The passionate artisans of LICHTERLOH – a visit to the LICHTERLOH Kunsthandel workshop

“Lichterloh – der Wohnverstärker” can be read on the facade over the shop on Gumpendorfer Straße. I found the address on the black and white WIEN PRODUCTS city map.  I am curious and want to see how the furniture from Lichterloh Kunsthandel is produced, so I head to their location in Vienna’s 10th district – Favoriten – in the Brotfabrik, the new name of the area.

Right at the entrance on Absberggasse I find LICHTERLOH – the enamel WIEN PRODUCTS sign is displayed next to the door, not to be missed. Markus Pernhaupt – one of the three owners of the company, greets me and I am given a brief introduction on who and what LICHTERLOH is.

Markus Pernhaupt, Dagmar Moser, and Christof Stein met in 1989 – Moser and Pernhaupt had just graduated from the Kolleg Innenarchitektur in Mödling, Stein was searching for professional challenges at the time as well.  Connected by their love of good design, they founded LICHTERLOH – der Wohnverstärker. Their passion – then and now – is finding, collecting, restoring, and designing. Furniture designs from Austria from the 20th and 21st century find particular appreciation with the specialists.

They were pioneers when they rescued Roland Rainer chairs from Vienna’s Stadthalle after being “disposed of” – as well as other Austrian designs from that time. Countless pieces of furniture that were on their way to the landfill were saved from their fate.

The days of Biedermeier furniture are long gone in Vienna – vintage and 50s designs are hot – their dealers are booming. LICHTERLOH is a beacon in this industry – they are passionate about this furniture.

The workshop in the Brotfabrik is divided into three areas – I am shown the separate rooms where people are hard at work. In the carpenter’s workshop there is a pleasant smell of wood in the air – along with restoration work, mini batches of LICHTERLOH furniture designed by Markus Pernhaupt are produced here.

Next-door is the metal department – a new cabinet is just being completed and is getting its metal doors. Clamps are carefully removed and the steel plate doors are fitted to the cabinet. You can see that the men know what they are doing.

A few steps further there is more work being done… “We are renovating and expanding our workshop,” explains Markus Pernhaupt. Sound proofing panels are being attached to the ceiling – “so that the tenants above us are not disturbed while we are working and the machines are noisy…”

We are standing in front of a dresser that has a drawer for every day of the week, hence the name “Monday to Sunday.” Brushed oak meets colored glass in this piece, harmonious shapes and colors – this is the kind of furniture you’d like to have in your home. Next to it is 3:2 – a cabinet with moveable perforated plates that serve as sliding doors and also make the piece an eye-catcher… The pieces that Pernhaupt designed have cool names – Thekla – the circular shelving, Birka, a beautifully simple daybed, or Knecht – a bookshelf with a sustainable feel to it. Everything is available in limited numbers – nothing is produced for stock. Select, fine materials, a simple linear shape, the perfect craftsmanship, and sparingly used colors make this furniture exceptional.

Along with the new designs, old pieces are professionally refurbished and adapted to today’s safety regulations – the wiring in lamps requires particular attention – the team is constantly searching for the right pieces or making copies if necessary. All in the name of design and as defined by their designers.

LILO – what the three owners call their shop on Gumpendorfer Straße – has been a marketplace for unique pieces of furniture and a venue for legendary events for almost 30 years now.

They would like to become more active in the Brotfabrik in the future. There are exciting plans for the property that have not yet been revealed.

But one thing is certain – the quality of the furniture is definitely worth the walk to LICHTERLOH Kunsthandel.