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A heavy table top rests on two black columns made from steel sheet, encircled in the middle by fine silver bands. The result is an elegant titan. The desk possesses a calm akin to that of a dependable machine that is just about to start up.

“This is a Mauser barrel-style desk from the 1950’s,” says Dieter Wiesemann, standing in the showroom of Mauser Einrichtungssysteme, located in the city of Korbach in central Germany. He is very proud. “Connoisseurs will spend €10,000 for this piece.” The desk was developed by the company’s founder, Alfons Mauser, whose face has been immortalized in the bust featured in the neighboring room.

Apparently, back in his day, he simply took the steel drums his company developed, placed them next to one another, and laid a board on top – and voilà, he became a design icon. “That’s the legend, anyway,” says Wiesemann. Martin Metzing, who works in Sales at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg, where he is responsible for the EU division, says “I would put that table in my office too.” He has clearly developed a taste for the style.

Dieter Wiesemann is Head of Sales at the Vauth-Sagel group of enterprises, which belongs to office and contract furniture manufacturer Mauser. The steel that Mauser uses to build its industrial cabinets and innovative storage systems, is purchased in Duisburg.

60 years of Mauser design: Dieter Wiesemann (left) on a barrel-style table from the 1950’s. Martin Metzing in front of a new element.x unit.
60 years of Mauser design: Dieter Wiesemann (left) on a barrel-style table from the 1950’s. Martin Metzing in front of a new element.x unit.

Longstanding business relationship

This customer-supplier relationship is older than the barrel desk itself. In 1921, founder Alfons Mauser purchased a former carbide factory in Waldeck, located in the German state of Hesse, and in 1929 he began producing steel furniture there.

The raw materials were supplied by Dortmund-based Hoesch, which became part of the Krupp Group in 1991 and then merged into ThyssenKrupp in 1999. The bond between Mauser and ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe is as solid and reliable as the steel that builds the foundation of their businesses.

“This steel enables us to produce pieces with tight radiuses and fine shapes,” explains Dieter Wiesemann. Thanks to precise processing, this steel has allowed for incredible work to be done in the new element.x series.

When pushed together and viewed from the front, the box-shaped modules form the ‘x’ that gives the series its name. The modules can be rearranged to form a variety of structures for public spaces, and very soon for private homes as well. This system shows what steel – and a long, productive business relationship – can create.

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