Brunner is known around the globe as one of the leading manufacturers of contract furniture. For the Asia Pacific region, Brunner just welcomed two new faces….
8 September, 2020
Business is founded on the building blocks of good relationships, unequivocal support and enduring trust, and these traits are even more important today as we face an ever-changing world. For Jean Paul de la Haye and Grant Humphreys, coming together to work side-by-side could only have happened through a deep understanding and respect for each other, and in turn, an alliance with a company that embodies these same values. Today both men have found their place in an exciting new venture, as partners and active shareholders with the Brunner Group, and the establishment of Brunner Asia Pacific.
Both Jean Paul and Grant share similar backgrounds, although Jean Paul is from Germany and Grant from Australia. Both spent their formative business years in Australia working for a global furniture manufacturer and then progressed to Asia. Jean Paul was based in Singapore and responsible for the Asian region including two years looking after the Australian and New Zealand sales. Grant based in Hong Kong focused on the North Asian region and India, where he also lived on and off for a year to develop the market. However, after more than 20 years accumulated experience, and having successfully developed and managed business in the APAC region, it was time for the two colleagues and friends to strike out on their own.
Jean Paul and Grant’s admiration for Brunner, its management style, service integrity and outstanding product collections were the foundation for a new relationship.
In accord, they commented, “For us it was clear from the beginning that we wanted to work together. It was a natural progression for our respective careers. We wanted to create something long-term with consistent management goals and clear leadership and to be decision makers in the growth and direction of the venture.”
Brunner is not new to the region due to the partnerships with Zenith and Haworth, who have been supplying products to their customers throughout Asia Pacific for the last three years. These companies will continue to showcase the Brunner collections, however, with the support of Jean Paul in Singapore, Grant in Hong Kong, and Brunner HQ’s Export Manager, Elke Renk, Brunner will shine in the spotlight as never before.
Brunner was founded by Rolf and Helena Brunner in 1977. More than forty years ago, they set out in their second-hand VW kombi van to deliver an order that had been deemed ‘impossible’ to supply. Fulfilling the order and making the impossible a reality was the impetuous they needed, and so the couple established their own company that has now grown to become a leader in innovative and highly customised furniture solutions.
As a family owned and run business, Brunner is something of a rarity in today’s business environment, and with Dr Marc Brunner joining his parents in the role of the group’s Managing Director in 2004. Along with siblings, Philip, and Tina Lüdemann née Brunner, the family oversees the design, production, and sales at their state-of-the-art Innovation Factory in Rheinau, Germany.
In the setting of the Black Forest in Southern Germany, renowned for its scenery, food and wine, Brunner joins a plethora of well-known companies such as Daimler/Mercedes and Porsche to produce its quality products. Since inception, Brunner has thrived and now the company has over 540 employees – producing 500,000 chairs and 100,000 tables in 2019 alone. With affiliated sales companies, Brunner AG in Switzerland, Brunner SAS in France, and Brunner UK Ltd in the United Kingdom, Jean Paul and Grant are in good company to develop the Brunner brand and to reach its greatest potential throughout the APAC region.
Brunner has constantly collaborated with iconic European designers such as Jehs+Laub, the Ippolito Fleitz Group, Archirivolto, Justus Kolberg, and Wolfgang C.R. Mezger, to name a few and within the collections there is a continuum of design that embodies clean lines, form and function. The idea that a furniture piece should sit well within its surrounds without detracting from the whole is integral to the Brunner vision.
For example, take the A– and ray collections of chairs and tables by Jehs+Laub, different to the other in form, each range is ideal for any commercial or institutional project; or the slender fina chair by Wolfgang C.R. Mezger with multiple variations in material that make a design bespoke; and the cellular collection of chairs, sofas, work desks and tables by Archirivolto that provide comfort and individual privacy for today’s workplace or public space.
Grant Humphreys reiterated, “Brunner’s huge portfolio of product collections include options within the ranges to suit all scenarios and offer variety within one project. There is a large diversity in price ranges that start with entry level seminar furniture through to executive conferencing solutions with different products per industry sector such as workplace, public spaces, retail and hospitality.”
Jean Paul de la Haye and Grant Humphreys are men on a mission and there is no doubt that Brunner Asia Pacific will become a force to be reckoned with. As the two men share the workload, they are also both passionate about travelling and surfing. Often great ideas have been developed during these periods. To sum up why they have decided to partner with Brunner, Jean Paul elaborated, “the products are beautiful, there is a huge range, with world-class designers and the company’s young and dynamic leadership allows to bring new products to market within 6 months. Brunner is innovative with constant investment into better, greener and more efficient manufacturing.”
Grant continues, “Brunner has a fast reaction to market needs and there is a high level of customisation which is important. During our visit to the Brunner headquarter, we were impressed by the way all departments worked together and their willingness to provide support in this exciting new venture.”
After many years working in the Asia Pacific region, there is an understanding of the differences between the markets, people, and needs. This expertise will be the guiding force within Brunner Asia Pacific. To support the region and customers from day one, Jean Paul and Grant have already hired the first employee, Kate Ip, in her role as Operations Manager based in Hong Kong.
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