With his fire tables he proves to take the claim “sparkling ideas” literally. Then, with the cooking center “Grace”, designer Franz-Josef Schulte put lifestyle-drive into his label. Bench “Gerrit” interprets woode from a new perspective. In this interview he is talking about the transform of image concerning solid wooden furniture and explains, how important they are for modern architecture.

Mr. Schulte, there are only a few designers that manage design, production and sales autonomously. How did this come about?

As both of my grandfathers were carpenter producing furniture, my blood is virtually made from wood. Thanks to my studies I could combine my passion for design with the commercial tradition of my family. That is why I said Yes, when I was asked to take over the business in Krefeld by my parents.

After your studies you worked in the office of Peter Maly. Concerning the star designer, what was the most impressive thing?

Peter Maly always succeeded in combining design and interior architecture. He used to see the product in context. Thus he was – and certainly still is – far ahead of many colleagues.

In trading, Schulte Design stands for solid wooden furniture with a touch of excellence. What makes your collection different from other providers?

I force the natural charm of lumbers by creating contrasts using exciting details. The bench “Gerrit” has a sculptural character and at the same time comes up with technique: it swings like a cantilever chair. Curiosity is – once again – aroused by its historical surface treatment – scrubbed. My passion for unusual lumbers, as in the Tutti-Frutti collection in 2008 or now by the inclusion of pear, elm and wild cherry, are taken up gratefully. For the German’s most popular lumber – oak – I will create new connections in the future. The “bourgeoisie-look”, stain P43, has been history for a long time.

There was a transform of image concerning solid wooden furniture. Now – after the "Mueslis" – lovers of design worship the natural material. How do you explain this change?

The “Mueslis” loved softwoods, which are not really charming. The new solid wooden furniture are made from finest lumbers having real sexappeal. You can create elegant shapes, because this material can be processed quite differently. Moreover, the contemporary architecture with its sober materials such as glass, cement and steal, is yearning for an antipole. Here the best cold-warm-contrast is constituted by solid wooden furniture with its natural charm and its exclusive comfort.

In Milan the material wood came up with its rustique character. Originality was the device of the big manufacturers. How will Schulte Design interpret this trend?

My collection will also work with origin materials: Oiled raw steel or stainless steel in combination with wood. Wood being interpreted in a modern rustique way. Oiled and scrubbed surfaces, oak with knots and black walnut laminated with sapwood. Due to the separation of table top and bases, now every client can find the right table more easily.

Your showroom and business enterprise is located in an old silk factory in Krefeld. How important is the contact to the consumer for you?

 The mentioned dialoge is very important for me. Here I can, so to speak, test all prototypes. Talking to clients quickly makes clear, which strengths and weaknesses a model has. Moreover I get to know which trends are effective in the target group.

You supply your products to Asia, too. Normally, this works the other way around. How do your products go down there?

There is a wave of trust reaching us by asiatic clients. “Made in Germany” is a characteristic with an excellent image, that has already been a door opener for us.