Rökona produces technical textiles in Tübingen and invests heavily in products with a sustainable impact – including warp knits made entirely of polyester rather than of several different materials. A conversation about recycling, innovation, and the right moment for innovation…

Wiha develops and produces hand tools for the international market. Based in Schonach in the Black Forest, the family-run company cultivates close ties with its target group – which it surprises time and time again with user-friendly innovations. No wonder Wiha products are a regular feature in the Focus Open awards!

Phoenix Design and Hansgrohe have been a professional couple for more than 30 years – a relationship that epitomises continuity. Even after such a long time, the partnership is still highly beneficial for both companies – our interview with Andreas Diefenbach (Phoenix Design) and Jan Heisterhagen (Hansgrohe) explores why.

Visual ergonomics? Yes, there is such a thing – at least at Interstuhl. Because even with an office chair for the B2B sector, it’s the first impression that counts. A task chair will only succeed if it’s visually compelling, surprising and shows its qualities. Interstuhl has been mastering that challenge for 20 years – together with design firms like ID AID from Stuttgart. A success story.

There’s a bright glow in the showroom, which is decked out entirely in black. Black is Sattler GmbH’s corporate colour, even though it sells the exact opposite: light. And very successfully too – because without fail, the family-run company from Göppingen relies on agility, quality, and of course design...

What can be done to help people with physical limitations stay mobile and take an active part in the world around them? Alber GmbH in Albstadt provides intelligent solutions with an electric core, designed by external studios.

In general aviation, it’s the technical performance of the aircraft that counts more than anything else. Hi-tech plays a crucial role in this sector – design doesn’t. But that’s changing, as sailplane manufacturer Schempp-Hirth is demonstrating with the help of design agency Ottenwälder und Ottenwälder.

Our new series Success Stories presents examples of productive collaboration between SMEs and design agencies. Our first report shows that heavy-duty winches for utility vehicles are projects that call for a great deal more than pure engineering. Rotzler, a winch system specialist based in the Southern Black Forest, trusts in the differentiating potential of design by the Defortec agency.