By Jasmin Jouhar.
How do you establish a furniture company? Berlin’s Moritz Bannach, at least, started with a real statement five years ago and has been growing his Bannach brand organically ever since.
The response comes without hesitation: “Never!” replies Moritz Bannach to the question of whether he has ever regretted establishing his own furniture brand. And he beams so convincingly all over his face that there is no need for further questions. “I’m grateful and happy with the way everything worked out,” adds the 37-year-old. His brand Bannach has been around since 2018, and the Berliner has conquered his place in the market without any investor money – with unusual, quite expensive pieces of furniture, which he has manufactured in Germany and Italy.The first product and immediately a signature piece was a large dining table composed of slabs. Launched by Bannach in the colour combination pink-green-orange-bordeaux, among others, the table quickly appeared in numerous media and soon also in architectural projects. The two versions of the table, “Abbondio” and “Elio”, are also available in monochrome black and grey, but Bannach has not yet sold many of them. In fact, most people choose a multi-coloured version. Last year, the landscape architect then launched more furniture, such as the “Arco” side table and the “Agatha” console, a design by Julius Heinzl. Bannach remained true to his line in the new products as well, relying on strong colours and clear forms; he calls it a combination of “Memphis with Bauhaus”. In true Memphis fashion, he also offers the “Arco”, which consists of two cubes, in the expressive veneers of Ettore Sottsass and in the lattice laminate by Superstudio.
“I’m an entrepreneur, I have to sell”
As friendly and relaxed as Moritz Bannach may seem in conversation: the Berliner knows exactly what he wants. “I want to build my own world, create an aesthetic, a design that stays,” is his answer to the question why he established a furniture brand in the first place: “To steer, curate, create recognition value.” That’s why he leaves nothing to coincidence; for example, he has compiled his own colour and material library for his furniture. With a photo shoot in the Berlin art commune “Fahrbereitschaft”, Bannach put the first collection in a cool light. A bank loan had to suffice for start-up financing; Bannach has not yet actively sought investors. Because, he worries, if too many people have a say, the concept could become diluted and the design “no longer recognisable”. He prefers to take his time and let the brand grow organically. For cost reasons, the 37-year-old simply forgoes some marketing measures. In any case, the large table has become a long seller even without advertising; several years after its market launch, sales figures are still rising. The table is not only used in dining rooms, as originally planned – architects also order “Abbondio” as a conference and work table for office projects. Accordingly, Bannach has now developed an invisible cable management system for it. After all, says the Berliner, he is “an entrepreneur. I have to sell and earn money. It is a weighing process. The design aesthetics are most important to me. But it’s no use if you have a beautiful product but no one buys it.”
The Next Goal: An Own Showroom
Entrepreneurship in general: running your own furniture brand entails many sales and logistical tasks, as Moritz Bannach says. He was also aware of this when he founded the company. “I would sometimes like to take care of the design a bit more.” Nevertheless, he enjoys entrepreneurial thinking a lot. His time in the team of the Berlin furniture retailer Dopo Domani proved to be helpful. He started working there while still a student. To this day, he seeks advice from his former colleagues, for example when it comes to pricing. And to this day, he still has a second job in a real estate project in addition to his brand. However, the focus of his working hours is increasingly shifting to his own company, to which he now devotes about four days a week. He is currently developing the next collection, which is due to be released later this year. Once again, it will be a mixture of his own designs and contributions from other designers. His goal is to expand the range of products and to use more materials such as natural stone and glass. And if money didn’t matter for a moment, what dream would he fulfil? To this question, too, the response comes promptly and without hesitation: “A showroom in Berlin! That’s number one on my list,” he says. A nice space with big shop windows, a room where the tables can really work.”
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