La Loupe – Beauty is their business
Bernd Gruber Kitzbühel is one of the most exclusive interior design companies in all of Austria and it deals with every aspect of the topic of interior architecture and design. Together with Bernd Gruber, Philipp Hoflehner, who has been creative director since 2010, is responsible for all design matters and the design language. He told LA LOUPE what inspires him and why Kitzbühel helps him keep his feet on the ground …
After professional stations in Zürich and New York: Can Kitzbühel satisfy your need for international flair?
It’s the people and the encounters that make life in Kitzbühel so special! Thanks to our projects I get around a lot. So then it’s exactly that village character that brings quality of life and lets you find calm and inner peace.
What sort of values does the brand Bernd Gruber stand for? And what are your values as creative director of the company?
We consider beauty our business. In a holistic way, inside and outside. Unique, precious quality. That’s something you can sense here every day. It’s impressive to see our production and witness the amount of passion each member of the team puts in our common values.
The company values professionalism & uncompromising quality in terms of team, materials and service. Your demanding clients probably appreciate this …
Yes, that definitely is a very important point. We think that an idea can only be as good as its realisation. When we take care of our projects in a holistic way then it has to be this sort of quality control that makes the difference in the end.
How do you usually start a project? At the office or on-site? And what is then client’s contribution?
We have to get to know every place. The creative process starts right there and has to mature only to then be committed to paper at the office. We always consider our work an interplay of our client’s culture and style and our own thoughts and – of course – the place where something new is supposed to be created.
Many pieces of furniture and furnishings are produced in the company and at the proper manufacturing site in Stuhlfelden/Salzburg. What criteria do you apply when you buy products?
Quality, of course. All around us a remarkable guild of manufacturing businesses has formed and we continuously work with them. No matter if it’s wrought-iron workshops, glass processors, upholsterers – they all understand our idea of quality and help keep up the standards.
What about regional products? Do you use a lot of domestic raw materials?
We like to use domestic woods, like oak, for example, we like to use it for local projects. The sustainable and conscious use of the resources provided by our nature, is a principle we apply from the planning stage and all through the entire design process.
Living trends change almost as fast as fashion trends. How can one make a decision and find a lasting line?
By dealing with the topic and staying curious. We visit all the important fairs and have close relationships with the pacemakers of the industry. But the important and decisive things always come up automatically. You come across them online or while talking with friends and all of a sudden you’ve discovered a new trend.
When is the best time to refurbish? How often would you suggest a change of design?
That’s a decision everyone has to make for themselves. I’m a friend of classic styles, not too much design but more relaxed and authentic. I don’t like it when things are constantly renewed as it is done in many hotels. You lose so much soul along the way. If you decide on a change it should take place carefully yet consistently.
International furniture and trend fairs can provide a lot of inspiration. Do you have other sources of creativity?
Inspiration is everywhere, you only need the time to find it! I enjoy the nature around Kitzbühel, but also the cities and museums. Mostly it’s about a different sort of culture that inspires the mind. When you ask yourself “is this really how it is?” and “why?” you trigger a process that normally ends with a new discovery. You have to find the fine line between courage and self-reflexion.
What is it that goes best with the architectural style around Kitzbühel and what can be easily brought home, as a small reminder of the holiday, so to say?
Everyone should trust their instincts. Simply try things out; there are no rules or dogmas. More courage! If you feel comfortable and recognise yourself, it’s perfect.
Bernd Gruber also sells its very own room fragrance. Why this fragrance, what are its secrets? Would you tell us about the way you it plays with the senses?
What we tried to achieve was to capture the room in its entirety. The fragrance has a grounding effect, it gives you that special feeling of coming home. It has woody notes like agar wood and white sandal wood that we combined to get a relaxed elegance. It’s a must-try.
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