Of all the manufacturing workshops, ateliers and factories we have seen this was the most intimidating. The pungent smell, the dust in the air, the noise and foremost: the heat! We followed the steps of making cast iron pots. How did we get here?
Berthold Hoffmann is a maker. His brand: Hoffmann Metallgefässe, Nürnberg. Outstandingly aesthetic cast iron pots and pans made of metal. His design speaks the language of Bauhaus and is reduced to function and beautifully timeless.
He manufactures pots, pans, table-top fondues and grills. His pieces are designed to last a lifetime. Metal is his material, cast-iron to be precise. We wanted to know how his products are made.
So after a visit to his atelier where he ‘just’ finishes what comes out off the foundry, he took us to Max Ginter Giesserei in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz. Their specialty: being a rather small foundry they can work small pieces and handle individual prototypes as well as small series, no matter how small the quantity. The principle is always the same, the blast furnace heats and melts metal at over 1400°C. This is then poured into a form.
It was at the peak of summer when we visited. There we were, standing a grand industrial hall. All windows are stained by decades of dust, dirt and fumes. Huge boxes float in the air, one walks on quartz sand (that is used as filling) which never provides a solid stand, flames and glowing liquid metal seems to be everywhere, even small metal balls (from the sand blasting) hitting your head, never be sure what to touch we felt the desk-top wimps that we sometimes are in this industrial environment of infernal dimensions.
Berthold Hoffmann’s pieces of table- and kitchen culture and his cast iron pots are award winning. The latest he won in 2016 (German Design Award). Having learned not only the academicals but also the crafts necessary to design, form and process outstanding quality. His brand was established in 1985 in Nürnberg. He resides now in atelier in a backyard in Senefelder Strasse. Besides cast iron kitchen pots and pans he also fabricates silver wear like tea and coffee pots.