authentic Danhaus feeling in one of the company’s 14 stylish model homes all over Germany, from Cologne and Berlin to Munich in Bavaria, etc. For example, the new Danhaus model ‘Kronshagen’ can be visited in the model home exhibition ‘FertighausWelt’ in Günzburg near Ulm. It keeps in line with current trends and comprises a high knee wall, a gallery and a cathedral ceiling in the attic. The wellstructured floor plan guarantees spacious living on both levels. From the open staircase to the living area, the parents’ bedroom with dressing room and own bath with

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sauna: this Danhaus has exceptionally beautiful details. Furthermore, it is also equipped with the 1Liter-Haus! technology and thus, worries about increasing energy prices are not an issue for its owner.

est level. Therefore, we start off our 40th anniversary of business operations with a fantastic project and look forward to presenting an entirely new line in Germany.”

Another prime example of a home from Danhaus is its ‘Engelsby’ model. This 1Liter-Haus! also comprises the 44centimetre-thick ‘polar wall’ that enables low energy consumption and exceptional underfloor heating that is fed by an outdoor air heat pump. And, of course, just like the other models, it can also be individualised with different additions or furnishings, such as a sauna or a conservatory.

Danhaus not only uses authorised, biological and ecologically flawless building materials. As a reliable, supporting member of the ‘Bundesverband Deutscher Fertigbau e.V.’ (BDF) and the ‘Bundesgütegemeinschaft Deutscher Fertigbau’, Danhaus is reviewed by the ‘Qualitätsgemeinschaft Deutscher Fertigbau’ through continuous quality control in the factory and at the building sites. Furthermore, all building components meet European quality standards and are equipped with the CE label.

Danhaus’ 15th model home will also soon be revealed. Boris Erben, marketing director at Danhaus, smiles:“Our anniversary house will be built in Bad Vilbel near Frankfurt in 2017/2018 and will open just in time for our 40th anniversary in 2018. There, we will showcase Scandinavian design of the high-

‘Kronshagen’ ground floor plan.

Production plant in Esbjerg, Denmark.

Safety first

Today, Danhaus employs around 165 employees in Germany and Denmark. In Flensburg, Germany, the team handles everything from the design and planning drawings to the building projects’ com-

‘Kronshagen‘ groundplan of first floor.

mercial processing, while the prefabricated houses get manufactured at the production plant in Denmark. It is the most modern and most efficient production plant of its kind in northern Europe. All in all, Danhaus is simply the perfect combination of Danish wood processing expertise and German engineering. Happy clients speak for themselves For 40 years, Danhaus has produced individually planned houses with distinctive Scandinavian flair in Germany, Scandinavia and Russia. Not only the company’s long-term experience speaks for the successful company, but also their clients’ high satisfaction levels. Thus, Danhaus collects their respective experiences, personal feedback, online diaries, as well as numerous construction reports and client blogs on the company website so that you can get inspired.

Photo of model home ‘Kronshagen’ in Günzburg.

Boris Erben, marketing director at Danhaus.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE: While the 1Liter-Haus! is standard, KfW-55, -40 and -40 Plus efficiency houses can also be chosen - depending on technical equipment and client wishes. If you want to gain more clean energy than you need, then Danhaus also caters for this wish through implementing highly efficient heating, ventilation and solar power technology. Like this, an already impressive 1Liter-Haus! can become an energy-plus house.

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ETH Zurich School. Photo: © ETH Zurich


Timeless architecture made in Switzerland Switzerland’s architectural heritage is as diverse as it is impressive. From the stone houses in Ticino, to the half-timbered houses in Switzerland’s eastern parts and the UNESCO world heritage Old City of Bern, there is much to cherish. Contemporary architects pick up on the Swiss architectural traditions and offer a unique diversity that has garnered them worldwide followings. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS  I  PHOTOS: PIXABAY

UNESCO world heritage Old City of Bern.

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Messe Basel by Herzog & de Meuron.

In the past, it was Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier. Today, it is the duo Herzog & de Meuron. On a regular basis, Swiss architectural artists become international stars. Most often, they arrive at that status because of innovative thinking and devotion. Le Corbusier is famously known for his attempts to combine human existence and the industrial society, making his work both exhilarating and controversial. Herzog & de Meuron, both of whom graduated from the ETH Zurich University, are known for their minimalist designs, which have become an international sensation. The Tate Modern in London, the ’Bird’s Nest’ in Beijing, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and many more sites stand as a testament to their abilities. At home in

Switzerland, the two have created the St. Jakob Park in Basel and the Schaulager, which combines a public museum and an art store.

Old Ticino stone houses.

The examples above show that the country’s architectural reach goes far beyond geographical borders. Switzerland may be a small country but, due to a long history in the field, new creative voices constantly arise and widen the reach. Look no further than the following pages to find out about some of these voices and get an insight into their work and process.

Find out what Switzerland’s architects have to offer in this special theme on Swiss architecture.

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Retirement and nursing home Seegarten, Hünibach; competition first prize.

Off the beaten path Swiss architect Kathrin Simmen tells us how work experiences in China and Spain, as well as personal experiences with her family, have all inspired her to become a very diversified, young and aspiring Zurich-based architect. TEXT: SONJA IRANI  I  PHOTOS: KATHRINSIMMEN ARCHITEKTEN

In the summer of 2012, Kathrin Simmen founded her own architecture office kathrinsimmen Architekten in Zurich and simultaneously started as teaching assistant at the ETH Zürich for the visiting chair of Mathys & Stücheli Architekten. Prior to that, she gained a great deal of practical experiences – both in her home country of Switzerland and abroad. Building a business “In 2005, I spent six months in Nanjing, China during my postgrad studies and was 92  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

looking forward to learning and experiencing as much as I could about Chinese architecture,”remembers Simmen.“But this was 12 years ago and, at that time, there was still a lot of scepticism – especially towards western foreigners. So getting an insight into the Chinese architectural business wasn’t so easy.” Simmen also spent a year in Madrid, Spain from 2010 to 2011, just after the economic crash. Naturally, there wasn’t much construction going on. “However, during this time, I was assigned with the task to plan an office building back

home in Switzerland,”remembers Simmen. “By working on this all by myself while still in Spain, I was able to really refine my skills of working independently. This experience strengthened my desire to start my own business when I returned home.” Nursing homes with a difference “Looking at my portfolio, it seems like I have a special preference for retirement homes,” she says. “I think there are several factors that contributed to this, among them the market situation at the time, lucky coincidences and a very personal experience. My grandmother spent the last few years of her lifetime in a nursing home. But she often felt lost and insecure. I started to realise that the nursing home didn’t really cater for her needs at the time.”

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Thus, the aspiring architect studied the building, which seemed fresh and modern at first glance, in meticulous detail. “She had a balcony with a beautiful green view,” remembers Simmen. “It was very quiet there. But if you cannot move around that much anymore, tranquillity is really the last thing you need. Instead, you want to actively take part in life while you still can.” The other obstacle that Simmen noticed were the small and narrow hallways with many of them leading into dead ends. “I got the chance to put all my ideas into practice when I won the bid for the extension of the retirement and nursing home Seegarten in Hünibach,”says Simmen and adds that another nursing home project followed since then. They now feature rooms that actually cater for the needs of the residents, such as a special department for residents with dementia or so-called activation rooms for group therapies. Instead of balconies, Simmen opted for safer, but equally beautiful, French windows. Residential area for the elderly Spitzacker, Rapperswil-Jona; competition 2015.

Instead of narrow alleyways, she installed so-called circulation areas with several larger and smaller ‘bays’ for residents to meet and talk. Making the most of limited space “Modern living concepts are always connected to contemporary social themes and economic issues. The increase of density in our cites and the careful use of land are currently intensively discussed topics among architects, politicians and the press,” says Simmen, who has successfully converted a very space-limited basement loft in the past. At the time of our interview, she was in the middle of moving to a newly bought Zurich apartment with her husband and two young sons.“Our new apartment only has 108 square metres – 27 square metres per person compared to the Swiss average of 44 square metres per person – so I have to get quite creative in order to make the most of the limited space.”But as an architect that specialises in space optimisation,

she aspires to be a kind of “role model” for her clients and employees. Looking ahead “In the future, I would like to further diversify my portfolio and take on more projects for private and residential housing construction,” reveals Simmen. “Currently, there is a lot of building activity in this sector going on in Switzerland.” As a mother of two small children she tries to balance family life and career. “My sons are two years and 11 months,” she says. “Rather than rushing to work in the mornings, I like to spend some quality time with them. I take them to day care around noon or my family looks after them. Then I spend the day at my office. For us, this model works really well.” Simmen would like to encourage other women, even those with small children, that it is possible to have a successful career as an architect.

Residential area for the elderly Spitzacker, Rapperswil-Jona; competition 2015.

Housing development Waidmatt, Zurich; competition 2016.

Room at retirement and nursing home Seegarten, Hünibach; competition first prize.

Kathrin Simmen.

Conversion of Loft 17, Frauenfeld, completion 2014.

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Datacube: façade with trapezoidal sheets (transparent and closed).

Datacube: stainless steel sheet façade, detail.

Datacube: southwest view with entrance area.

Artistic input and state-of-the-art technology The ffbk approach of ‘multi-sided architecture’ does not foster a certain style prevalent throughout their work. Instead, the practice forms teams to search for a creative solution for each individual project. The result is a design that represents the direct reaction to its locality and the complexity of the task as such. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI  I  PHOTOS: JOHANNES MARBURG PHOTOGRAPHY

For ffbk, their clients’ ideas are the guideline for which they create the best possible architectural solution. Teams are specifically put together to match each individual project. This means that the resulting buildings remain unique in their appearance and style while unanimously promoting a close connection to the arts. An ‘open’ design approach like this allows for constant innovation and development. Turning 60 this year, the practice stands on a long tradition. It was founded in 94  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

1957 by architects Walter Förderer, Rolf Otto and Hans Zwimpfer in Basel. The trio worked together for seven years, until Hans Zwimpfer took over sole leadership in 1964, following a co-operational dialogue with the arts and their integration into everyday life has always been an important aspect of the work at ffbk. The Peter Merian house in Basel, for example, features co-work by many renowned artists, among them Donald Judd, who accompanied the design process for both form and façade. The neighbouring Jacob

Burkhardt house was created with Viennese artist Brigitte Kowanz. By end of 2006, the late Hans Zwimpfer (who passed away this year in January at the age of 86) sold his entire company shares to his longtime partners. It is coowned and run by a leading team of architects consisting of Magnus Furrer, Alexander Furter, Philippe Burri (CFO) and Jan Krarup (CEO). Recently, the management team was joined by Jan Pircher. Today, the Basel-based practice, with a branch office in Zurich, counts around 50 employees. ffbk clients can expect a creative and sophisticated design with functional and technical first-class solutions. The comprehensive service offer ranges from architecture and interior design to urban

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planning and development strategy, through to project development and building management. High-quality packages widely exceeding any ‘standard service’ provide ffbk’s clients with a feeling of safety and trust. ‘Multi-sided architecture’ for ffbk also means adjusting their offering according to task, respectively acting in various roles ranging from traditional architectural services to general contractor. Projects mostly stem from competitions, presentations and proposals that gain the client’s interest and convince them to work with this high-profile practice. “Our main asset is our analytical approach,”says architect Jan Krarup, “We strive to understand our clients and their ideas and needs

before starting on the first draft. Also, we consider ourselves lucky to have built an excellent reputation. In many cases, satisfied clients come back to us with new projects.” Project development will be the strong pillar to build on for many years at ffbk. Uniting a large number of competencies under one roof means that ffbk enjoy the freedom to develop ideas of their own, lately shown with their new office building ‘Oslo Nord’, situated in the industrial Basel ‘Dreispitz’ area which is just now at the beginning of its transformation. The area benefits from the presence of the Academy of Art and Design Basel, the House of Electronic Arts as well as a number of radio studios, sound and photo studios. An event hall and many

small creative workshops also mark this unique area. The new office location, created on the basis of the ffbk test planning, was set as a core and shell construction on an iron-shaped plot. Featuring high ceilings in addition to an open layout, it offers generous variations of office and commercial spaces for the creative sector. 12 attractive penthouse apartments round up the design. To achieve large-scale, connected workspaces, the building outline follows the plot shape, giving the structure a landmark appearance within the district. The ‘building for alternative living and working spaces’ was designed with the help of three-dimensional planning and serves as a model for innovative project development. This ‘prototype’ helps ffbk to gain experience they will use to optimise future

Forum Zofingen: façade with view of ventilation elements.

Forum Zofingen: southwest view, first stage.

Forum Zofingen: aluminium façade elements, detail.

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Oensingen multipurpose sports hall: entry area.

Oensingen multipurpose sports hall: sports fields and stands.

Oensingen multipurpose sports hall: façade with view of sports field.

and perspectives. complex planning and building processes with BIM (Building Information Modelling) for their clients. Digital planning is a major theme in 2017 and will be included in the construction process even more in 2018. Other recent major endeavours realised by ffbk architects include the façade of the visually impressive Tesla data centre by the Birs river, which reflects the hues of its immediate surroundings with brightly gleaming, high-reflective effects. Here, clients from the IT sector can rent spaces on three floors with ideal, safe conditions for their servers. With regard to possible high water levels of the nearby river, the building features no basement. Realised through a massive steel and concrete structure, the external walls 96  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

are made of sandwich elements and feature a ventilated chrome-nickel steel façade. The building was recently awarded with the ‘Marketing und Architektur’ gold medal.

Both the Tesla data centre and the Oensingen multipurpose hall projects won ffbk the 2017 best architects award.

The Oensingen multipurpose sports hall, which received the ‘Auszeichnung Guter Bauten Kanton Solothurn’, is oriented on the existing access axis of the school complex. The partially entrenched building volume features a ground-level entrance which, on entering the building, offers a wide view of the pitch. The exposed concrete building is marked by both the reduced choice of material and the clear, streamlined layout. The rhythm of open and closed spaces within the structure and façade grants a range of interesting views

Just like the Oslo Nord project, the Zofingen forum is a perfect ffbk example of project development on the interface between city borough and industrial area. It features two new office buildings with café, conference centre and car park, at a central location. Support-free office plans allow for a variety of expansion options for the interior spaces. The façade, made of extruded aluminum profiles, is structuring the entire shell of the building while creating manifold impressions of colour hues and atmosphere according to sun angle

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Oslo Nord: northern tip.

and light conditions. The two new office buildings as well as the car park adapt to the surrounding park area and form a harmonious complex with the existing conference building. A slightly elevated courtyard plateau connects the ensemble.

Oslo Nord: ffbk architects library.

ffbk architects strive to balance technical functionality, which sometimes tends to throttle a design process, with creative values and aesthetics so that neither is suffering. Because of that, the majority of their projects are marked by high-level,

state-of-the-art technology. The creative edge comes in by making a point of integrating renowned artists in their work on many occasions.

Oslo Nord: ffbk architects entry and administration area.

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Zeeheldentuin community gardens, The Hague 2014. Photo: © DGJ Landscapes and KNAB Brisgi competition design for Wohnbaustiftung Baden 2016. Photo: © Müller Sigrist Architekten, Meier Leder Architekten and DGJ Landscapes

DGJ Landscapes: global influence locally attached “Architecture is not a closed system – it is developed specifically for each task with regard to its respective context.” DGJ Landscapes derive from a deeply rooted architectural influence with an international background. At the same time, they strive to involve local communities in their projects to a high extent. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

Founded in 1999 as Drexler, Guinand and Jauslin Architects in Frankfurt, Zurich and Rotterdam, DGJ forms an enterprise ‘born global’. With a great deal of experience won with both public and private projects realised in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and China, the office has since gained much attention, winning multiple first prizes in competitions and many awards for their realisations. The Frankfurt-based branch today acts primarily in the field of sustainable design and energy-efficient buildings (DGJ Architektur GmbH), while the Zurich and The Hague offices have put a strong focus on landscape architecture over the past five years. From architectural composition of a landscape through to the fabrication of its details, DGJ strive to apply sustainable thinking as well as conscientious craftsmanship: “Good architecture and landscape design affords a multilayered, culturally anchored 98  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

perspective as well as a strategic, flexible design methodology.” Landscape design becomes a concept of creating a spatial connection between human being and environment. To achieve that, DGJ Landscapes like to include future users upfront – for example with their Zeeheldentuin project (realised with their own neighbours) near The Hague. Through the initiative of the residents, a former school ground was transformed into a thriving community garden, with the realisation passing “through many hands at many kitchen tables”. In 2006, a fire had destroyed the Maria school of the Zeehelden borough, a lively part of The Hague between the Peace Palace and the city centre. The community garden design, created with the input of the community between 2012 and 2015, gently follows the residents’ interests by putting them into a form that remains playfully flexible. Raised garden beds for example

are designed as labyrinths, in which children can roam freely without any danger of trampling down the seedlings. Sustainable solutions were integrated into the organic gardening concepts, such as a water course with hand pump, compost piles and many inventive applications made of recycled materials. Parents and children took part in the construction of the gardens on especially organised creative days. The Brisgi area design for a development in Baden, 20 kilometres downstream from Zurich, also features the theme of community-based landscaping. Together with the architects Müller Sigrist and Meier Leder, DGJ Landscapes won the 2016 competition for the design of a composition with three clusters of communal housing, which create open sights while connecting on three levels towards the river Limmat. The project will feature more than 150 apartments for varied target groups, with differentiated communal and public open spaces in a natural environment overlooked by a great number of balconies. The project is set to be finished by the beginning of the next decade.

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Guesthouse Parques Rietberg, Zurich 2016. Photo: © Ariel Huber

Guesthouse Parques Rietberg, Zurich 2016. Photo: © Caspar Wellmann

Guesthouse Parques Rietberg:

a new travelling experience in Zurich Enge Lately, DGJ Landscapes have turned to combining travel with housing. With the aim of connecting people with the locality they are visiting, a semi-private hospitality concept was born. First realised through a successful restructuring project for a vacant Rotterdam building, the concept has now moved to Zurich where, in collaboration with architect Caspar Wellmann, the Zurich Guesthouse Parques Rietberg project was launched last Christmas. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

Eight rooms have recently been equipped with hip Dutch vintage furniture items – surrounded by several parks on the Rietberg and in walking distance to the centre of Zurich. As to not permanently remove the house from the tense Zurich housing market, the concept is designed in a way that it remains available to be rented on a long-term basis as a normal apartment – and as such it feels homely to guests. The mix of local residents and guests is a concept that has slowly found its way into Swiss and European cities and has proved to be more rewarding for both sides than hotels in many cases. Architect Daniel Jauslin reveals that it was his own extensive travelling that gave him the idea. Unable to set roots in a hotel, he mused on a way of making frequent travellers feel more at home at their destination, and thus the

Parques concept in the form of an easily accessible, pop-up guesthouse project was born. The Rotterdam premises at the expansive parks of Kralingen and Rozenburg by now have been sold to a large family and the entire stylish interior was transferred to the lately restored Zurich dwelling. Here, Mascha Leummens, who already successfully managed the Rotterdam guesthouse, welcomes the curious visitor. Apart from the attraction of the stylish yet cosy interior, the incredibly green surroundings feature actual sheep, grazing at the orchard near the house. Could anything make one feel more at home in the city?

Not only did the Parques Rotterdam interior make its way to Zurich; DGJ Landscapes will also move their headquarters back from The Hague to the Zurich office later this year. Those are the merits of an architectural office ‘born global’, and acting local: you can always move the focus to where it is most needed. Bottom: Parques Guesthouse Alps Pigniu 2004. Photos: © Ralph Feiner Photography

For those weary of urban life, the Parques project also includes a bookable chalet in the Swiss mountains. The Spiral House in Pigniu was one of the first houses built by DGJ back in 2004. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  99

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The Basel Trade Fair Tower. Photo: © Ruedi Walti, Basel Terrace houses, Lucerne. Photo: © Ruedi Walti

Outstanding architecture since 1977 No matter whether they are working on small refurbishments or a large-scale project, the architects from the Swiss firm Marques Architekten AG are always dedicated to their work. Founder Daniele Marques established his firm in 1977. Since then, he and his team have designed a diverse range of award-winning buildings, including schools, the Basel Trade Fair Tower, and a football stadium in Lucerne. TEXT: NADINE CARSTENS  |  PHOTOS: MARQUES ARCHITEKTEN AG

“We try to put as much emphasis on small projects as on prominent ones – what is most important to us is the quality of architecture and that our clients are happy with the results,” Daniele Marques explains. Right after finishing his studies, he launched his own architect’s office in Lucerne and quickly made a name for himself. Starting with designing houses in Ivory Coast in the early 1980s for a church project, he later turned his office into a joint-stock company in 1993, while establishing a growing expert team. Most of Marques’ approximately 20 employees have been working with him for more than ten years: “They are all experts who 100  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

are able to assign diverse tasks, ensuring that any job is completed to the highest standards.” In 40 years, Marques and his team designed numerous public buildings, single family houses, market halls, or stadiums. Many of these projects have won a number of architecture awards due to their innovative designs, their sustainability, and their quality. ‘Villa Thérèse’ in Fribourg, for example, is a particularly beautiful project which was realised in 2003 and achieved high recognition. An old boarding school building was was expanded by 14 classrooms for a primary school, four kinder-

garten class rooms, as well as one double gymnasium. Grouped around the existing school building, these new elements interact with their surroundings due to their inner construction. While their outward appearance is rough, the interior of the three buildings stands out with fine surfaces and a special colour scheme that was developed in cooperation with an artist: While the interior is designed in many different colours with class rooms in individual shades, the school building’s façade is dark. “As one of the first projects of this kind, it was quite daring to choose this colour design back then, but the pupils love it,” Marques states. A diverse range of projects He himself lives in a complex consisting of three terraced houses in Lucerne that were designed by his firm as well. Perfectly nestling to the surrounding landscape is what makes these buildings so special and is the reason this project also received various awards. Situated on a hillside, the

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three houses are arranged in a stepped order. Therefore, every resident can enjoy both their privacy and a free view of Lake Lucerne and the beautiful mountain landscape. “Living means to entrust oneself to a specific location. Our house is a cave, nestled in the ground and open to the landscape’s vastness,” says Marques. One of the Swiss firm’s most spectacular projects was probably to design the Basel Trade Fair Tower, which was finished in 2003. With 31 storeys and a height of 105 metres, it used to be the highest building in Switzerland. “The aim was to compensate for the logistic, functional and urban development deficits by establishing a new landmark that provides a fresh identity,” says Marques. Currently, Marques Architekten AG is working on numerous interesting projects. One is to modernise the Vaillant Arena in Davos, an arena that is primarily used for ice hockey. “Regarding urban

planning, the modernised building is supposed to blend in with the public buildings at Kurpark,” Marques explains. “The arena’s architecture and construction will be complemented with wood.” Moreover, the architects are designing a housing complex within the area of the Kapuzinerkloster Wesemlin in Lucerne. “We want to create a living space close to the monastery for people who have an affinity with spiritualism,” Marques states. Another current project is the Panoramaresidenz in Vitznau, which is supposed to engage with the adjoining historic Parkhotel. The new constructions will include a concert hall, restaurants, but also detached houses. New management Within 40 years, Marques has not only shared his knowledge with his team, but also with many architecture students since he has taught at different universities, for example the KIT Karlsruhe, ETH Zürich, universities in Weimar and Cadiz, as well as the TU Graz. “I have always

gained a lot from exchanging ideas with young students,” says Marques. Additionally, he participated in numerous architecture juries. The well-known architecture critic Hubertus Adam also acknowledged Marques’ work and wrote that he belongs to the generation of interventionists: “His work distances itself from the radicalised doctrines of an ‘international style’. Marques masterfully juggles different typologies, plays with the heterogeneity of the material and with deliberate colouring. His constructions unite sensuousness and the highest precision.” At the beginning of 2017, Marques yielded the management of his architect’s office to shareholder Rainer Schlumpf and changed the name of his firm from ‘Marques AG’ to ‘Marques Architekten AG’. With this restructuring, he intends to continue his business while working more closely with younger colleagues.

Sportarena (football stadium) Allmend, Luzern. Photo: © Ruedi Walti, Basel

Lebensraum Klostergarten“: A housing complex within the area of the Kapuzinerkloster Wesemlin in Lucerne. Visualisation: Marques Architekten AG

The interior of ’Villa Thérèse‘, Fribourg. Photo: © Ignacio Martinez, Lustenau

Daniele Marques. Photo: © Barbara Hennig Marques, Luzern

Christmas lights in Bahnhofstraße, Zürich. Photo: © Roger Frei, Zürich.

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The haute couture of Swiss architecture Luca Selva Architects stands for exactness, outstanding design and precision. One of the top firms for architecture in Switzerland and beyond, the team behind Luca Selva approaches the craft holistically. They follow an individually developed leitmotif for each of their numerous projects and welcome any opportunity to grow with new architectural challenges. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE  I  PHOTOS: LUCA SELVA ARCHITECTS

Looking through the extensive portfolio of Luca Selva Architects, it is most striking how diverse the projects are. United by a lingering subtle elegance, yet often completely different in appearance, Luca Selva Architects offers a wide range of services starting from the preliminary design concept to the final touches of the building. Nothing is left to chance when it comes to the areas of construction, materialisation, and realisation. The firm’s portfolio 102  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

includes a rich variety covering residential buildings, health care facilities, sports facilities and educational buildings. Luca Selva Architects are also in the front row for competitions and urban planning studies amongst many more sectors. Since Luca Selva founded his Basel-based firm, it has developed certain specialities such as housing, urban studies as well as public buildings, reuse and renovations.

Today, Selva runs the company together with Roger Braccini and David Gschwind as executive partners. Selva’s architectural journey has been a vibrant one right from the start. He studied at the ETH Lausanne with Franz Füeg and with Dolf Schnebli at the ETH Zurich and he also did a placement during the 1980s at the prestigious, albeit still small at the time, architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron. All those early experiences can be seen as an integral part to Selva’s own style, which successfully merges various inspirations. Selva himself explains: “We are interested in exactness. In our projects, we seek the transformation of answers to precisely posed questions.” Straight out of university, Selva founded his own firm. A major reason behind this

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was winning the competition to design the Kaltenbrunnen School in partnership with Jean-Pierre Wymann in Basel. This breakthrough was already characteristically different to the more common start in the industry of designing a singlefamily house. “The first detached house happened five years later in 2001,” Selva recounts. The residential Bäumlihof Duplex, set in a historic former vegetable garden in Riehen, is testimony of how architecture can speak the language of its surrounding. The building’s ground level is clad in vertical timber slats, while the upper level is clad in copper plates. The copper planter boxes in between the two

levels allow vegetation to grow in the upper part of the building like a treetop. It should come as no surprise that this project has been an early milestone for Luca Selva Architects and opened doors for many more residential housing projects. For example, the award-winning multigenerational house in Binningen with its spectacular views over the city of Basel, which was finished in 2013, shows how detached houses can be done differently with a special spatial concept. Through varying dimensions featuring different views and ceiling heights in each room, the house is as individual as it is coherent

in its structure. The appearance and concept of the house takes the different residential units into account creatively. Developing an architectural language and hence leitmotif for each project requires a set of questions to be asked and answered in depth after substantial consideration of each contributing aspect. Selva gives an interesting insight to the challenges of the thought process behind single housing: “Finding and developing exactness is a constant challenge when it comes to single housing. But how can it be grasped? How does a project become exact? First of all, the commensurate questions have

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to be raised. Who is the client? What are their programme, dreams and intolerances? How open-minded is he or she to the development process and how does his or her culture of decision-making react to the dynamic?” He adds: “Furthermore, what does the site mean for the intervention? What is the context? What regulations exist? And what exactly, and here things get interesting, is the insight to be drawn from raising these questions that can become the theme of the project? The aim of this search is not to develop a project as sum of the findings, but rather to allow the condensation, in the sense of Heinrich von Kleist, of a multitude of architectonical thoughts in the form of sketches and models so that they become a leitmotif.” Listening to Selva talk with such passion and philosophical depth about his craft, it is no surprise that the firm published a monography called Eight houses and a pavilion. It features a detailed documentation of plans, photos and descriptions of the individual houses with textual contri104  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

butions by Luca Selva, Christoph Wieser, Martin Rauch and Helmuth Pauli. It is this unquenchable thirst for answers that could be seen as the motivational engine, the heart, of Luca Selva Architects. They will not settle for anything less but precision, on all levels without exception. From the leitmotif to the choice of materials, the construction process and finishing, it is evident that Selva and his team form a strong creative bond with their projects and take great pride in thriving for and achieving excellence. Luca Selva understands that his work can only be done well if there is an ongoing open dialogue between this team and the client. Working hand in hand with their clients and truly understanding their vision means the architects can meet all individual requirements. It allows them to design architecture that not only satisfies the client, but also goes beyond the client’s initial imagination and hence elevates it further. “What all houses have in common is the design process in which clients play an

important role and are actively involved in the development. We have, in the sense of a couturier, taken their measurements, have asked them precise questions and integrated the answers into the development process of the project. The result is highly individualised custom-made, not prêt-à-porter. All of the houses bear this condensation of thoughts that leads to the exactness, which interests us so much in our engagement with architecture,”says Selva. There are various projects that stand out at Luca Selva Architects. Certainly, one of them is the internationally acknowledged Youngster Campus FC Basel for the U15 to U21 junior teams, located within walking distance of St. Jakob-Park, the stadium for the professional team. The white concrete building fits perfectly in its green surrounding and with its compactness it represents a calm power, a counterpart to the hill behind it. The field of larger residential projects expanded drastically for Luca Selva and his team with the Densa Park Residential Complex in Basel in 2011 and the

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Linth-Escher Cooperative Apartments in Zurich-Oerlikon in 2014. The latter one posed the challenge of being right by a busy highway, which was one of the reasons why the building was designed with a staggered and segmented structure. But as with any challenge, Selva’s team never lets a project solely be defined by it and finds ways to embrace an obstacle creatively. Currently, Luca Selva Architects are developing a residential area in a historic landmark industrial district in Cologne as well as working on the Erlenmatt Primary School, which will be completed this year. Luca Selva Architects never tire to reinvent themselves and most importantly their craft. That goes for all aspects from their interaction with a new space, the architectural elements and the typological questions to the urban planning requirements and choice of material. It is that curiosity and hunger for knowledge that sets Luca Selva Architects miles apart from any of their competition.

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A vessel for a new experience The interdisciplinary team behind Swiss interior design firm raumprodukt creates captivating spatial narratives for a wide range of clients, from companies to trade fairs and museums. TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE

Founded in 1997, raumprodukt sees the potential in each space and borrows techniques from product, lighting and interaction design, theatre, film, performance and multimedia. The results are unique spaces, which tell a story and follow a holistic concept down to the smallest detail. “It is our goal to bring a space to life and create an experience spatially, visually and in terms of content. Our designs aim to captivate the visitors and encourage them to explore the presented subjects in depth,” co-founder and owner Antonia Banz explains. The team behind raumprodukt is as diverse as its approach. Interior designers work hand in hand with product and visual designers and external planners for lighting concepts. raumprodukt supervises interior design projects and products 106  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

in detail, down to the smallest screw. Their on-site workshop allows for creating prototypes and small-series production. Regardless if the client is a corporation or a history museum, raumprodukt develops an individual design language for each project. “We look at architecture from the perspective of the user,” says Banz. “This means that the design has to follow a museum’s theme or a business philosophy as well as being aligned to the existing architecture.” A stunning example is the Museum Rapperswil. The city palace built in 1492 with a new part attached to it, demanded an interior design, which created a bridge between historic and modern, and raumprodukt successfully managed to enhance the museum’s special character.

Left: Eyecatcher, Nussbaum factory. Photo: © Alexander Jaquemet Right: Anna Göldi Museum. Photo: © Alex Zimmermann

“A good example of successfully representing a company through our work is the information and training centre of the Nussbaum factory,” Banz adds. “The space allows customers to come into contact with the new product range and feel comfortable to start a conversation in an open environment.” Most recently, raumprodukt designed a museum space in a listed industrial building about the last executed witch in Switzerland, Anna Göldi. raumprodukt created a dark, textile room in a room that accentuates the story’s tragedy and introduces visitors to the subject matter in a subtle way. Thinking outside the box can be seen as a true speciality of raumprodukt, and it comes as no surprise that the design team thrives on new challenges. There are many more in the pipeline.

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Architecture Special Switzerland ‘Wilhelm & Bertha’. Photo: Romeo Mori, © maurusfrei Architekten AG

Solitaire building in the exclusive Küsnacht area. Photo: Patrick Stumm, © maurusfrei Architekten AG

‘Wilhelm & Bertha’. Photo: Romeo Mori, © maurusfrei Architekten AG

Solitaire building in the exclusive Küsnacht area. Photo: Patrick Stumm, © maurusfrei Architekten AG

Individual architecture honouring the unique requirements of clients and buildings The Swiss architects at maurusfrei Architekten AG focus not only on individual architecture, but also on urban development to create sensual worlds for people to experience. maurusfrei Architekten AG has two offices, the first in Chur opened in 1996, the second in Zurich opened in 2008. Today, both form an entity: 26 employees, two locations, but one team. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN

That also means realising a project is always a joint cooperation of two offices. When it comes to architecture, one thing is key for the architects: “We strongly believe that unique architecture is always the result of brilliant design and enthusiastic realisation. We are not signature architects, we build according to task and the builder’s demands,” says managing director Maurus Frei.

tions – Wright and Berliot – with six stories each form the low-energy complex that houses light-flooded apartments with 2.5 to 4.5 rooms, surrounded by a shaped garden landscape and an inner courtyard that includes semi-private and private sections. All of them face towards the sun in the afternoon and evening – the large balconies as well as the terraces on the upper floor are perfect spots to relax after a long workday.

An example of maurusfrei Architekten AG’s exceptional work is the project ‘Wilhelm & Bertha’. The name originates in a local legend: the attractive living quarter emerged on a plot of land that the famous rebel Wilhelm Tell allegedly had bought as a present for his wife Bertha. Today it is situated in middle of the quiet Glattpark quarter, an emerging district between the Zurich city centre and the airport. Two building sec-

maurusfrei Architekten AG realised another project near Zurich, in the exclusive Küsnacht area: two solitaire buildings, lying in the middle of an intriguing exterior that allows maximum privacy. “Through their modest exterior, the buildings integrate perfectly and harmoniously into its natural surroundings,” explains board member Franco Cadruvi. For more airiness, the architects added large windows and charac-

teristic loggias to the apartment building. The adjoining villa on the other hand “reminds of a sculpture with extensive glazing and flowing rooms on the inside”. To illustrate the great variety of maurusfrei Architekten AG’s work, the Erlenbach living quarter with its open structure and circumferential terraces has to be mentioned, as well as a project for SBB, the Swiss railway company. Here, maurusfrei works on developing a machine for the treatment of train bogies, proving the office’s capability in the infrastructure sector. Erlenbach living quarter. Photo: Michelle Zinsli, © maurusfrei Architekten AG

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Schönburg, Bern. Photo: © Marazzi + Paul

Mindful influence – urban housing and architectural planning Etymologically deriving from the Greek term ‘chief builder’, the architect nowadays is often seen as a mere source for aesthetic input, while the general planning process is often separated or outsourced due to its more theoretical and technicaloriented nature. However, regarding the rapid demographic and economical change of and within urban areas, it is of importance to reintroduce the idea of planning as a natural part of the architectural process at large, eventually resulting in the harmony of form and function. TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI

Renato Marazzi and Alfred Paul met in Chicago at the renowned Illinois Institute of Technology during their master studies. Both architects recognised their common urge to start an office of their own soon after finishing their studies. They complemented each other’s working styles well and while Renato brings in a knack for project development due to his family background, Alfred Paul concentrates mainly on the architectural issues. The 108  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

duo won a competition in early 2006 for the housing sector. They quickly gained insight into the realities and the influencing factors that come with the building process. Today, after 12 years of working as a middle-sized architectural office, Marazzi&Paul stand on a solid foundation of expertise and know-how. With a deep understanding of the mechanisms of the building industry, their strong claim for professionalism is a given.

The architects foster a deep interest in the delicate process of coordinating all relevant impacts of a project. As Alfred Paul states: “We are fully convinced that a mindful and conscientious orchestration of all the factors that influence a project will eventually lead to a coherent project.” The respective impacts, no matter if of economical, sociological or aesthetic nature, are being discussed and analysed in an interdisciplinary team and then carefully translated into an architectural concept. “These concepts,”says the architect,“stand for themselves, always relating to the location and never following any architectural trends.” Marazzi&Paul clients stem from both the private and public sectors. Swiss and European institutions also often approach the office to support project developments.

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“Ideally, we are being involved upfront, long before a project is concretely defined,” says Alfred Paul. The initial phase allows to clarify both legal issues and utilisation options for potential building projects, as well as participating in strategic planning. “That way, we gain the trust of our clients at an early stage, thinking beyond purely architectural topics, and meeting the needs of the builders by making them our own.” An award-winning concept, apparently. Small in size, the Hilterfingen boathouse at Lake Thun, realised together with long-

term partner Rychener Zeltner architects in 2015, has become a prize-winning champion already. With no less than three awards, the design unites two extreme opposites: a protecting, closed shell towards the busy road and a transparent opening towards the lake. The material topic of wood has been applied to both the interior and the façade. Warm hues dominate inside, displaying a particularly homely atmosphere. Due to the limited available floorspace, the equally wooden built-in seating doubles as storage space. An accentuation of the form language

is achieved through the homogeneous façade, the smooth transition between the wood shingle covered wall – a Swiss classic – and the slated roof. The dark colour of the entire shell supports the harmonious overall appearance. With the shutters closed, the look underlines the sculptural characteristics of the building. From small to large: ‘Das Hamerling’ is a Vienna Gründerzeit building complex, and was originally home to the Imperial and Royal Cartographical Institute at the turn of the 20th century. Another

All above: Boathouse, Hilterfingen. Photo: © Marazzi + Paul / Rychener Zeltner

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All above: Hamerling, Vienna. Photo: Christoph Panzer, © Marazzi + Paul

award-winning project for Marazzi&Paul, the architects are responsible for the entire planning and revitalising of the picturesque urban complex, now consisting of 140 apartments in total, including multi-family homes, senior residencies and several practices. Marazzi&Paul succeeded in mastering the balancing act between historically accurate refurbishment and elegant modernisation. With the complex keeping its traditional façades, the building interiors feature modern aesthetics and have been adapted to the requirements of the 21st century. The recently finished 3M EMEA company headquarters in Langenthal form another large-scale project for Marazzi&Paul, which took three years of realisation (planning and construction) after winning 110  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

the first prize at the 2013 competition. Aesthetically oriented on its industrial surroundings, the design shows a façade with overlapping gray and red hues reminding of the Swiss railway colours, a creative link to the genius loci with the railway station situated opposite of the building. Inside, the office building is marked by variable, open layouts and transparency, with a high number of meeting spaces, small and open plan offices, on a total of 6,000 square metres of floor space. Another major Marazzi&Paul project recently finished is the Sonnenarena development in Langnau, Emmental, where the architects have built 62 private and 34 rental apartments through a direct commission of a real estate company. The development will be marked by a lot

of greenery. With nine buildings in total featuring a light, friendly colour scheme and three subterranean car parks to reduce traffic in the development, the family friendly aspect of the superstructure is enhanced by a park and a generously laid out playground. The Schönburg project in Bern is another one to keep an eye on. Here, Marazzi&Paul will take over the reconstruction of the former General Post Office, turning it into a three-star hotel and apartment complex, financed by Swiss Prime. Saving the Schönburg structure, originally designed by Theo Hotz, the revitalisation will feature a new façade and a completely new building technology. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Theo Hotz Partner AG.

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This year is a promising one for Marazzi&Paul. In fact, it has already started out well with the office recently winning a large urban development competition in Regensdorf near Zurich. The realisation will include the construction of 200 apartments as well as service and commercial buildings. The goal of this development will be to create affordable housing within the Zurich greater area, an urgent topic for metropolitan areas and urban housing which affects the architectural sector all across Europe and the DACH region. Marazzi&Paul will function as general planners for the entire project. As Alfred Paul states: “This is another example for the future involvement and influence of architects in the planning process, instead of being reduced to the specialist for aesthetic questions only.” 3M, Langenthal. Photo: Rob Lewis, © Marazzi + Paul

Sonnenarena, Langenau. Photo: Rob Lewis, © Marazzi + Paul

3M, Langenthal. Photo: Rob Lewis, © Marazzi + Paul

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Discover Germany  |  Business  |  Solicitor Column


Much of the public Brexit discourse (whether in Westminster or the British press) appears to be based on the premise that the European Court of Justice (ECJ), based in Luxembourg, is about the worst plague ever to have befallen the United Kingdom. It is difficult to understand why, given that it is the ECJ that provides the checks and balances that keep other European bodies, such as the Commission, under control, ensures the uniform interpretation and application of EU law across all Member States (surely a basic tenet of fairness), and that British judges actively participate in the decision making. An objective bystander would have thought that its existence and work should be welcomed rather than condemned. The ECJ is the highest court in matters of European Union law, but it is not a super court of appeal: decisions of the English courts on matters of national law cannot be appealed to or overridden by the ECJ and the Supreme Court in London has the final say in such matters. Some of the antipathy may actually stem from the fact that the ECJ is often enough confused with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) based in Strasbourg (both human rights and the ECHR being possible an even worse thing for Britain than the ECJ in the public eye unless, no doubt, it is the human rights of those complaining that happen to be infringed); surprisingly, or perhaps in fact rather unsurprisingly, the British press has itself successfully sought protection through the ECHR in the past in cases concerning freedom of the press. 112  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

The ECHR is entirely separate and independent of the European Union. It is tasked with ruling on individual or state applications alleging violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, which was adopted by the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is also independent of and distinct from the EU, with a much wider membership of 47 nations. Interestingly, and this is also forgotten rather too often, it was actually Winston Churchill who called for the establishment of a Council of Europe after the ravages of World War II and the inhumanity of the German Reich. Perhaps confusingly, the EU is in turn bound by the Maastricht Treaty to respect fundamental rights as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. Again, surely that must be a good thing, and it stands to reason therefore that the ECJ gives ‘special significance’ to decisions of the ECHR. Anyway, back in Luxembourg, the ECJ is actually properly called the Court of Justice of the European Union and is divided into two courts: the Court of Justice (comprising 28 judges, one from each Member State) and the General Court (known as the Court of First Instance up prior to 2009 and the Treaty of Lisbon), which comprises 56 judges, two from each Member State. There are different ways in which cases can end up before the Court of Justice, including through requests from national courts for preliminary rulings on questions of European law, and in other areas through direct application by citizens, companies and gov-

ernments. The ECJ completed some 1,628 cases in the 2016 judicial year, so quite clearly there is demand for its services. In short, armed with this primer, next time somebody complains about a European court, why not ask him/her which court they are actually talking about and why exactly it is supposed to be a bad idea. Gregor Kleinknecht LM MCIArb is a German Rechtsanwalt and English solicitor, and a partner at Hunters Solicitors, a leading law firm in Central London. Hunters Solicitors, 9 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QN, E-mail:

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar

The stage at the Bregenzer Festspiele. Photo: © Kecko

Culture Calendar Save the date as there are plenty of great events scheduled for the weeks to come. From music festivals and exciting exhibitions, to fantastic sport events and social highlights, Discover Germany’s Culture Calendar is your perfect guide to what not to miss in August. TEXT: THOMAS SCHROERS

Bregenz Festival (until 20 August) Known around the world, Bregenz’s lake stage is renowned for its one-of-a-kind setting and high-quality theatre productions. For 2017, the programme includes the opera Carmen, Moses in Egypt by Gioachino Rossini and several orchestral concerts.

Sali Muller Exhibition, Chemnitz (29 July – 14 September) Current works of the object and installation artist Sali Muller will be displayed in Chemnitz at the e.artis gallery for contemporary art. Under the theme ‘Blackout’, Muller dives deep into the perception patterns of her audience.

Wine Festival Düsseldorf (3 – 6 August) Part of the series ‘WineSummer’ that tours around Germany all summer long, the Wine Festival in Düsseldorf is a showcase for winegrowers from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Around 600 individual wineries will present their products and, of course, visitors will get a chance to taste all of them.

Cranger Kirmes, Herne (3 – 13 August) The largest festival in the Ruhr area is the Cranger Kirmes. This year, at the beginning of August, it will take place for the 582nd time. As Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  113

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Pure & Crafted Festival. Photo: © Stephan Flad

always, it is an event full of funfair rides, bumper cars and ghost trains. A special highlight is the opening and closing firework.

Nature One, Pydna near Hasselbach (4 – 6 August) The Nature One is one of Europe’s leading festivals for electronic music. The party stretches over 23 floors with over 350 DJs performing over the course of three days. In 2016, roughly 65,000 music lovers visited the Nature One. For this year, a similar number is expected.

International Beer Festival Berlin (4 – 6 August) 240 breweries. 80 countries. 1,750 different kinds of beers. The Beer Festival Berlin is an international affair you do not want to miss out on. The longest beer garden of the world is 2.2 kilometres long and is highlighting the cultural value of beer with a musical programme and much more. 114  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

American Dream Cars Collection at the Car & Technology Museum in Sinsheim. Photo: © Auto & Technik MUSEUM SINSHEIM

Karlsruhe Museum Night. Photo: © Klaus Nahr

International Music Festival Murau. Photo: © Tom Lamm Photography

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The International Music Festival will take place in Murau. Photo: © Tom Lamm Photography

19th Kamuna – Karlsruhe Museum Night (5 August) It is one of Germany’s oldest museum nights. For its 19th iteration, the Kamuna in Karlsruhe invites young and old alike to discover a diverse array of museums and institutions around the city. Visitors will not only experience the regular programme, but can also enjoy special tours, events and exhibitions.

US-Car Meeting, Sinsheim (5 – 6 August) Taking place at the Car & Technology Museum in Sinsheim, the car meeting brings together American car lovers. From large-scale road cruisers to pick-up trucks or SUVs - all facets of American automobiles will be able to be explored.

Serenade in the Park, Zurich (9 August) In Zurich, the Villa Schönberg invites for a musical evening with the Ensemble Raro & Friends. 116  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

The archaeological day will take place at the National Museum in Zurich. Photo: © John Eckman

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Culture Calendar Violin, piano and contrabass will play pieces from George Enescu, Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Schubert.

Wine Festival Düsseldorf. Photo: © Agentur für Marketing Heidesheim

Fascination Archaeology, Zurich (14 August) The Swiss National Museum in Zurich invites to a fascinating day about the topic of archaeology. Aimed at children aged nine to 13, the event features an inspiring programme that will leave young and old speechless.

International Music Festival Murau (18 – 25 August) Part musical festival, part workshop, the music festival in the Austrian town of Murau is a one-of-a-kind mix of celebration and education. Since its inception as a small concert with a question and answers session in 2006, the festival has continuously grown, now featuring a week-long, diverse programme.

Kamuna in 2014. Photo: © KAMUNA

Ruhrtriennale – International Festival of the Arts, Ruhr (18 August – 30 September) Celebrating musical theatre, dance, acting, art installations and music, the Ruhrtriennale is a multifaceted festival. For six weeks, it will highlight the unique individuality of the postindustrial sites and sights in the Ruhr area.

Potsdam Castle Night (19 August) In mid-August, the Potsdam castle Sanssouci will be the centre stage for a nightly celebration of dance, concerts and many more attractions. The baroque castle with its romantic park will serve as the perfect backdrop for the event.

Cranger Kirmes. Photo: © Stadtmarketing Herne GmbH

Pure & Crafted Festival, Berlin (26 – 27 August) Dedicated to the musical genres rock and alternative, the Pure & Crafted Festival actually goes further than music. Apart from showcasing great music, it also features motorbike culture and fashion items from various designers related to the topic. Issue 53  |  August 2017  |  117

Discover Germany  |  Culture  |  Barbara Geier Column


Cars, beer, all kinds of things related to engineering, and, again, cars. These are the products the world typically associates with Germany. But how many German fashion labels can you name? Well, maybe more than you know yourself. If there’s one characteristic of German fashion brands, it’s that they don’t necessarily shout their nationality from the rooftop; things are kept a bit under the radar (which I find very typical for Germans in general, but that’s for another column). Maybe because in the cool and hip world of fashion, ‘German’ doesn’t sound quite right? Which is odd since one of the coolest fashion and lifestyle labels out there is German, and the average non-German consumer probably doesn’t know it. I’m talking about Adidas, which has managed to become a worldwide brand that no one would necessarily associate with Germany. It’s considered cool and the epitome of ‘street’; rappers love it and all kinds of edgy people, nothing of which sounds like a company that was founded in the small town of Herzogenaurach in 1949 by a man called Adolf Dassler. I still remember a conversation with someone from Spain about an event at the Adidas flagship store in London years ago, who couldn’t believe it when I mentioned in passing that Adidas is German (assuming that it was known). “Whaaat? German? I never knew. I thought maybe 118  |  Issue 53  |  August 2017

from the USA or so!” I have to admit I was a tiny bit miffed at the time because, for me, it was a given that everyone knows that Adidas is German. The story of the Dassler brothers who first started out in business together, then quarrelled and set up their own rival companies Adidas and Puma (which might ring a bell as well…) is a well-known one in Germany. As is the fact that the company name Adidas is made up of Adolf’s nickname Adi and the first three letters of his surname. So, now you know. Anything else surprising about fashion and Germany? Maybe perhaps that Germans, the practical and serious nation, have actually become Europe’s biggest consumers of such superficial things as apparel and footwear in Europe, as a recent Euromonitor report revealed. Based on this research, Germany is also one of’s biggest markets and the country where most money is spent on lingerie. Plus, Berlin is home to Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer, called Zalando, another player in the fashion world little known in the UK. Further south in Munich, two online retailers have written an impressive international success story and taken their brand global:, which was founded in 2006 and is the go-to place for high-end fashion and STYLEBOP. com, founded in 2004, which is much loved by fashionistas for its quirky designer finds.

By the way, I noticed in recent years that a decidedly uncool look – if I may say so – seems to have become super trendy. The love of a certain type of German for practical trekking sandals (or Birkenstocks) and socks, long much derided, has cropped up on the runways and on the feet of hipster people on the streets. At this point, I’m glad to say that I have never been one to follow fashion – and will happily let this trend pass me by. Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010.

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