A combined century of COR

On 1 April 2014, Friedel Ortkraß is celebrating his 50th year of service at COR. None of his colleagues has managed this before, with the exception of "Lady" CONSETA. For both of them, their memorable company careers began in 1964.

27 March 2014. A real East Westphalian is not easily fazed. The 64-year-old native of Rheda-Wiedenbrück awaits his approaching long-service anniversary on 1 April 2014 and the tribute to be paid by managing partner Leo Lübke with quiet composure: "There's no need to make such a fuss about the 50 years," says Friedel Ortkraß, "for us it's more important that the furniture we make lasts for half a century." When he began his apprenticeship as an upholsterer at the tender age of 14 ("on the advice of friends") in 1964, it took him a while to familiarise himself with the many different models. "CONSETA was a new model alongside others which were earning the firm decent money. There were about 80 of us working in the company, which was already ten years old at the time. I thought to myself, the conditions are good, the company has a future, the job is interesting. Just sitting around has never been my thing and it still isn't today."In 1974, he moved from production to the development department where he and his colleagues brought the concepts of renowned designers such as Peter Maly or Luigi Colani to life over several furniture generations. Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller was also a frequent visitor to the small office: "He was always coming up with new ideas as to how could improve or change his CONSETA," says Ortkraß, who has maintained a lively interest in the successful programme to this day. "This furniture stands above time. We saw other models come and go," he remembers. "Sometimes we worked for months on a prototype, and then it didn't make it to the trade fair after all." There was one newcomer he fell in love with immediately – twelve years ago, when the basic model of LANDA stood before him almost untouched in plain raw nettle. "Not long afterwards I had one at home, in blue leather. In the meantime I've treated it to a new cover in brown."

Looking back and into the future

In times when professional biographies are characterised by numerous moves and changes, Friedel Ortkraß is an exceptional phenomenon with his continuous employment in the same company. But he takes that in his stride, too: "In the 60 years of the company's history we have had only one change of management." He is referring to the year 1994, when the then 31-year-old Leo Lübke took over the management of the company from his father Helmut Lübke. "A successful change-over," he says, "the disruptions you hear about elsewhere have never occurred in this family company." Technologies and work processes have changed in many ways over the years. But manual production remains the most important thing that makes a piece of COR furniture what it has been for 60 years: "CONSETA is also a good example."He cultivates a partner-like relationship with the designers who provide ideas for new furniture: "Naturally, we have a somewhat different approach today and we have more freedom with regard to further development and execution." He sees the reasons for this in the equality between creativity and market success. "We are still bold and innovative in our designs, but we orientate ourselves just as much to our customers' requirements." He advises his young colleagues to make something of their lives, and he believes that learning a skilled trade is a good springboard.Next year, Friedel Ortkraß will begin his well-deserved retirement. How will he fill his new free time? "I will continue to busy myself with furniture," is the surprising yet logical answer in view of his life's work, on which Leo Lübke will congratulate him most sincerely on 1 April 2014.

About COR

The family business now owner-managed in the second generation was established in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Ostwestfalen on 17 December 1954 and currently employs 213 staff, including 139 skilled tradesmen and women. The product portfolio embraces upholstered suites, individual easy chairs, tables and chairs, divans and sofa beds, as well as carpets. Renowned designers have shaped the seating furniture manufacturer's award-winning collections for decades. These include Friedrich Wilhelm Möller, Peter Maly, Rolf Heide, Prof. Wulf Schneider, Studio Vertijet, Gabriele Assmann and Alfred Kleene, Gil Coste, Holger Janke, Jörg Boner, Jehs+Laub, Müller+Wulff, Karsten Weigel, Prof. Uwe Fischer, Murken+Hansen, Aurélien Barbry, Christoph Marchand and Kressel+Schelle.

For more information, please contact

COR Sitzmöbel Helmut Lübke GmbH & Co. KG
Berthold Strüve,  Marketing Manager
Nonenstraße 12, 33378 Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany
t +49.(0)5242.4102-240
f +49.(0)5242.4102-940
b.strueve@cor.de

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