Design Talks | Loftline

09 Apr 2016
3 min read
FOUR speaks to Mike Traenkel of Loftline, about his anatomical and ergonomically designed chairs that have a sophisticated Swiss edge.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in the town Tegernsee at a lake with the same name, in Bavaria 35 miles south of munich. I grew up in Bad Wiessee, located at the same lake, where I started to go to school. I started my first professional career as a physical therapist in the business of my parents. As a physical therapist I experienced live the anatomical and ergonomic characteristics of the human musculoskeletal system, which I kept in mind until I started to creating special chairs.

Tell us a bit about the background story of how Loftline came to be…

The idea for Loftline came following a job as Marketing andProduct Manager in a factory whichproducedmotor-powered beds for for hospitals, elderly homes and handycapped people. The beds were being developed to allow even peoplewithtetraplegia tomanage their environment through thespecially designed remote control technology. The knowledge I collected in this company was the foundation for designing, developing and producing motorpowered chairs with my own company.

From thisI developed the motor-powered relax chair, which wasthepredecessor for the much laterLOFTCHAIR. The main difference compared to today’s LOFTCHAIR wasthat the motor and the metal fittings where positioned underneath the body of the chair. But nevertheless when I introduced the chair to a business partner of mine, who owned a bed factory, it appearedthat the entrepreneur was very interested in thenew technology. After evaluatingand adjustingsome finer details about the design,we eventually came to an agreement and he ordered 1,500 pieces.I accepted the order and started to create a factory in Italy together with another business partner of mine. From 1995 until 2002 there have been sold between 2000 to 3000 pieces per year.

Where do you get your inspiration for your projects, and more generally where do you get your inspiration with your other creative designs?

I don’t look what the other furniture designers are doing. I understand that in thisfast-paced and stressful timethere are changing needs for what is required within the home, in terms ofconvenience and functionality. I myself am specialised to create motor-powered furniture or illumination design. There are a lot of ideas and concepts constantly being created and designed, they are simply waiting for the right time to become relevant to the public.

What have you been working on recently and what makes it so special in your opinion?

I am always trying to improve and update the designs as much as possible. For example I have been introducing new features such as a remote control app for Iphone or Android that can power the LOFTCHAIR.I have also been in the process of designing anddevelopinga daybed called LOFTBED, which will be available on the market in early 2017. The LOFTBED fulfils the needs of being both a sofabed for guests, as well as a motor-powered and adjustable daybed.

Do you have a signature design style that is apparent in all of your creations?

Obviously you can observe that people who experience the LOFTCHAIR, or similar products the first time, are surprised that the chair is continously adjustable. This is due to the discreet nature of the mechanics that go into adjusting the chair via sophisticated remote controls.So I guess I my design style would be that I try to create a unique,decent and functionaldesign that has actual benefits to the user.

Favourite product or furniture that you wish you had designed?

I can’t decide on one particular piece but I am a fan of the designs ofunconventional artists and designers such as Ettore Sotsass, Ron Arad or Santiago Calatrava. just to name a few.

Do you have any future collaborations and projects lined up you could tell us about?

I am working on a new design of a daybed, which has the similar features like a LOFTCHAIR but is also remote controlled with I phone or Android via an app .

In terms of top design trends what is hot on your radar at the moment?

I tend to avoid mainstream trends and prefer to focus on orgininal, innovative ideas that can’t be easily mass produced. Personally, I am intrested and think it’s worth keeping an eye on the new creations coming from the robotic scene. I think incorporating robotic design features into everyday interiors is definitely an area to watch.

Loftline Products GmbH

Pulvermühleweg 10

6010 Kriens


+41 79 253 60 03