Furnishing the future, since 1899.

Company profile

Family-run for four generations, Zimmer + Rohde is a leading textile manufacturer, based in Europe. Founded in 1899, tradition and experience mark every step we take to continually offer exclusive furnishing, innovative design and expert advice. Our design department uses the best materials and skillfully implements ideas by collaborating with the finest weaving mills and printers around the world.We honour the legacy of consistent craftsmanship, while advancing into the future, to explore new techniques and bring  dreams to life. With subsidiaries in New York, Paris, Milan, London, Dubai and Hong Kong, Zimmer + Rohde’s quality is renowned worldwide.
 

From textile trading to a fabric manufacturer, a journey through Zimmer + Rohde history.

The company Marx & Rohde – which would later go on to be better known as Zimmer + Rohde – was founded by Ernst Rohde and Max Marx in December 1899. The company started life as a textile trading company and rapidly established contacts throughout Europe.

In spite of an impending economic crisis, the international company moved to larger business premises in 1906 and managed to build on its long-term business relationships, even in these difficult circumstances. During the financial crisis that emerged around 1906, Marx & Rohde was so profitable that different banks offered securities in the form of company shares.

The fabrics distributed by the company during this time were lavishly decorated hand-embroidered or woven products, such as lampas fabrics. This sumptuous weaving method gave rise to opulent floral patterns and embellishments, which in turn gave interiors and decorative fabrics a certain charm and sense of prestige. Both founders initially travelled for two to three months at a time to present their elegantly hand- embroidered and lavishly decorated fabrics to customers in person. From the 1930s onwards, official representatives travelled on the behalf of the company owners. Exports during this period were primarily to countries in Eastern Europe.

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1899 | Ernst Rohde, the great-grandfather of our current owner Andreas Zimmer, founds his own company together with Max Marx: Marx & Rohde.

The ‘fin de siècle’ ushered in what is referred to in art history as ‘Art Nouveau’, a style which reached its apogee between 1896 and 1920. Furniture produced during this period is primarily typified by a sense of playfulness and experimentation. The search for new design options and patterns, turning away from the familiar, a willingness to appropriate unusual shapes and combinations, and the use of intricate and floral motifs shaped the art world at the beginning of the 20th century.

Art Nouveau was replaced by Art Deco from about 1920 onwards. Although this style is associated with the decorative arts, it favoured simple, geometrical designs in interiors and did not eschew the industrial manufacturing techniques that were emerging at the time. Nevertheless, it is still possible to recognise a certain intricacy and elegance in Art Deco, which stands in stark contrast to the Bauhaus style prevalent in the worlds of art, design and architecture. Bauhaus arose around the same time and lasted up until about 1933. Functionality and rationality are the hallmarks of this style. Bauhaus furniture – in line with the pragmatic nature of Bauhaus architecture – is designed to be as purpose-oriented as possible, and is thus created solely on the basis of practicality. Rigid plastic geometric shapes such as cuboids, rectangles and spheres are a quintessential feature of Bauhaus. A further defining characteristic of this style is its radical rejection of flourishes and decorative elements.

While we often speak of the ‘Golden Twenties’ when it comes to the art and cultural output of this decade, the economic situation at companies like Marx & Rohde was less than prosperous. It was almost impossible to do business with anyone due to hyperinflation and the devaluation of the German mark.

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1906 | The company moves to larger business premises in spite of an impending economic crisis. This has a knock-on effect on trade relations abroad and restructuring the company becomes a top priority.

1919 | Georg Zimmer joins the company after marrying Ernst Rohde’s daughter.

1925 | Georg Zimmer becomes Max Marx’s business partner and establishes new contacts abroad.

1933 | Co-founder Max Marx dies a few days after the National Socialists take power.

1941 | The National Socialists order the company name to be changed to Zimmer + Rohde.

Georg and Horst Zimmer founded Taunus Textildruck Zimmer GmbH after the Second World War. Following the death of Georg Zimmer in 1950, Horst Zimmer ran the textile printing company alone at first, until, in the early 1950s, Anton Rudolf Czerny – a technological genius and excellent chemist – joined the firm. A little later, Rudolf Czerny married Gerda Zimmer, Horst’s sister.

From the very beginning, the stated aim of the company was to produce exquisite, artistically designed interior design fabrics of outstanding print quality. The 1960s was a difficult period for the textile industry. During this time, these high standards, as well as technical innovations in fabrics, became crucial to the company’s survival. They also produced a large number of clothing fabrics as well as household textiles.

Right into the 1960s, Horst Zimmer himself dealt with the creation of fabric designs. Then he met the creative Erich Bültmann, who took over management of the design department, then known as the development department. ‘It is very difficult to find someone who is creative and at the same time has one eye on commercial matters, who motivates their colleagues and can also deal with customers,’ said Horst Zimmer, describing his luck at having acquired the designer for Taunus Textildruck. At that time, the development department already consisted of a large team, consisting of textile designers, graphic designers and colour chemists.

Indeed, ever since the firm was founded, it had worked with a range of freelance textile designers, such as Janosch from the 1950s onwards, and Jack Lenor Larsen since 1962. An old windmill on the Taunus premises was turned into a live-in studio so that the guest designers could follow the printing process.

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1945 | Horst Zimmer joins the company. The effects of the Second World War push the company to embark on a new beginning.

1950 | Horst Zimmer takes control of the company after the death of his father, Georg Zimmer.

1953 | Ernst Georg Zimmer, brother from Horst Zimmer joins the company. He becomes an expert in the prevailing styles of the era, and contributes to the collection on the basis of this knowledge. Zimmer + Rohde develops its characteristic style, which is typified by timeless elegance, and sets high manufacturing standards in the post-war years. 40 workers are employed in administration and warehousing at this time.

The seventies were a time of reorientation in the spirit of critique – you could say that ‘critical’ became the buzzword of this decade. Conformity in consumer behaviour waned, while new ways of living and lifestyles like communes and shared living spaces flourished. While earning a livelihood and building a career had spurred on the post-war generation, self-discovery and recreation were the objectives of young people in the 1970s. The marketing of design products was influenced by a youth culture that markedly and consciously rejected the style endorsed by its parents. IKEA opened its first German store in Munich in 1974 and developed functional and low-cost furniture for a wide target audience throughout the decade. But high-quality designs such as the Eames chair also enjoyed great success and breathed new life into the world of interior design.

Alongside nature-inspired earthy tones like brick red, avocado green, beige and mustard, rooms were painted in all the colours of the rainbow. From lamps, to bed linens and walls, right through to furniture, there was a sudden explosion in colour. The increasing use of plastics made the manufacturing of light, brightly coloured furniture and objects a possibility, continuing on from the ‘space’ design popular in the 1960s.

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1967/68 | The company relocates to new business premises in Oberursel. Also in Germany the sales organisation is restructured so that regional commercial agents become field representatives who inform a growing number of retailers about the latest collection.

1968 | The first advisory board is convened, chairman is Dieter Latscha.

1974 | The textile trading company becomes a fabric manufacturer. Horst Zimmer creates his own collections with the help of freelance designers. This gives rise to product lines such as the ‘Collection 111’ – 111 colours that can be combined with any design form the basis of this concept.

Style in the eighties was colourful, flamboyant and bold. A motley crew of artists and other creatives who wanted nothing less than to radically upend the world of design convened in Milan during this decade. Congregating around the then head designer of Olivetti, Ettore Sottsass, young designers like Michele De Lucchi, Matteo Thun and Barbara Radice were prepared to turn all that had come before them on its head. They developed the socalled ‘Memphis style’ to counter the prevailing trend of functionalism, which manufacturers and customers were proselytising at the time. It became a by-word for dazzling colours, flashy patterns, unusual material combinations and basic, geometric shapes jigsawed together asymmetrically.

Brash colours and outrageous patterns also created a furore in the fashion world. From frilly blouses with oversized puff sleeves, to patent skirts with wide belts and multi-coloured Versace shirts, right through to pegged pants – the 80s were all about scene stealing.

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1983 | Andreas Zimmer joins the company. He is committed to developing international business relationships, and builds up the exports department with multilingual employees. There are approximately 85 employees working at the company at this time.

1984 | The design department is established and Renate Weisz is appointed the first in-house textile designer.

1986 | Clifton Textiles, London, is acquired.

1987 |  Ramsona, New York, is acquired. Andreas Zimmer becomes manager of the company as the fourth member of his family to do so. The ‘Bonaventura’ collection is released. This product line, with its flamboyant interplay of colours and geometrical shapes, is a bestseller and goes on to become the most successful collection in the company’s history. 130 employees now make up the company. A new graphic concept by Massimo Vignelli, which features a new logo, provides the company with a consistent corporate image.

1988 | Distribution companies are founded in Paris, Milan, Switzerland and New York. Construction of the new Creation building in Oberursel is completed that same year. It receives many awards because of its ground-breaking architecture.

People’s attitude to life in the 1990s was imbued with a sense of freedom, when just a decade before, you had had to fight for individual opportunities, lifestyles and liberties. The youth of the 90s no longer had to battle it out. You could be anything you wanted if you put your mind to it – a president, an astronaut or even a Nobel Prize winner. The world was your oyster. This sheer diversity of opportunities was reflected in the new trend of collages, which could be found everywhere and used for all sorts of purposes: presentations, artwork, room decorations on the wall, fashion and even as a design feature on fabrics.

Black and white photography was back in vogue, as photographers like Peter Lindbergh and Terry Richardson captured people’s personalities in their art and gave the seemingly fickle world of fashion an added depth. The monochrome hype was reflected in more black furniture arriving on the scene in the world of interior design. The graphic trend of the 80s continued to live on during this decade, albeit in a more concentrated form: The patterns were more minimalistic, while the colours were less loud and flashy. The Memphis style quickly gained a foothold in fashion and interior design, as well as the SCRIPTURA collection with its collages, straight lines and graphic fabrics primarily in black and white.

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1990 | Horst Zimmer leaves the company.

1994 | Zimmer + Rohde purchases ardecora. The brand incorporates heavy velvet and the finest silks, artfully embellished damask and sensual velour structures in its fabrics.

1998 | A full subsidiary of the company is founded in Italy.

The noughties marked the dawn of a new millennium that, despite a rocky beginning with the gloomy solar eclipse and menacing Y2K, turned out to be the party of the century. Record after record was smashed on the stock market, as the new economy seemed to flout all the rules of business economics. The Internet really began to take off, while increased networking fuelled globalisation, which came on leaps and bounds during this period. The whole world stood in shock as it witnessed the terror attacks of 11 September 2001. The Western world grew ever closer, especially upon the introduction of the euro in 2002. Mobile phones became an intrinsic aspect of daily life – not to mention YouTube and online shopping.

The planet felt smaller than ever before, as everywhere and everyone was suddenly within reach. Life became fast-paced and eventful. The designer world conveyed this trend in a more experimental way than ever before, and brought out highly original designer pieces time after time, like Chair One by Konstantin Grcic in 2003. Carpets were replaced by red-tinged beechwood, parquet flooring and terracotta tiles. Warm tones like yellow, orange and red became popular, bringing the feel-good atmosphere of the Mediterranean into the home. Walls and ceilings in sunny colours combined with upholstered furniture in shades of red and orange were right on trend.

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2001 | Zimmer + Rohde purchases ETAMINE. With a Mediterranean feel and an unmistakable joie de vivre, the brand embodies a bright and romantic lust for life. The light, fresh colours, which span both soft and intense tones, are combined with floral prints on sophisti- cated linen or elegant silk.

2003 | After the successful introduction of the ‘Get Together’ furniture line, Zimmer + Rohde launches its second addition to the collection. The French designer Damien Langlois-Meurinne is the creative power behind the Zimmer + Rohde furniture range. Master craftsmen then transpose his specifications and make each individual piece by hand.

2005 | Zimmer + Rohde purchases Hodsoll McKenzie. Inspired by the British classics, these subtle but sophisticated creations made of linen, silk, wool and cotton offer traditional designs with modern flair.

2007 | Zimmer + Rohde purchases the company Cetec, which later becomes its sales agent in Asia with a headquarters in Hong Kong. Zimmer + Rohde purchases Travers. With its eclectic mix of patterns, the brand creates traditional textile art with a new and modern twist.

2010 | Zimmer + Rohde celebrates its 111th anniversary.

2011 | Wallpapers are added to the Zimmer + Rohde product range. Five collections – ranging from textile wallpapers to handmade artworks – are now available.

2013 | Zimmer + Rohde purchases ADO Goldkante. The most well-known German brand for curtains is rejuvenated and modernised in terms of its designs and its corporate image.

2014 | The fabric warehouse is relocated from Oberursel to the newly built service centre in Cheb, Czechia with approximately 140 new employees.

2017 | Zimmer + Rohde is proud to introduce the ‘Masterpieces’ collection, its first exclusive cushion collection.

2019 | After 36 years at the helm of Zimmer + Rohde, Andreas Zimmer has gradually handed over management of the company to Torsten Poschardt from May 2019 onwards.

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