The AMPELMANN company
Great freedom, grey on grey and bright colours today
The Tübingen designer Markus Heckhausen became an impassioned “new Berliner”, threw himself into the subculture art scene and watched what was going on. He took on the Ampelmännchen that had been thrown away, picking them up from the street with his own hands, and when necessary rescuing them from the yards of the road maintenance departments before they fell victim to the shredder. Together with Karl Peglau, the inventor of the Ampelmännchen, he succeeded in rescuing them.
Shop in the Hackesche Höfe as it once was and today
Then everything happened really quickly: Heckhausen opened his first shop “in these beautiful courtyards” in the Hackescher Markt: a globally unique ensemble of buildings containing apartments and craft businesses in eight intercommunicating courtyards. For a long time AMPELMANN ran all its business in the Hackesche Höfe, with its head office, shop, office and warehouse in one. The first and original AMPELMANN shop is still there today. But let’s do things in the right order …
Facts and figures about AMPELMANN
Success for the AMPELMANN products
Opening of the first shop
Karl Peglau still on board
Shop and Café on the Ku’damm opened
Flagship store on Unter den Linden opened
20 years of AMPELMANN
Shop in Berlin Tegel Airport opened
Events in Germany, which like so many things were more concentrated in Berlin, shaped the future. In 2006, for example, the World Cup brought Germans from the East and West just as close together as they had been in the days after the Wall fell.
At AMPELMANN, we were naturally right in the first row of fans celebrating here in Berlin. We even developed our own special product range dedicated to the World Cup. Everywhere in Germany, in front of screens and televisions too, many people began to show a new sense of community and national pride, possibly for the first time ever. We were in tune with the times, and we still draw inspiration from this today. We felt the changes, and AMPELMANN was and still is a part of them.
Continuous development, innovative concepts and good ideas make AMPELMANN fans happy and lead the way to the future. As well as our in-house Design Team (today around 10 creative people from all over the world), our Marketing and the experience associated with the AMPELMANN Shops are becoming increasingly important.
AMPELMANN is still owner-managed today. Markus Heckhausen, the founder of the company and its CEO, sees the Ampelmännchen as historical figures, cultural assets which should be preserved and shared in their authentic form. So as a designer, he considers that aesthetics, sustainable manufacture and of course usefulness are important in all AMPELMANN products. “I pay great attention to quality”, Heckhausen emphasises, “and we try to work with producers from East Germany as often as possible. We owe it to the brand.”