Tradition as The Base, The Future as a Model. Cornelia Lutz and Frank Neidlein on Handwerk & Design in Munich. An interview by Klimt02

Published: 28.02.2019
Cornelia Lutz & Frank Neidlein Cornelia Lutz & Frank Neidlein
Carolin Denter
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Photo by GHM.
Photo by GHM

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Organizing a successful fair requires attention to detail, creativity, and strategic planning. A fair is an opportunity for Exhibitors from around the world to present their goods and services to an interested audience. Since a fair is a large event with a variety of moving parts, it is important to have a strong planning group to provide support. A Fair organizer will also need a huge number of workers for the day of the fair, to assist with setup, staff registration, security, catering and to direct participants. If a fair has a dedicated team to assist, you can make a successful fair happen. For a successful fair, details make the difference. The Team of Handwerk & Design manage to create a memorable experience for exhibitors and visitors by anticipating their needs.

We talked with two main figures from the operator’s team, Cornelia Lutz, the project manager and Frank Neidlein project coordinator of Handwerk & Design.
Handwerk and Design is not just a fair, but a great platform for artists and craftsmen to collaborate and network, especially through the special shows SCHMUCK, TALENTE, and EXEMPLA. Please explain the concept of Handwerk and Design as a whole, what main goals does the fair have, what challenges?
Frank Neidlein: With “Handwerk & Design,” which takes places annually as part of the International Crafts Fair, we would like to offer outstanding national and international artists, artisans, and designers a high-profile, sophisticated platform. Over the past several years, “Handwerk & Design” has established itself very well at the Fairground Messe München and has grown steadily. Above all, the quality and diversity of artists continue to grow. Each year, the team curates the participating exhibitors, thus ensuring high quality and variety.

Hall B1 at Handwerk & Design, Arts and Crafts Association of Bavaria shows exhibits made from ceramics. Photo: GHM.

When did you both started with organizing the Handwerk & Design Fair and what drew you to this specific project?
Frank Neidlein: I have overseen “Handwerk & Design” for seven years, but even before this, I had a close relationship with craftwork. Before working for GHM, I worked for the Chamber of Trades for Munich and Upper Bavaria, which organizes the special exhibitions at “Handwerk & Design”, like SCHMUCK, TALENTE, EXEMPLA, and MEISTER DER MODERNE, among others. I also have a close relationship to the subject through my affinity to art and certain artists in my personal network.

Cornelia Lutz: I have worked in the trade fair industry for 19 years and have been responsible for the overall organization of the International Crafts Fair and “Handwerk & Design” for five years. My interest in customized and extraordinary products has always existed and has once again been positively reinforced by this project.

Please describe some of the programs that Handwerk & Design is involved with and how Handwerk & Design is a partner for the companies and artists, on a way to a successful future?
Cornelia Lutz: Handwerk & Design” is well-connected to the scene through the structure of the GHM with the Chamber of Trades for Munich and Upper Bavaria as well as the Galerie Handwerk in Munich. Furthermore, we have invaluable partnerships with the Danner Stiftung, the Neue Sammlung - The International Design Museum Munich, Galerie Marzee and the Bayerische Kunstgewerbeverein e.V.. Finally, we have many partnerships with national and international distributors. Through this network, we’re always able to be close to the market and our customers so we can respond to their needs.

Hall B1at Handwerk & Design, Consultation at "Handwerk für Leib und Seele ". Photo: GHM.

Is that still craft? Tradition as the base. The future as a model. This is the official leitmotif of the International Crafts Fair 2019. Please tell us more about this year’s Handwerk and Design, and what are the biggest innovations that will be presented in the exhibition halls this year?
Cornelia Lutz: The theme of the entire International Crafts Fair this year is “Is that still craft? Tradition as the base. The future as a model?” because craftwork has undergone an exciting evolution over the past few years and has innovated in many respects – through its products, services, and work environments. Many things have found their way into companies that at first glance seemingly have nothing to do with craftwork as it is normally imagined: new materials, modes of production, and distribution methods. For instance, jewelry designers and artisans are now using 3-D printing and other capabilities made possible by digitalization. Examples of this are also present at the fair. Of course, one exciting example is the special exhibition EXEMPLA, which this time follows the motto: “Textiles – Fabric of the future.” This exhibition deals with clothing as well as new possibilities for textiles in architecture. There will also be numerous artistic contributions to see. Naturally, the question posed in the motto is rhetorical because, yes, all of this is still craftwork. Indeed, an aspect of “Handwerk & Design” is to show and experience the artistry that makes up the craftsman.

Handwerk & Design, Ways into Design, Vocational Training in Bavaria, "Meisterschule für das Holzbildhauerhandwerk", Hall B1, Photo: GHM.

How do you choose companies and artist for your event, and to what extent is the selection curated? Please describe us your thoughts, and the process while selecting.
Cornelia Lutz: Each year, interested exhibition partners submit photos, videos, and information about themselves and their products that they would like to present and sell at the fair. With these, we can ensure through the selection process that the products satisfy our expectation of quality.

Hall B1 at Handwerk & Design, EXEMPLA 2018, "Craftmanship and cultural heritage", Stone Sculptor Schwartzenberg, Photo: GHM

When the fair is over, it is important to solicit feedback from exhibitors, visitors, the organizing committee and the employers. While you might know, it was a successful fair, comments from those involved will influence the planning of future events. Please describe the process after each fair and how you develop the program of the coming year.
Cornelia Lutz: The end of one fair is the beginning of another. Therefore, a debriefing is essential after each fair. Ultimately, we want to continue developing in conjunction with our exhibitors and visitors. The review itself is made up of many different aspects. As organizers of the fair, it’s very important for us to receive feedback from the exhibitors, as well as visitors, so we can draw a comprehensive conclusion. This includes, for example, satisfaction with the services provided by us and our partners, a pain-free setup and breakdown for the exhibitors, and the perception that we had a successful fair. To ascertain these results, we have many personal conversations during and after the fair and likewise, collaborate with a market research firm that carries out surveys. We analyze the results of all these discussions and then work on the continued development of the fair. Personal conversations within our project team and direct feedback from our exhibitors, visitors, and partners naturally play a special roll in this. We are of the opinion that personal contact is always key to a successful fair.

About the Interviewee

Cornelia Lutz was born 1976 in Lübeck (Schleswig-Holstein).
For the last 5 years she has been working for GHM as a project group leader for Handwerk & Design and the International Handwerksmesse.

Frank Neidlein was born 1980 in Crailsheim (Baden-Wuerttemberg).
Working for 7 years at GHM as a project consultant for Handwerk & Design.

About the author

Carolin Denter completed her training as Goldsmith at Master School for Craftsmen in Kaiserslautern in 2013. In 2015 she made an Internship at Klimt02, where she is working since 2016 as Content Manager. In 2017 she graduated as Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at University of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein. After her graduation, she started working part-time as Marketing and Design management Assistance at Campus Idar-Oberstein in the Gemstone and Jewellery Departement.