Following on from yesterday’s post about Labour and Wait in London, many people pointed out Manufactum, its German counterpart. Again, a favorite of mine and my fellow designers, this is a must-see venue in many German cities.
Manufactum GmbH & Co. KG (formerly Manufactum Hoof & Partner KG) is a German retailer with nine full-sized stores in Germany and an online store that serves primarily Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the UK. The main focus of the company is household and garden goods made with traditional manufacturing methods (thus “Manufactum”) and materials. The company also sells cosmetics, apparel and shoes, computers, bikes, foodstuffs, books, and furniture.
In Germany, Manufactum catalogs enjoy almost cult-like status among a certain clientele. Product descriptions are in-depth, sometimes ironic, and in very good German, for which Manufactum received the 2003 German language award by the Verein Deutsche Sprache, a language preservation society.
“The best Sauerkraut – made of Filder Cabbage.
The basis of this sauerkraut is not the usual white cabbage, but the tender ‘Filder’ variety, a cabbage grown specially for making sauerkraut by monks in Württemberg, southern Germany. Filder cabbage has an odd appearance with an irregular, far from circular shape, making it unsuitable for machine processing. Perhaps for this reason, it’s used by only two firms that grow it on a mere 40 hectares of land. With this sort of pedigree, it’s no surprise to find that it makes the best sauerkraut in the world – far, far better than its rough-and-ready relations that you see in the shops. It’s much juicier and more tender: so tender, in fact, that you can enjoy it on its own or mixed into a salad.”
The brands “Manufactum brot&butter” (groceries; own stores in several German cities) and “Gutes aus Klöstern” (monastic products), the restaurant “Gasthaus Lohnhalle” and the designer furniture brand “Magazin” (with stores in Stuttgart, Bonn, and Munich) also belong to the Manufactum group.
In its monthly newsletter, Manufactum has expressed criticism of the EU decision to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent lamps, pointing out that the latter contain mercury and taking the stance that such a ban represents an undue infringement of consumer rights.
What Of It? As someone who travels relentlessly, it is rare nowadays to find something that is unique to its location, that both comes from and belongs in a certain culture. Manufactum is one of those uniquely German experiences that celebrates the best of German authenticity, precision engineering, craft and provenance, in a warm, eccentric environment that feels both modern and retro at the same time.
I am Curious about brands that belong to their culture, celebrate it and decode it in equal quantities.