Hanover has a long history of craft and innovation. The capital of Lower Saxony is the home of the gramophone and the first ever record, and is often credited as the launchpad of worldwide renaissance of craft beer. Today the city is reinventing its handmade heritage, as a new wave of craftsmen and women creates wonderful accessories, jewellery and homewares in studios and workshops across this beautiful city.
Weaving a new style
For centuries Lower Saxony was known for intricate and beautiful tapestries, and the region’s tradition of weaving and knitting remains strong. One of Hanover’s best examples of the contemporary reinterpretation of Saxon traditions is the array of accessories and homeware from Hanover brand Lola Schöne Dinge. The store is located on Lichtenbergplatz in the city’s Linden district and its name translates into English as ‘Lola’s beautiful things’. It stocks hand-knitted scarves, cuffs and snoods made from soft cashmere as well as pillows and throws constructed from vintage linen and lace, ensuring each piece is one of a kind.
In particular, the traditional art of hand weaving has enjoyed something of a resurgence in the city over the past decades, with today’s German craftsmen and women choosing not only to reside in the city but also to train there. One hand weaver who mastered the craft in Hanover is Lucia Schwalenberg, who creates unique pieces alongside small collections of scarves, silks and table linens from her workshop in Wennigsen on the outskirts of the city. Schwalenberg was nominated for a 2014 German Design Award.
In addition to the traditionally styled, handmade knitted accessories you may expect from Hanover’s craft culture, the city is also home to some of the most innovative jewellery makers in Germany. Dorlis Meier is just one of many goldsmiths who call Hanover home. To create her jewellery line, Le Superflu, Meier trawls local flea markets and art fairs to find materials inspired by her own childhood, and creates jewellery that is not only beautiful but also evokes a sense of nostalgia from her studio in the Ostadt area of the city.
Taking a similar artisanal approach, Hanoverian jewellery design graduate Christina Timmermann creates unique statement jewellery, crafted in her studio in Hemmingen. Timmermann’s colourful cocktail rings, earrings and pendants feature large oval crystals, porcelain and pearls, and take inspiration from the classic jewellery designs of early 20th-century Germany.
One area of Hanover’s handicraft culture that has seen a huge revival in recent years is handmade homeware, from drapery to carpeting and kitchenware to wall decorations. In the heart of the city’s industrial sector, Bodenkleid produces unique hand-tufted rugs and textiles. The brand is run by textile design graduate Julia M Langstein, and, in true artisanal fashion, the carpetmaker will create a carpet to your own specification in your choice of fabric – a couture approach to carpet weaving.
The Snug studio is striving to take handcrafted Hanoverian interiors worldwide. The driving forces behind the label are interior designer Kerstin Reilemann and architect Berit Lüdecke. They began working together in 2010 and their work is now stocked across the globe. From their workshop on the city’s Vossstrasse, the pair design beautifully minimalist homeware favoured by design lovers not only in Germany and central Europe, but as far afield as the US and Australia.
For decades Germany has been known internationally for its designers and quality, and today it seems Hanover’s continued handmade heritage serves to reinforce the country’s reputation. It’s heartening to see how the past is honoured by contemporary design in Hanover’s artisanal treasure troves.