The Burg company started out in a carpenter’s workshop in 1946, making small pieces of furniture and coffee grinders. Today, burgbad AG ranks among the biggest bathroom furniture producers in Europe – a brand-name manufacturer who not only uses a digitalised production process to successfully combine boutique manufacturing on an industrial scale with custom production, but has also recently positioned itself as a leading source of sustainable bathroom furniture.
But its beginnings were very different. All that connects the company founded 75 years ago with today’s burgbad AG is the basic raw material: wood. From 01.10.1946, in a carpenter’s workshop in Bad Fredeburg, company founder Dieter Ruddies (who was born almost exactly 100 years ago on 21.10.1921 in Gumbinnen, East Prussia) began producing wooden goods like manual coffee grinders, wooden construction kits and, in the 1950s, pasting tables – still under the brand name Burg to start with. The decision to specialise in bathroom furniture came in 1966. Early on, Dieter Ruddies realised there was growing demand for storage space in the bathroom – a development that was still in its infancy, having only just begun with the triumph of the Allibert mirror cabinet. As this idea caught on in the 1970s and the firm made its first acquisitions, the workforce grew too, increasing to around 300 employees.
The company’s specialisation in bathroom furniture was driven by targeted expansion of its portfolio and expertise and resulted in the group of companies’ merger into a single strong brand – with production facilities at its headquarters in Bad Fredeburg, Westphalia, as well as Greding in Bavaria, Lauterbach-Allmenrod in Hessen and Nogent-le-Roi in France. Burgbad AG was founded in 1995. Since 2010, the internationally active burgbad AG has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the ECZACIBASI Group. The internationally oriented family-run company has a strong standing in Europe, especially in its Building Products Division which, in addition to burgbad, also includes tile company Villeroy&Boch Fliesen GmbH.
For some years now, burgbad has been actively committed to climate protection. Since joining the Climate Pact initiated by the German Quality Assurance Association for Furniture (DGM) in 2016 and becoming the first certified climate-neutral bathroom furniture manufacturer, the company has been working on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and completely offsetting the remainder – as currently verified by its fifth recertification in succession.
In its quest for sustainable concepts, the bathroom furniture producer relies on a high degree of in-house manufacturing, a culture of innovation and quality – as confirmed by numerous labels such as “Furniture Made in Germany” or the Blue Angel ecolabel for its bestselling Eqio range. At the same time, burgbad isn’t only committed to ensuring a healthy living environment and conserving resources; it believes in social sustainability too, as demonstrated by its management practices and regional engagement.
In October, the month that marks the company’s birthday, burgbad is planning to celebrate its anniversary with various events and festivities, especially at its headquarters in Bad Fredeburg. One of the highlights will be a jazz concert in one of the production halls, which burgbad is making available as a venue for the International Brass Festival “Sauerland Herbst”. For 22 years now, the festival has been a platform for the international brass elite, featuring soloists, ensembles and orchestras from all over the world and compositions of all eras and styles, including contemporary and popular music. At the burgbad facility, the Trilok Gurtu Quartett and Frederik Köster will be treating the audience to world jazz.
For a long time, it wasn’t clear whether it would be possible to celebrate the anniversary properly because of the ongoing pandemic. But now it’s definite that events like the Sauerland Herbst concert can take place in compliance with the relevant hygiene requirements. For burgbad too, these have been challenging times. Fortunately, however, the company has got through the pandemic without any major absences among the workforce – thanks to a hygiene concept that was strictly observed right from the start. Economically too, burgbad made it through the pandemic relatively well: the factories are working to capacity and it was possible to develop all new products as planned.
At the same time, the anniversary year also marks a passing of the baton in the company’s management: following Jörg Loew’s switch to the supervisory board of burgbad AG, the celebrations will be hosted by its new CEO Stefan Sallandt.