'Those who build, believe in the future': successful opening in Langenhagen

Ralf Banse
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Opening speeches by Bart Wigman and Ralf Banse

In front of over 150 invitees, the production facility was officially opened on Thursday, January 11th, by Bart Wigman, owner of the Gielissen Group, and Ralf Banse, director of Gielissen Innenausbau GmbH. What began 85 years ago in a shed in Eindhoven has grown into an internationally operating company specializing in interiors, exhibitions, and events. Long-term clients like Continental AG, Facebook, and Nike rely on Gielissen as a reliable partner.

After the opening, Katja Kottmann, Business Development Manager at Gielissen GmbH, and Arne Schultchen, founder and Creative Lead at design for human nature, introduced their joint project teo: a digital mini-supermarket supplying rural areas with groceries. The interior of this innovative supermarket is entirely constructed in Gielissen's workshop.

Teo is presented as the 'perfect neighbor,' being open 24 hours and fostering a sense of social connection. Teo's concept includes daily groceries, charging points for electric bikes, outdoor seating, and even a bookshelf. Already 400 communities and cities have expressed interest in placing a teo. This project was the focus of the subsequent panel discussion on retail development.

Lively panel discussion on retail development

During the panel discussion, industry experts exchanged views, including Martin Kind (owner and director of the Kind Group), Arne Schultchen, Ralf Banse, and Katja Kottmann, on current developments in retail.

Martin Kind views teo as an innovative project that meets market needs. This openness to innovation distinguishes Gielissen from competitors, making it a particularly reliable partner for customers and suppliers.

The panel addressed the challenge of declining retail in large cities. They agreed on the need to enhance community spirit and make customers feel welcome. The focus should be on human needs. The panel was divided on the issue of car-free city centers. Martin Kind opposed the idea, seeing it as an obstacle. In contrast, Arne Schultchen viewed it as an opportunity for more human-friendly cities.

The meeting was moderated by Hartwig von Saß, project leader of the Real Estate Arena. He concluded the panel discussion with the words: "Those who build, believe in the future."

Workshop tours

During tours led by business manager Andreas Fritsch, guests could view the new workshop with its unique features and associated office and storage spaces. The fully automated material supply of the panel saw was demonstrated live, and the new heating system, fueled by wood waste from their own production, was showcased. In the warehouse, guests could view a wooden 'walk-in-cooler', soon to be part of the teos. The new office spaces are modernly furnished and equipped with built-in cabinets from their own production.


Cooperation with production locations in the Netherlands

A special feature of the new joinery is its integration into the network of existing Gielissen joineries in Eindhoven and Helmond. Orders can be processed by all three joineries together, as the machines are compatible and the work files used are identical. This gives Gielissen particular flexibility and allows the company to respond flexibly to order peaks.


Sustainable and innovative

The new production site is equipped with solar panels to generate electricity and uses wood waste to heat the building.

The machinery is also special: the material supply to the panel saw, the nesting CNC router and the 5-axis CNC router is completely CAD-controlled and fully automated. After prior work preparation, the machine decides independently which material is required for cutting. This material is then retrieved fully automatically from the panel store using suction devices and fed to the appropriate machine. Working with this innovative technology is virtually unique in the Hanover area.

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