The FLÖTOTTO Brand
Flötotto from 1906 until the present – a family with an entrepreneurial spirit Since Heinrich Flötotto founded the company in 1906, the Gütersloh-based Flötotto firm has undergone a process of continual development to become one of the best-known of German furniture brands. Today, more than a third of the German population knows the name of the traditional company, which, since 2008, has been headed by the founder’s great-grandson Frederik Flötotto, representing the fourth generation of the family to lead the company.
From a cabinetmaker’s workshop to industrial production: due to an early move into industrial production, in the 1940s, the company quickly developed to become a large furniture producer. Heinrich’s sons Franz and Fritz then joined the company. While Franz continued to produce domestic furniture, in the 1950s, Fritz started to develop ergonomically designed office and school furniture. In 1952, he patented the innovative pagwood ‘Formsitz’, which later became known the world over: a seat shell for chairs, made from beechwood veneers soaked in phenolic resins and fused under high pressure and temperature – basically a wooden seat shell offering the qualities of plastic. The Flötotto Formsitz has sold more than 21 million units.
Between 1969 and 1991, the family’s third generation took over. Franz’s sons Franz, Elmar and Hubertus, as well as Fritz’s son Reinhard, independently of each other developed different areas of the business, which were all related to the production or retail of furniture for the private and public sectors. In the 1970s, a pioneering design was developed at Flötotto that today still shapes the brand’s strong image: the Flötotto Profilsystem is a sturdy-yet-flexible design that has become a classic. At the same time, Flötotto was one of the first companies to sell their furniture directly to private customers, thus entering into new forms of distribution.