What would Fidel KNOBLAUCH have said if he had seen this: when nobody was looking, his grandson Konni used his pocket knife to remove a piece of veneer from a furniture. Swietenia Mahagoni. In a Ralph Lauren store, in the middle of New York. We think he would have been proud of him. Because this little piece of wood is a cornerstone of our history.
Just to let you know: our company was founded in 1909 by Fidel KNOBLAUCH as a carpentry workshop. Back then we made doors, windows, stairs and cabinets. In the third generation, Konni took over the business from his father Hubert 1976. At the time, the company had two employees. And that’s when things started to get exciting.
Konni wanted more than just doors, windows, stairs and cabinets. In the 1980s, together with a local architect, he developed his first shopfitting system. And so at the beginning of the nineties, he received a large order from Engelhorn und Sturm in Mannheim. One of the jobs was to fit a shop area for Ralph Lauren.
In 2000, Konni made two good decisions: he made Jürgen Zahn a manager and bought two airline tickets to New York. Because that’s where we got the shopfitting description by Ralph Lauren from, together with an invitation to view the prototype. On 11 December 2000 Konni and Jürgen stood in front of the prototype pieces of furniture, wondered which wood was used and took with them the piece of veneer mentioned earlier. This foolhardy idea was rewarded: we built a test area in Munich and our bid was accepted. Ralph Lauren is one of our biggest customers.
Since the death of Konni in December 2005, Jürgen has been our top man. Konni did not just leave him the piece of American veneer, but also vision, courage and a good dose of passion. Within only a few years Jürgen had turned the former carpentry workshop into an international company with some 220 employees. He never lost his attention for detail or his high standards of design and craftsmanship. And Konni, Hubert and Fidel would definitely have been proud of that.