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History

The contrast couldn’t have been greater: shrill sofas, chairs with bare metal backs, cool plastic refrigerators – the designer hall challenged the public with off-beat experiments. And then, somewhere in the middle, this simple stand of barely 12 square meters – nothing but a oiled beech – no colour, no varnish, no extras. “Most people just stared unbelievingly and thought we’d made a terrible mistake”. Birgit Gämmerler looks back to her first show at the international furniture fair in Cologne in 1991. “At that time solid wood furniture was considered about as sexy as a table, a cupboard, a chair and one spotlight. The material – woolen blanket”.

A love of wood led Birgit Gämmerler to establish the ZEITRAUM company. This was in the year 1990. Birgit, who had studied industrial design, wanted to honor wood as a living material with her clear minimalistic designs, and create furniture that was well thought out and ecological but still sensual. Endless discussions followed about life and the environment, and about what sort of furnishings might have a future in our world.

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Location

It started up in an old flour-mill with loft-style rooms and with the waters of the river Loisach rushing through its underground turbines. The company still has its base here today. The first designs for chairs, tables, beds and small furnishings were drafted here and the pieces made by local joiners. The making of the furniture was always difficult, the designers preferring clever wooden joints to simple screw together solutions, or maybe even demanding the use of bone-glue as a natural alternative to conventional resin glues.

“At some point we had to start making money”. The architect Peter Gaebelein was brought into the team in 1994 to coordinate production, Peter Joebsch for sales and logistics. In the following years reliable manufacturers were found in Germany, Austria and Italy, capable of producing the furniture in larger quantities, whilst still adhering to the strict ZEITRAUM quality standards. Nowadays, the pure material quality that is ZEITRAUM’s trademark is much in demand, and the products enjoy international success.

“We were simply ahead of our time.”