Schwarzmann Production of Wooden and Windows & Doors

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Windows and doors are links. Links connecting inside and outside, man and nature. Made from wood, they have given buildings in both urban and rural contexts their characteristic appearance for centuries. Claus Schwarzmann was brought up in this tradition, this is the legacy that he has continued in the past 20 years. He learnt all the skills and tricks of the trade from his father Felix. Felix himself grew up in a family of joiners and, in 1971, founded his own business in Schoppernau. Back then, window frames were produced mostly in the warmer months. Today, it can be done all year round. Each order, be it big or small, be it for box bay windows, wood-aluminum windows, pivoted windows, shutters, balcony doors or some special solution, is processed individually. Focusing on the production of windows was an entrepreneurial decision, aiming at showing skill and strength in a market dominated by industrial producers and wholesale dealers, and to showcase the full design potential of wooden window frames. This way, the individual character of a house, be it old or new, can be preserved. In all this, Claus Schwarzmann is supported by the six members of his team and cooperating architects and partners. His father Felix takes care of knowledge transfer, his son Jan Schwarzmann of the company’s future.

As is common in family-run businesses, expansions are made step by step and in accordance with what is sensible and reasonable economically and production-wise. Today, the workshop comprises 1,600sqm and two parallel production lines. Mortise and tenon joints, used for the traditional local type of window, are still made on the old machine that Felix, the father, bought back in the day. Thanks to a modern CNC production line, however, even large orders (of various types of windows) can be realised today. Either way, every tool is matched with the right task, and a lot of thought is put into new acquisitions. Let’s say Claus Schwarzmann dreamt of a machine for making corner joints without the use of extra wood. Well, he will not stop tinkering and racking his brain until he finds or gets the technology he needs. In this particular case, he brought the ultimate state-of-the-art machine in this sector to his workshop in Schoppernau two years ago. Buying it was a team decision, and there are many of those. After all, it is nice to find solutions as a team.

Choosing the best materials is key in making high-quality products. Each step of the whole process is controlled personally. 

The solid wood window and its advantages: For a local client, 30 solid wood windows are being produced, the material of choice being local fir. Choosing the best material is key in making high-quality products, so only winter-cut wood is used here. It is provided by an experienced, reliable, long-term local partner. When it comes to cutting and sorting timber, it takes profound knowledge of the material. Which part of a tree is used for what purpose? Then there’s machine milling and grinding, followed by manual assembly, surface treatment, fitting of fittings and glazing. Up until on-site installation, each step of the process is controlled in the workshop. This means that everyone involved needs to know a lot about the treatment of wood and the properties, characteristics and advantages of this material. And there are quite some of them (and clients need to know this, too): Wood is not only beautiful, it is also the right choice from an ecological and economic point of view. Moreover, it is a local resource, it is durable and can be repaired. In the federal state of Vorarlberg, there even is government aid available for those who want to revamp their old wooden windows.

In Claus Schwarzmann’s case, new solutions are found also in collaborations with architects, and winning awards in the Handwerk + Form competitions clearly makes for good publicity and a nice reputation. As a board member at Werkraum Bregenzerwald, Claus Schwarzmann plays an active role in setting the framework for all craftspeople working in the Bregenzerwald. One day, he welcomed design students at the Royal College of Art, London, to his workshop – the material manifestation of culture in this part of the world.