In Häfele's world, furniture and interior spaces are magic. Cabinet doors swing upwards and out of the way, drawers close themselves, surfaces appear where none were before, objects of one utility transform into objects of another.
However, the company is not a furniture manufacturer, but a world leader in architectural and cabinet hardware and fittings—and the nature of their products actually provides a tricky problem for presenting at trade shows like Holz-Handwerk. While some of Häfele's products are easy to display and make understood, like their Sweepovac baseboard vacuum…
…the bulk of what they produce is meant to be invisible. Their hinges, drawer slides, mechanisms and fittings all respond to human input, but carry out their tasks hidden behind panels, underneath surfaces or within housings. Absent the context of furniture, it's not obvious what all of these pieces of hardware do. If the company were to put all of the wares in their massive 4,500-page catalog into a trade show booth, customers would simply be looking at 50,000 different funnily-shaped pieces of metal.
Thus when it comes trade show time, Häfele rolls out a bunch of concept furniture and set pieces filled to the brim with their hardware, as a way of showing off what their stuff can do. While you can't buy these demonstration laboratory pieces as-is, you can buy each and every one of the interior components; the idea is that the displays will help the designer/builder understand what the possibilities are, and thus be able to increase his/her offerings to potential clients.
Enough talk, let's see some video of these wondrous spaces. You can ignore the captions on these—there is clearly something lost in translation from German to English—but here's Häfele's take on a kitchen that turns into a workspace:
Here's a similar concept but in reverse, and with a different space, this time a workspace that turns into a kitchen. Be sure to look out for how the stove comes out and integrates into the design at the end:
Here's a sideboard with a neat flip-out desk and some fancy fixtures:
These three concepts are part of Häfele's "More Life per Square Meter" campaign, which encompasses some 19 different set piece concepts. The three above are our favorites, but if you'd like to see all of them, the 18-minute video below contains every single one.
See More from Last Time:
- Our 2014 Holz-Handwerk coverage of Häfele's Transformable Kitchen & Dining Spaces
- Our 2014 Holz-Handwerk coverage of Häfele's Transformable Living Spaces