Häfele is a leader in architectural hardware and furniture fittings and a visit to the Manhattan showroom on East 26th Street makes it apparent why. The company, which is run by third generation family members, is one where the dedication to its customers and design go hand-in-hand to create an amazingly committed international company. The showroom location was carefully chosen—a neighborhood surrounded by architectural offices—easily accessible to their buyers. It is a resource, one where finding the best solution for the user is of utmost importance. Though their extensive and impressive range of fittings leaves little to be desired, there is an understanding that each customer has individual needs which have to be met on a case by case basis.
An awareness of new trends and innovative technologies keeps the Häfele showroom in flux. It is continually evolving, with one of its most dramatic additions completed within the last six months. The space is an interactive playground where designers, enthusiasts, and even those with initial un-interest can’t help but be inspired by hardware. It gives the visitor a peek into where the market is headed—beyond function and into the realm of the unexpected. Cabinets don’t slam closed; they fall like feathers into place; doors swivel open smoothly beyond a usually limited radius as if they’re double jointed. The showroom is a place to discover and visualize how even a simple hinge can do so much more.
Along with their own systems, Häfele also distributes exclusive lines from a handful of other manufacturers. Rather than simply displaying the hardware they present it in an application showing how things actually work. The customer can more clearly visualize the possibilities in their own applications; this also provides Häfele with the chance to use their own products. The company is always looking for ways to improve, grow, and push the industry. The showroom itself creates an opportunity to note areas of possible development.
Recent additions to the space include a series of interactive displays. Häfele’s Dialock products—intelligent identification and locking systems that provide a contemporary solution to security are highlighted in an interactive display at the entrance. Home entertainment is transformed with their levitating plasma television, which is elegantly hidden in times of non-use. A flat screen computer rests on a height adjustable desk, the screen suspended midair by a mechanical arm capable of bending in every direction imaginable. Colored, semi-transparent screens slide on a gently curving track and are swallowed into a receiving wall when the space is open. Like magic all the doors, drawers, and devices appear and disappear effortlessly to transform the space into an ever-changing playground of design possibilities.
On a regular basis the showroom hosts a variety of design events and exhibitions. Currently on display are the winners of New Practices New York, a competition held by the Center for Architecture. The six, young architectural firms chosen as winners are represented in a shifting exhibition, each firm displaying their portfolios for two months. The exhibition has been running since September and will continue until July of 2007. An ever-growing calendar of events keeps the showroom filled with design discussions, lectures, and events.
The updated Häfele showroom is an ever inspiring and expanding environment displaying not only the company’s high quality and diverse range of products and services, but a true passionate dedication to design. For more information about Häfele and its new showroom visit www.hafele.com.