WITTMANN | Alice Wittmann becomes Head of Design

As Head of Design at Wittmann, Alice Wittmann is now responsible for the development of new models from the brief to the presentation of the finished furniture. In this role, the daughter of Ulrike Wittmann and Heinz Hofer-Wittmann will be intensively involved in the model policy of her family company and support the development department in all design processes and in collaboration with designers.

Arthur Arbesser has been supporting Wittmann in the areas of presentation, branding and communication since last year. Since then, Alice Wittmann has been working closely with him on the presentation and visual representation of Wittmann furniture, whereby adherence to the “Wittmann DNA” is particularly important to her. With model development, Alice Wittmann is taking over the management of another exciting and central area of the traditional company.

BUN Sessel by Federica Biasi

Have you developed a special passion for furniture manufacturing and design due to your proximity to furniture production?

My passion for furniture is certainly much greater than others. I sometimes crawl under a piece of furniture to see which manufacturer it is from. Others smile about it, but for me it’s normal.

What was your professional career like? To what extent did it prepare you for working in the family business?

I studied business administration and architecture and sometimes worked in completely different sectors. I have learnt something for now everywhere. But what helps me the most is that I grew up in the company: I don’t have to understand what we do first.

How did you decide to join the family business?

I joined the company five years ago, shortly after my parents retired. It was important that someone from the family was present again. A family business without family in the company is not the same for employees and customers.

BLOCKS Sofa by Neri&Hu | CLUB Sessel by Josef Hoffmann

What exactly are your position and your tasks in the company?

As Head of Design, I am responsible for the collection, from the idea for a piece of furniture through to its presentation. I work closely with our development department, marketing and our creative counsellor Arthur Arbesser.

What do you focus on in your work?

We want to concentrate on our craft. Designers who work for us need to know who we are and what we can do. For this reason, I prefer to reject designs from designers who have never set foot in our manufactory.

How is sustainability practised at the manufactory, particularly in the design/model policy – where do you see future priorities?

We don’t rush after trends. Our furniture is too valuable for that. No customer would buy a piece of Wittmann furniture only to exchange it for another after just two years. That’s why, when working with designers, we make sure that the furniture speaks our language and is timelessly elegant. A prime example: Josef Hoffmann’s designs are more than a hundred years old and are still bestsellers.

ATRIUM by Wittmann Workshop | Kissenstoff FLOWERS by Arthur Arbesser

What is your favourite Wittmann furniture model and what does your home look like?

I am passionate about what we are currently working on. Right now it’s a re-edition of our Atrium sofa from 1971, which we’re showing at the Salone in Milan: a design with great potential for the present. In my home, prototypes stand alongside gifts and furniture that never made it into the collection. A designer who visited recently said it was like a small furniture exhibition. The prototype of an Atrium sofa is already in the guest room.

How can we imagine the collaboration between you and Wittmann Creative Council Arthur Arbesser?

Arthur Arbesser and I discuss all creative matters. We plan photo shoots, presentations and discuss fabrics for our collection, to name just a few points. The collaboration is very fruitful and I appreciate his great sense of aesthetics. He understood Wittmann and what makes us special right from the start, which is not something that can be taken for granted. Some people need years for that.

Where do you see the strengths of a family business like Wittmann?

The furniture industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Family businesses like Wittmann have become a rarity. At the same time, people value personal contact and intensive, honest and friendly business relationships. That is our advantage as a family business.

MORTON Stuhl by Sebastian Herkner | Alice Wittmann | Arthur Arbesser

Where do you see the opportunities in Wittmann’s design roadmap?

In our collection, modern organic shapes exist alongside classic models by Hoffmann and Kiesler. This allows us to work with many creative people on very different designs and try out surprising things. In the end, each new piece of furniture is always a beautiful extension of an eclectic collection.

What values do you follow in the company?

Like my parents and grandparents, I have a great bond with our employees, customers and designers. We have a respectful relationship and share a passion for beautiful furniture.