BERLIN LOFT STYLE IN STILWERK
WELCOME TO THE NEW ROLF BENZ HAUS
Kantstraße 17 in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg has been the premium address for exclusive furniture, selected design products and high-quality lifestyle items since 1999. The stilwerk concept store, located right next to Berlin’s Ku’damm, showcases 40 shops to a demanding, design-conscious public. ROLF BENZ HAUS was there right from the start and has been attracting visitors ever since. The store has just been extensively refurbished. We talk to long-standing manager and experienced interior design expert Alexandros Chomatopoulos.
Mr Chomatopoulos, the past few weeks have been particularly eventful for you and your team. Are you pleased with the results of the refurbishment in ROLF BENZ HAUS Berlin?
Yes, very. It was really worth it. We’ve made all sorts of changes, you could almost say we’ve turned the business inside out. The individual living scenarios are much less disjointed now, and we have consciously designed any that still are to make them less obvious. This makes everything feel much wider, more open and spacious, highlighting the loft character of our business. That’s a real advantage for our furniture. I have to say, I really like our new look.
How has the redesign been received by your customers?
Initial customer responses have been unanimously positive. The refurbishment took place while we were still open. We worked intensively on the store’s new look for two weeks, inspired by the international ROLF BENZ store concept. Our customers weren’t especially disturbed by the refurbishments, quite the opposite: sometimes I had the impression that many of them wanted to pick up the paint roller and join in. Lots of customers were really interested and wanted to know exactly what was going on. Very occasionally, people were afraid that we might be closing, but we were always able to clear up this misunderstanding quickly. We’ve been based here as ROLF BENZ HAUS in stilwerk in Berlin for 21 years. We are the international flagship for the ROLF BENZ brand in Germany’s capital, as it were, and will continue to be so in future. The only difference is that these refurbishments have made us even more attractive to our customers.
ROLF BENZ has been one of the pioneers of German design culture for over 50 years. How do you explain this success?
“Made in Germany” is still an important factor for many customers. The company’s background in the Black Forest is also highly esteemed, I think. What’s most important is certainly the extremely high quality products that ROLF BENZ has been reliably providing for decades. Let me give you an example: time and again, we have customers come to us who bought a ROLF BENZ sofa 15 or 20 years ago. The furniture is still in good shape and doesn’t even need to be reupholstered. They just want to have a new cover. The sofa is still perfectly functional, even after so many years. ROLF BENZ fits in perfectly at a time when sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Of course, the timeless ROLF BENZ design is also a significant factor contributing to the company’s success, not to mention first-rate functionality. Sofas from ROLF BENZ are never just “sitting machines”, they are perennially elegant.
The ROLF BENZ range now includes an enormous product selection for diverse lifestyles: relaxed living areas for relaxing, cubicsofa design classics, flexible multi-functional furniture – and even chairs, dining tables, beds and accessories. Do you think there’s a typical ROLF BENZ customer?
No, I don’t think so. That might have been the case before, older people often came to buy high-quality ROLF BENZ furniture for their living rooms. But you can’t make sweeping statements these days. In my view, ROLF BENZ with its versatile range now appeals to a wider audience and different age groups. Of course, ROLF BENZ also picks up on certain trends, but the furniture is never over-the-top trendy. You can always see the ROLF BENZ signature clearly in every item of furniture. In any case, all ROLF BENZ customers have high standards when it comes to quality and design. It’s precisely these customers that are attracted to stilwerk in Berlin.
Do you have a favourite product, Mr Chomatopoulos?
Let me think about that, they have made so many incredible products.
If you’re asking me about my current favourite, then that’s obviously the ROLF BENZ LIV sofa system from Italian designer Luca Nichetto. It really is fabulous. International design at the highest level. Not only is it exceptionally elegant, it’s also incredibly flexible. I get really excited about it.
How would you describe your personal style of living?
My living room has a desk, media furniture, a sofa and a cupboard. That’s it. Less is more. That might sound a little trite, but it’s really important to me and that saying sums up best how I feel. What I really don’t need is a crammed-full apartment. I prefer individual, high-quality pieces of furniture that I love. So I’d rather go without that third side table or fourth lamp and prefer to have those things around me that I really want to keep for a long time.
Thank you for the inspirational conversation, Mr Chomatopoulos. We wish you and your team continued success in the newly designed ROLF BENZ HAUS Berlin.
Pictures: Sandro Jödicke | whitedesk