K + W Fotografie: Turning grand designs into outstanding pictures
It is something special the photographers of K+W Fotografie and the furniture and kitchen designer holzrausch have created. Not a simple working relationship, but a true co-operation based on mutual understanding and friendship. For years now the photographers have been capturing in pictures what the designers and carpenters at holzrausch have created with their hands and minds.
Maybe the key factor is that they have the same attitude to work, the same understanding of design and how it should be portrayed in pictures. But maybe it is simply because they got along so well from the very beginning. When master carpenters Tobias Petri and Sven Petzold, heads of holzrausch, and photographers Marc Winkel-Blackmore und Thomas Koy met, they soon laid the basis for a cooperation that would last for years. One creating spaces, the other capturing them in photography.
holzrausch – as one of the partners in this hugely successful cooperation – stands with heart and soul for true craftsmanship, proven through quality work and their orientation not only on form but also on function. The holzrausch founders Tobias Petri and Sven Petzold have known each other since their teenage years and since then have become close friends. What started with brainstorming and discussing design ideas soon led them to found their own business. In 1998, they moved into their own cabinetmaker workshop in Forstern, a small community about 35 kilometres east of Munich.
Today their main focus lies in designing and building high-quality and bespoke kitchens and interiors, and that all over Europe. “holzrausch’s interior and furniture design is always the continuity of the existing architecture – spatial extensions in the true sense of the word,” says Birgit Lehner, responsible for communications at holzrausch. The design philosophy is easily put into a few words: “Craftsmanship, reduction to the essential and love for detail”. Or, to put it differently, holzrausch plans, designs and builds furniture and interiors, which allow architecture to unfold its full potential through a dialogue with the space.
Materials are key features in design
From the very beginning, Tobias Petri and Sven Petzold have put great emphasis on the use of quality materials. “Each combination of materials lends a special character to our work – every product is unique and takes into account not only the architecture but also the homeowner’s wishes and personality.” It takes a great deal of time and effort to choose the right materials that will later determine the look and feeling of a room. Natural and sleek components play a significant role in holzrausch designs: wood, glass, natural stone or concrete, steel or glass. “What is important is that the materials age well and even after many years still reveal their original quality.”
Not sought but found: When two solo photographers became a team
To put the used materials and the overall design in the right light is the task of photographers Marc Winkel-Blackmore und Thomas Koy. Both had already worked as photographers for some time when they first met through mutual friends. In 2005, they started their cooperation that now operates under the name K + W. “At this point we both had become quite fed up with working as ‘One-Man-Shows’ and doing everything alone – acquisition, location scouting, taking pictures, image editing not to mention the endless hours driving around in the car,” says Thomas Koy. “And on the other hand I had realised that I was really good at some things but had weaknesses in others.” Something easily mended when working in a team.
Both photographers have quite an interesting biography and career: Thomas Koy, a German and Swiss national, was born in Paris, but grew up in Munich. In 1997, he moved to Berlin where he first completed several internships and worked as freelance assistant for Sheila Metzner, Stefan Indlekofer and others. In 2000, he started his own business and since 2006 has concentrated on photography full time – at the beginning solely working in the field of photojournalism and portrait photography. Marc Winkel-Blackmore was born in Düren in 1970 and at the age of 14 bought his first camera. He is a self-taught photographer who studied economics in Cologne before finally turning his passion into a profession. Since 1995 he has worked as freelance art photographer and has exhibited his work in Cologne and Berlin. During that time Marc Winkel-Blackmore also started working as photographer of architecture, a field he had trained in under H. G. Esch.
Different temperaments but a joint result
In putting both their knowledge and expertise together Marc Winkel-Blackmore and Thomas Koy hoped to gain new and regular clients who liked the idea of mixing architecture and portrait photography with corporate imagery. “From the very beginning we liked working together and we both had nothing to lose since we both already had our own businesses,” says Koy. While Thomas Koy is quite spirited, likes to talk and brainstorm, works fast and has an abundance of ideas, Marc Winkel-Blackmore is more reserved, thinks things through thoroughly first and then comes up with ideas completely different to those of his colleague. In short, their temperaments and characters balance each other, which is exactly what makes their joint projects so successful. From the very beginning they advertised themselves as what they are: a unique team in a business where teamwork is a rarity.
Maybe this is why it simply ‘clicked’ when Marc Winkel-Blackmore und Thomas Koy first worked together as a team for holzrausch GmbH. Why teamwork is so important for them is something the carpenters understand quite well. “Teamwork plays a key role at holzrausch as well,” says holzrausch spokesperson Birgit Lehner. “As joke we often say our team consists of architects, interior designers, wood technicians, surface technicians, master carpenters and apprentices, or in other words: possessed people in love with detail, aesthetes, adventurers, lunatics obsessed with materials, and of course also those with their feet on the ground.” For holzrausch, finding intelligent solutions is key and developing new ideas is a team effort that needs different personalities with different visions. “Having different perspectives is critical in our field,” says Lehner. “And that is exactly what we see when working with K+W; because they work in a team they see things from different angles, one might focus on a long shot, while the others sees the detail. And that is exactly what we need.”
Modern kitchen design photographed in the right light
holzrausch’s main expertise as a designer and planning office lies in modern kitchen design, often big bold blocks of metal, stone and wood that structure the room and capture the light falling in through the windows – no matter if dark or light materials have been used. It is not an easy task to photograph something like that so clients can actually see and appreciate all the design elements in pictures. There is not only the room in itself and the special mood and atmosphere the design has created, but also often tiny elements that transform a good design into something really special.
Thomas Koy had worked for holzrausch for a few years already when he first took Marc Winkel-Blackmore to the set, then posing as Koy’s assistant. holzrausch was only Koy’s client and had only booked him, but both photographers had already discovered how much they enjoyed working together. “Even then Marc Winkel-Blackmore set a new standard. He took some pictures on location that were really good, things I would not have seen since I am not an architecture photographer,” says Thomas Koy. The holzrausch founders Tobias Petri und Sven Petzold also liked what they saw and from that point on K+W worked as team of photographers for a team of carpenters. It simply fits.
For the photographers it played a role that holzrausch at that point was a fast growing business: It allowed them to grow alongside, to grow as a team and business. “Architecture photography for us has become the perfect form of aesthetic expression, the camera is the tool we use to turn ideas into pictures.” Using mostly natural light gives their pictures a natural feel many customers appreciate. Like holzrausch: “Over the years we have developed a natural working relationship with K+W that does not need many words. The quality of their pictures speaks for itself,” says Birgit Lehner.
TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN | PHOTOS: K + W FOTOGRAFIE FOR HOLZRAUSCH PLANUNG GMBH
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