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Q&A Interview with FreiFrau Manufaktur

'A special debut at imm cologne will be the first modular sofa'

Freifrau is a renowned furniture brand in Germany that made its mark in the market since it started in 2011. After participating as an exhibitor at imm cologne in 2015, they claimed 'to have made it'. In the next edition in 2024, they are back with their long-standing partner Janua, presenting a special debut. InteriorDaily discussed this in an interview with FreiFrau Manufaktur.

Marc, Niklas and Hansjörg Helweg.

In 2011, trained carpenter Hansjörg Helweg decided to resign from his job to start Freifrau. What was his inspiration to start Freifrau?
'In 2011, Hansjörg Helweg decided to set up his own business and lay the foundations for Freifrau. The idea behind it was clear: seating from the new Freifrau brand would embody sensuality, style and elegance and have a distinctly feminine character.

Freifrau's furniture collections are deliberately given feminine names, lending them a personal touch. From its beginnings in Lemgo, North Rhine-Westphalia, Freifrau has developed into a major player among European design manufacturers in just a few years. Today, Freifrau Manufaktur stands for more than just products; it represents comfortable seating furniture manufactured in Germany with attention to detail, the highest quality standards and a clear commitment to sustainability. The collections, consisting of timeless chairs, armchairs and sofas, are developed in creative collaboration with renowned designers and up-and-coming talents. In 2021, Hansjörg Helweg gradually retired from the family business and handed over the reins to his sons Marc and Niklas Helweg. "It's great to see that they are retaining the Freifrau DNA while keeping the company young," comments Hansjörg Helweg on the passing of the baton.'

The meaning of the name Freifrau in German means “free woman”. Why did you decide to name the company this?
'The name "Freifrau" was deliberately chosen to represent our vision of versatility and individuality. The combination of Freifrau as a brand name with the individual women's names for the collections is an expression of freedom, creative diversity and the unique personality of each piece of furniture. The decision to give the furniture women's names goes hand in hand with the desire to make each collection unique. By deliberately choosing these names, Freifrau wishes to emphasise the character traits and creative identity of each individual series. Whether it is the grace of Amelie or the timeless elegance of Leya, each name represents not only a piece of furniture, but also a story waiting to be told.'

'At the imm cologne 2015, we got a lot of orders and realised: we’ve made it! We’re established and from now on, the only way is up,' said your Creative Director Birgit Hoffmann. Was this the first time you attended the imm cologne fair, and why did this particular event have such an impact?
'The imm cologne 2015 was indeed a turning point. The company was able to generate numerous orders at the fair, a clear indication that the brand was not only established, but that Freifrau was also ready for further expansion.

In 2012, Freifrau attended imm cologne for the first time. Even then, the company presented itself together with its long-standing partner Janua. The partnership with the Bavarian company, known for its high-quality tables and other solid wood furniture, added a unique dimension to the Freifrau brand. The symbiosis between Freifrau's feminine collections and Janua's furniture with its strong character created the basis for harmonious interior concepts with a focus on durability and sustainability.'

Will you be attending imm cologne in January and what do you expect for the trade show?
'Of course, Freifrau will be back at the imm cologne in 2024! The trade fair is undoubtedly an excellent opportunity to present the latest products. The personal interaction with contacts and (new) customers is invaluable for Freifrau, especially after the challenges posed by the pandemic. Face-to-face interactions at our stall not only allow us to showcase new seating, but also to build and strengthen relationships within the industry. You will find Freifrau in Hall 3.2, stands A021, C023 and C023a!'

Are there other trade shows you will attend next year?
'Freifrau will be exhibiting at the Salone del Mobile.Milano and possibly also at the 3 days of design in Copenhagen - the application process is underway!'

Are you launching any new products this year or is there any other news for the company in 2024?
'In 2024, Freifrau will be presenting many new products at imm cologne that highlight the company's versatility. A special debut will be the first modular sofa called 'Mia', whose flexible design allows for individual interior concepts and promises maximum comfort. Also on show will be the latest additions to the Leyasol outdoor collection, a sun lounger and a Hollywood swing, both of which boast timeless elegance and sophisticated design. The company will also present a weatherproof version of the Nana chair for outdoor use. Together with Marie, the Nana collection also features new concepts such as Low Dining, where the chairs in the collection have a lower seat height. In addition to these exciting new additions, updates to the new Marie chair will also be in the spotlight.'

More information:
FreiFrau Manufaktur
[email protected]