What projects are you currently working on?
This year we have some breweries in Germany. Private breweries that sell almost exclusively in their own region because high quality beer cannot be stored long; it can’t be shipped to Tokyo, which is why it needs to focus on its location. We are currently working on so-called “brand lands” – centres of experience positioned differently. One should visit the brand on site, be able to basically look over its shoulder so that one can see how the quality is created and which culture plays a role in it. One of the contractors is, for example, the private brewery Mackatzer in Allgäu, Meckatzer Weißgold is a high-class beer, comparable to a special red wine. For Meckatzer, the Allgäu itself and the history of the farming culture play an important role.
There is an interesting parallel, by the way, between these breweries and reWe; the reWe company was the first in Austria to bring high-quality products mainstream. If you think about Ja! Natürlich, if you think about the Merkur products, that is a quality that wasn’t previously available in supermarkets. We live in a world where the entire experiential society has become very mature and sustainable. People want to know again where products come from, they’ve understood that food isn’t only about getting the cheapest stuff, rather they also want to know which pasture their meat came from, for example, and I believe that reWe has accomplished very much in the past ten years, not only in product quality but also in communication of the product quality.
When I think of my childhood, the way supermarkets looked, they were like refrigerators, one went in and came out as fast as possible, today stores are designed like this place here, Lederleitner hansen, that’s why I also wanted to meet here. After my 5 hours of lectures at the university, I used to come here often simply to calm my emotions. And it worked brilliantly. Theofil von Hansen built here so fantastically, and then the interesting product assortment, one can really just get lost. The way the products play off one another creates a story. Not just plants are being sold, but garden furniture, wonderful British gardening tools and books on the subject, it is authenticity paired with lifestyle, not a staged fake world.
When I think of my childhood, the way supermarkets looked, they were like refrigerators, one went in and came out as fast as possible.
And supermarkets meanwhile have also become true places to chill out. The way Billa works with water and other effects, a huge amount has been achieved. Or the fruit and vegetable section at Merkur that’s like an Italian market. For many people, especially older people, shopping at the supermarket has become important emotional entertainment, like a caress, almost like ‘home away from home’: Wellness in a public space.