a regional success story
Klöber has been a flagship for healthy sitting and first-class design since 1935. A regional success story that started with a feisty young woman and has developed into a blend of sustainability, innovation and aesthetics that continues today. The inspiration – then as now – is the character and landscape in the company’s native Lake Constance, as well as the mission of reimagining the “art of sitting” to create a homely atmosphere for today and tomorrow.
It was the vision of having the freedom to sit better that inspired Margarete Klöber to take the plunge and start a business. She had qualified as a foreign correspondent, but she switched profession in the mid-30s at the age of 25. Her goal was to produce an ergonomic and practical chair for better, healthier working. This made Margarete Klöber the first person to focus on the anatomical requirements of sitting. She demonstrated the art of sitting back then with the “Polstergleich” sprung office chair from her health chair factory, which was an insight into the future of the modern workplace and is considered an industry design icon today.
The company had already outgrown the leased factory premises by 1939. After this growth phase it began operating under the Klöber name. Technology that’s considered standard nowadays had its roots in the early developments: This applies equally to the all-round elastic suspension mechanism and various systems for adjusting the height.
Klöber and Schiesser: In 1942 it was unusual for a woman to be at the forefront of a flourishing business. So the phone call from Schiesser director Erich Wiggenhauser didn’t go quite as he had planned it right from the outset. He heard a female voice answering with “Klöber chair factory, Überlingen” and replied “Please put me through to your boss, miss. My name is Wiggenhauser and I’m the director of the Schiesser works in St. Ludwig, Alsace.” Margarete Klöber’s response was friendly yet firm: “Mr Wiggenhauser, I am the boss – how may I help you?” The underwear manufacturer needed several hundred task chairs – “immediately, absolutely right away”. But that wasn’t possible. “I don’t have the quota available to do that,” retorted Margarete Klöber in the recorded conversation. But Erich Wiggenhauser didn’t give up and kept phoning until he eventually met her face-to-face.
At the end of the negotiations came the marriage proposal, the order was actioned, and a new era commenced. Made am Bodensee, made for the whole world – Margarete Wiggenhauser-Klöber and her husband Erich were more than just a married couple. They pooled their business knowledge and developed the Klöber seating factory into an internationally acclaimed innovative manufacturer.
The philosophy with which its founder, Margarete Klöber, began her career in 1935 still applies today:
regional roots yet brave enough to branch out independently, the capacity to think ahead, focusing on people and their health to shape the changing workplace with the right office chairs. To this day her entrepreneurial vision lives on – evolved, refined and optimised – in every chair that bears her name.
From the health chair to “the art of sitting” and New Work: Even more than 80 years after the company was founded, Klöber still aims to achieve a combination of homely looks, designer style and dynamic sitting, creating a work of art that’s made am Bodensee.
As a company and employer, Klöber is firmly rooted in the region. Not only do they have all production on site at the Owingen works, their exclusive and natural design themes also reflect the characteristic colours of Lake Constance. Another statement that underscores their corporate philosophy is the use of sustainable materials and parts, 75 per cent of which are sourced in Germany.
FROM A GLOBAL
This duality is essential in order to translate trends from design, architecture and New Work into innovative products bearing the Klöber signature. “The art of sitting” becomes the “art of working” – space and work are integrated into the home environment. Production at Klöber is shaped by the expertise of engineers, the style of a design team and the innovative spirit of a pioneer in her field – reimagining the workplace of today and tomorrow to create a homely atmosphere.
»The freedom to sit in healthy comfort is the art of feeling comfortable at work.«
Thomas Möller, CEO at Klöber