If you happen to be driving on Euroroute 4 between Malmö and Stockholm, you will pass a building that is hard to miss: the Kinnarps Arena stands in all its glory just outside Jönköping. It is Kinnarps’ largest sponsorship project and home ground for Jönköping’s own ice-hockey heroes HV71. And this is where Kinnarps employees from all over the world gathered for the company’s largest-ever internal product launch.
When the arena was inaugurated in the autumn of 2001, it was a welcome milestone in HV71’s history after many years in an ice stadium well past its prime. Now, autumn 2006 may be regarded as the next milestone in the arena’s history. Almost 1000 Kinnarps employees gathered here on September 14–15 for the premiere presentation of the four new product series that Kinnarps will launch at Stockholm’s Furniture Fair on February 7–11, 2007. The events programme was filled with entertainment, personal encounters and opportunities for learning more about Kinnarps.
“With Kinnarps’ largest ever product launch ahead of us, the choice of venue for the internal premiere was simple. We wanted a place with a Kinnarps atmosphere that could accommodate many people and was technically equipped for a magnificent show – Kinnarps Arena has everything”, says Birgitta Skoglund, Head of Sales at Kinnarps Marketing & Sales AB.
AN INSTRUCTIVE PRODUCT LAUNCH
The event was attended by Kinnarps employees from all over the world. The international guests also had an opportunity to get to know the arena, one of Kinnarps’ strategic sponsorship projects, as well as to visit the adjacent new showroom. An event of this size with guests from all parts of the world, all of them with Kinnarps as a shared bond, is naturally a fantastic occasion for exchanging know-how.
The guests swapped stories and learned about old and new aspects of Kinnarps. Some of the French visitors even came a week earlier to learn more about the production process.
“It was really great to have so many people come. Everyone was completely committed to the new products and was keen to learn more. With such a large international organisation as ours it means a lot for the sales staff to visit Kinnarps’ place of origin and get to know the ideas behind each product in order to understand all its advantages and applications. There’s something of a mystery behind the Kinnarps feeling that is felt just as strongly in France the UK, Poland or Croatia, as here in Sweden”, says Birgitta.
KINNARPS IS GROWING
A major product launch (whose content is still confidential, so we cannot write more about it before the next issue) and a number of instructive days for everyone at Kinnarps – but that’s not the only thing to have happened in Jönköping on the Kinnarps front this autumn.
“That’s right, we have also managed to inaugurate Kinnarps showroom number 23 – in Sweden – just alongside the arena”, says Birgitta. But apart from showroom number 23 in Jönköping, others have also been inaugurated in the autumn during a really hectic period of new establishments throughout Europe.
“We inaugurated new Kinnarps showrooms in Middelfart on Funen in Denmark and in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. This rapid rate of expansion is an expression of our ambition to grow and become stronger throughout Europe. We already began operations in Romania last autumn and are now consolidating our presence in Austria, Switzerland and Italy. The expansion aims principally to bring us closer to our customers, fill empty spaces on the map and further increase our level of service”, says Birgitta.
THE ARCHITECTURE PROJECTS THE BRAND NAME
With some 30 showrooms around Europe, all of them in strategically well-exposed locations, many people come in contact with Kinnarps every day. Rune Karlsson, architect at Kinnarps, sees the showrooms just as much as a way of projecting the Kinnarps brand name as a place for meeting customers and displaying products, “The architecture and profile of our showrooms is part of our marketing and communications strategy. We aim to give each showroom a unique character, adapted to the country’s architecture, to give the observer a sense of what Kinnarps is all about. We are currently focussing on the feeling of space and airiness by fitting a leaning glass structure around the display area”, says Rune.
So planning a new showroom has many parallels with the company’s core activity of developing furniture. Both activities are part of a whole and reflect Kinnarps’ way of shaping internal spaces and environments.
“One of the design conditions for the new showroom in Jönköping was that it could be seen from three directions. We spent a lot of time in giving each side an interesting appearance although the building naturally has a distinctive front. A new Kinnarps showroom should both reflect its time with contemporary features and retain certain classical elements; just like our furniture, it is not meant to be ephemeral but to last”, says Rune.
So next time you find yourself driving along Euroroute 4 through Sweden, you will have the opportunity of seeing Kinnarps twice over.And if you happen to be travelling on other roads in Europe, there’s a good chance that you will see something of Kinnarps’ international presence. By driving past Middelfart or Budapest, for example. Kinnarps is moving out into the world and you are welcome to join us on the trip.