Perhaps it was the direct proximity to the Fagus Factory designed by Gropius in his native city of Alfeld. Perhaps it was the apprenticeship at the Wittekop chemist. Or was it simply the coincidences of life and the luck of the times? Whatever it was that made Hartmut Dörrie into who he is today – his accurate view is definitely the basis of his success.
At 80 years old, Hartmut Dörrie belongs to the ‘old guard’, and he knows this is something that dealers value. To this day, he still needs the “smell of the stable” and the discourse. And as long as no one says: “Stay at home Grandpa, and feed the seagulls at the Neckar River”, the Independent Sales Rep for TECNOLUMEN and TECNOLINE since 2003 will still be on task, and just as inspired as he was fifteen years ago. “It was the cherry on top of my professional career!”, he raves. Although at the time, the switch was not an easy one, as he remembers. “I came from a large corporation. From one moment to the next, I found myself at a family-run company. Suddenly everything that used to apply didn't anymore.” Of course this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. “The tone is always set from above”. And with Walter Schnepel and Carsten Hotzan, it was always outstanding. Getting hired here was the best thing that could have happened to him.
With fantastic products, fantastic employees, it was consistent and very honest. “Complaints aren't met with long discussions – they are managed in a generous manner. Customers really appreciate that.” He says this with a hint of pride. And he loves the challenge. “TECNOLUMEN and TECNOLINE are two very cultural companies.”
It isn't exactly easy bringing these two brands together that don't go hand in hand. A different approach is required when it comes to door handles, window handles, and fittings, especially for TECNOLINE. “In this market it's all about technology, not culture. The hardware market finds it difficult to understand our products.” But Hartmut Dörrie is happy to explain himself. “Gropius, Wagenfeld, Kramer – I am a big fan of these classics and an enthusiastic doorto- door salesperson in the best sense”, he stresses and laughs.
Whereas his professional life could have taken a very different turn. After his vocational training, Hartmut Dörrie worked for 3M and Koss. He was also fully dedicated to his passion for photography. He shot his first motorsports photos when he was twenty-three years old - and was so good at it that he has been capturing the Hockenheimring GmbH's races and events as the official photographer for over 50 years now. A start.
The Munich Olympics followed, the soccer world championship, and as the years past there were commissions for ski racing, hockey and the bobsleigh team. In addition to sports and their speed, Hartmut Dörrie discovered music, in particular Jazz with its emotional power. He photographed John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, as well as the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. With his sense for defining moments, he quickly advanced to become a heavily booked photographer. “I was able to approach everyone with the camera!” Only it remained a hobby.
Even back then, his second passion was for design. “We have several Wagenfeld Lamps at home, says Hartmut Dörrie with a smile. “Everyone in the family has them.” He purchased his first one from TECNOLUMEN in 1983, together with his wife. Two years prior, he had switched to being the Sales Director with American furniture manufacturer Knoll, bringing high quality furniture onto the market from that point onward.
Here he encountered the Bauhaus classics, designs from architects Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer that inspired him and that he could no longer forget. Looking back, the switch to L. & C. Arnold Stendal GmbH seemed almost imperative – a company that was already connected to the Bauhaus in the 1920s and 1930s through close collaboration. Heinz and Bodo Rasch, Mart Stam, again Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, can all be found in the company history with their steel tube furniture. Hartmut Dörrie added another designer to their side from the Bauhaus era. He discovered a chair designed by architect Carl Fieger in the basement of the Bauhaus Dessau. The long-standing company added it to their range under the auspice of Dörrie.
He loves and lives the Bauhaus. In addition to marketing the furniture from this era, the preservation of classic pieces from this period has therefore always been important to Dörrie. “Companies that produced Bauhaus furniture have enjoyed excellent business for many years using the 'Bauhaus' name. So it was time for me to give something back to Bauhaus.” As Sales Director of Knoll International, he arranged the transfer of furniture – valued at 100,000 D-Marks – to the Bauhaus in Dessau that was being rebuilt at the time, and also ensured that the rebuilt Bauhaus cafeteria was outfitted with Breuer stools – a gift from L. & C. Arnold Stendal GmbH.
When the Fagus Factory in Dörrie's home town was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the bustling sales rep did not miss this opportunity. In September 2014, Hartmut Dörrie opened the exhibition that he initiated and conceptualised: “Living with Bauhaus” – thereby fulfilling one of his dreams. Photos from the Bauhaus archive collection were shown as well as classic Bauhaus objects from the TECNOLUMEN and TECNOLINE range. To this day, there is excitement surrounding the Bauhaus, its history of style and design, its architecture, design and especially its handcrafted everyday items. “I am happy, that I got to experience ‘100 Years of Bauhaus' with TECNOLUMEN and TECNOLINE”. And what about retiring? “For the love of God! You can't do that to my wife”, he says laughing – and is also probably referring to himself a bit too.