Häfele  | 

Celebration of the anniversary and start of construction of the “Dynamics Center”

Häfele, the international expert for hardware technology, electronic locking systems and lighting, is considered a hidden champion. Appreciated in the “Ländle” and by experts around the world, but less recognized beyond. Recently, that has been changing. The ZEIT publishing group attested “entrepreneurial excellence” to the now global group of companies. Customers from the crafts, furniture industry, trade, architecture and interior design trust in the competence and innovative strength of the family-owned company. On the occasion of its 100th anniversary, Häfele now has a lot planned. With the construction of the “Dynamics Center” in Nagold, a visionary project has been launched – and numerous events at the Nagold site and at the world’s leading trade fairs “Interzum” and “Bau” will express Häfele’s future orientation.

Gregor Riekena, Häfele’s new Chief Executive Officer, sees it this way: “On the occasion of our 100th anniversary, we want to express two things: pride in the successful path the company has taken to date – and optimism that we will be able to continue this success story, also through the courage to continuously change.”

Innovative strength, courage and optimism: these qualities have accompanied Häfele from the very beginning and already distinguished the founders. The original 2-man operation – a specialist hardware store – has developed into a global company, Häfele SE & Co KG, with subsidiaries in 38 countries and more than 8,000 employees. Nagold is the headquarters of the international Häfele Group, which today is considered a leading expert in hardware technology, electronic locking systems and lighting. Häfele has unique expertise in the development of innovative room concepts and continues to expand its international service offering. Häfele’s presence at the upcoming world’s leading trade fair “Interzum” in Cologne from 07. to May 12 marks the start of the anniversary celebrations in 2023, and there will be a fitting celebration at the headquarters in Nagold from July 21 to 23.

At the beginning of 2023, Sibylle Thierer (2003-2023) placed the responsibility in the hands of Gregor Riekena.

Time and again in Häfele’s eventful corporate history, courage, innovative spirit, flexibility and perseverance have manifested themselves and moved the company forward. The world’s leading expert in intelligent hardware, lighting and electronic locking systems is founded on a small, agile and innovative hardware business. In 1923, when the economic conditions were anything but easy, two energetic young men – the businessmen Adolf Häfele and Hermann Funk – opened the “Fachgeschäft für Eisenwaren” in Aulendorf. They soon found that their products were particularly popular with carpenters and moved to Nagold, the center of Württemberg furniture manufacturing at the time. In the meantime, Nagold has become a small town with charm and charisma – and the traditional Häfele company is both dynamic and forward-looking, which fits together.

At Häfele, change always means continuity: With only four changes in management, a lot has happened since 1923. At the beginning of 2023, Sibylle Thierer (2003-2023) placed the responsibility in the hands of Gregor Riekena. His appointment as the fifth company director in the 100-year history of the company is a continuation of the best experiences from the past. The first managing director not from the Häfele and Thierer families, Hans Nock (1982-2003), had paved the way for the company to become a global player with foresight. Gregor Riekena is now the second, non-family, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Häfele Group.

The milestones in the company’s history remain important – and so do their “inventors”: Häfele Managing Director Walther Thierer (1949-1982) launched Häfele Logistics, which is still highly praised in the industry today, and invented “The Great Häfele” catalog, which is now available worldwide in over 20 languages. However, the name of his daughter Sybille Thierer stands for probably the biggest change in the history of hardware technology. It brought furniture hardware, these metal parts long traded as purely technical accessories, out of obscurity. Sibylle Thierer made the realization that hardware technology is the real key to emotionalizing and individualizing furniture and furnishings her credo. “Without hardware, furniture is nothing more than a pile of boards,” this bon mot she created back in 2007 was equally amusing, memorable and immediately understandable. It brought furniture fittings to the center of interest of planners, designers and employees in furniture manufacturing.

In the meantime, the Häfele Group is also considered a driving force for the hotel industry and commercial housing. In particular, it has made a name for itself in digitization and the development of comprehensive networking solutions in furniture and space. This was also significantly driven by the new CEO, Gregor Riekena, who held responsible positions at Häfele for several years before his appointment as Chairman of the Executive Board. Häfele is not only a supplier of accessories, but also a reliable partner for planners in the fields of interior design and architecture – Häfele has coined the term “360° object competence” for this. From design to implementation, the company provides support with the right products and comprehensive accompanying services. The Häfele product range includes electronic access systems, customizable lighting solutions and smart control systems with a high level of user convenience.

The company’s outstanding expertise is based, among other things, on the strategic acquisition of start-ups, whose know-how is prudently integrated and further developed. One example is the acquisition of the start-up ThingOS, which was preceded by several years of collaboration. With this step, the technical knowledge and fresh impetus of the visionary founding spirit were incorporated into the company’s own corporate culture: With ThingOS, Häfele is now fully capable of designing unique lighting and room experiences from a single source, together with the Nimbus (light & acoustics) and Sphinx (electronic locking systems) divisions. The special expertise in smartly networking furniture and room lighting as well as other functions in the interior means a unique selling point in the industry and makes Häfele a pioneer.

Häfele is now recognized far beyond its own industry: “Entrepreneurial excellence” was attested to by the publicist and entrepreneur Dr. Florian Langenscheidt in his recently published illustrated book “Aus bester Familie”, in which Häfele is portrayed as one of 100 family-owned companies. In troubled times, he said, it is more important than ever to draw attention to the achievements of German family businesses. They stand for continuity, sustainability, economic success and social responsibility, according to the ZEIT Publishing Group press release. It would be difficult to formulate more succinctly what constitutes Häfele’s corporate culture and what will continue to characterize the company for the next 100 years.

The company proves time and again that words are followed by deeds and has planned a lot for the anniversary year: After the opening of the fourth high-bay warehouse at the logistics center in Nagold, this year will see the start of construction of the new Dynamics Center based on a design by Schmidt Architekten from Kenzingen. In addition, the “Bau” trade fair in Munich from April 17-22 was marked by a premiere: for the first time, Häfele appeared in Hall C2 “Light and Smart” and impressively showcased the interplay of room and furniture lighting, access management and networked control at the trade fair stand developed with the Stuttgart-based creative agency Jangled Nerves. During the year, various activities are planned around the 100th anniversary. The celebrations will kick off at “Interzum”, the world’s leading trade fair for furniture manufacturing and interior design, in Cologne in May. This will be followed in the summer by the “Blackbox Night” on June 21 in the Stuttgart showroom and four weeks later by the big anniversary weekend at the headquarters: From July 21 to 23, there will be a proper celebration in Nagold.



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