Can you explain a bit about your background and how you got into design?
I was always excited about technical drawings, beautifully designed product drawings and my wish was to be able to develop things like this myself. By working on my own ideas, new shapes, new designs, and learning about these areas, I was able to consolidate my passion.
What was the inspiration for creating STEININGER?
The idea needs a name, belongs to a face, and a visible basis to grow in a good way. The first step into building up the brand STEININGER.
How has the brand and the collections evolved since you started in 2001?
The philosophy is still the same as it was in the beginning: minimalism, purity, timelessness, high quality materials and details. Everybody should own a luxury design piece from STEININGER!
At the beginning, the kitchens were the main focus to be designed and engineered. The kitchens are still the most important products, but now the brand has expanded into interior design as well as other projects, such as accessories or outdoor furniture.
How long does it take to go from design to creating the final product?
There is no rule of thumb. The projects are far too diverse for that.
With the FOLD project, for example, I had been carrying the idea around with me for a long time, but it had to mature in my head until I had drawn the first line on paper. It took about a year from the planning, to the construction, to the execution in detail, to the series production. The polygonal surface with difficult edged intersections at all angles and degrees was particularly challenging. To make the FOLD so perfect and, at the same time, to configure it individually can only be done by computer. However, the finishing touches are always done by hand.
What makes STEININGER different from other design studios in your opinion?
The holistic idea of architecture and design is important to us – we think design further! We see a building as a setting, as scenography, even as a theatre stage. That means we are not only interested in the building itself, we are also interested in the things in the building – the things you surround yourself with. From the furniture to the kitchen to the accessories. The goal of good design and architecture should be to create functional places that serve the users and also make their lives more beautiful. That is our aspiration in everything we do.
How would you describe STEININGER designs?
My signature can be explained in a few words: clear, simple and puristic. Luxurious details and subtle colours characterise my designs. I accentuate my creations with materials such as concrete brut, natural stone, fine woods and rare metal alloys. This creates a new kind of spatial experience, haptics and sensuality.
Do you have a signature style?
I think that the well-executed details, the valuable materials, the high-end manufacture and handcraft of our products is what really makes us stand out.
I would also say that reduction is certainly my style – or my signature style. Purity and minimalism!
Good design is clear, unobtrusive, timeless. Form follows function may be absolutely justified. My antithesis is: “Aesthetics is function!” because things have to please. We assume that they function, otherwise the product would not make sense.
How important is it for you to champion local artisans, craftsmen and components?
Very important. Whether kitchens, furniture or accessories, we produce unique items in industrial quality. The processes at STEININGER are highly engineered, but we do not achieve this excellence through digital production alone. As artisans, we are passionate craftsmen and this has been our tradition for over 80 years.
My grandfather and company founder Martin Steininger were carpenters that produced high-quality wooden furniture in a small manufactory in St. Martin. We have retained his knowledge of form, function, and material and use it every day.
We love to tinker with prototypes, file workpieces, improve things and try out new things. Finding the best solutions for our customers is what spurs us on. In the process, everyone works hand in hand: from architects and interior designers to designers, engineers, draughtsmen and carpenters. The interplay of our craftsmanship and perfect technology creates great things.
What have you been working on recently?
From product to project we are working currently very intense to develop STEININIGER ISLAND, which is a luxury private resort on Grand Bahama. The architecture, interior design up to each single product are built up to as if made from one piece. For people who love design and quality.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by travel, nature, art and architecture. My role models are Adolf Loos, Josef Hofmann, Walter Gropius and Achille Castiglioni. The minimalist artist Donald Judd has also influenced me. The modular outdoor kitchen ROCK AIR, for example, is a tribute to him. As a creative director, I design everything myself, preferably with pen and paper.
Do you have a favourite design in the collection?
I love FOLD very much. It fits perfect to our rectangular design language in a different shape.
What is an iconic design piece for you?
The Design kitchen FOLD: an iconic kitchen block made of black steel with a black stone worktop that seems to literally float. “The FOLD is a geometric body at rest in itself, which withdraws its power but not its presence. Puristic intensity paired with perfect functionality. The formal language is reminiscent of the art of paper folding”.
At first glance, this is perceived more as an object – even an art object, rather than a kitchen – in the room. The high-tech functions are hidden and not visible at first glance.
What’s next for STEININGER?
We want to continue to grow healthily on an international level, to serve our clientele even more and are considering the steps to do so very carefully.
We are focusing on more monobrand stores and will therefore open another exclusive location in Vienna in 2023. The STEINNIGER ISLAND project in Miami gives us a lot of momentum in this relatively new market.
With the continuous expansion of our partner network through exclusive business partnerships, we are strengthening our distribution network – a driving force for growth.