COLOURFUL INNOVATIONS – 120 YEARS OF ZR PART 3/7

In the third part of our online series on Zimmer + Rohde’s 120-year history, we’ll be taking a look at the artist Janosch and his long-standing collaboration with the company, which lasted from the 1960s to the 1990s.

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“He’s an extraordinary artist and intellectual with a captivating personality. He’s simply incomparable.” 

The close bond and years of cooperation between the textile designer and the company become evident when Andreas Zimmer talks about Janosch. Taking inspiration from his childhood experiences, he gives his creations a sense of playfulness and light-heartedness, while also conveying an important message that becomes apparent upon closer inspection.

Janosch (born 11 March 1931) is one of the most well-known and successful authors of children’s books in Germany. He has received a number of prizes for his work, including the German Children’s Literature Award for ‘The Trip to Panama’ and the Prix Jeunesse International. Children simply adore the unforgettable characters that pop up in his books time and time again. A great deal of the creatures he creates are animals. Mice in red socks can be found alongside bears, ravens, lions and hares – and they all have very human traits. Engaging with these characters serves to remind us of our environment and society. His characters and stories grapple with human foibles above all – the weak show strength and the strong show weakness – but he always shows little ones that they can win out at the end of the day with a bit of cunning and good luck. His books also convey a love of his fellow human beings. Janosch’s most important message to children is to never give up, to not be afraid and to know that you’re not alone. He appeals to their intellect, and encourages them to unleash their imagination and have their own experiences. His imagery is always colourful and multifaceted. Janosch’s books have been translated into many languages and millions of copies have been sold around the world.

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Collection „Janosch Textil“ 1992 – Janosch’s designs were a unique selling point at Taunus Textildruck and Zimmer + Rohde in the textile sector.

Zimmer + Rohde was privileged enough to incorporate the distinctive style of the Silesian artist Janosch, most famous for his novels and selfillustrated children’s books, in its past collections. Janosch had already proven his talent as a textile designer back in 1962. During this time, he began cooperating with the company Taunus Textildruck, as well as Zimmer + Rohde later on. This work continued into the 1990s.

In 1974 the textile trading company becomes a fabric manufacturer. Horst Zimmer creates his own collections with the help of freelance designers. This gives rise to product lines such as the COLLECTION – 111 colours that can be combined with any design form the basis of this concept.

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Colour, material and design merge to form a harmonious unit in the COLLECTION 111, giving rise to a unique interior design. This collection was the beginning of a modern hallmark of the company, as only traditional patterns had been sold up to this point. Being able to offer a wide spectrum of different colours also became a unique selling point of Zimmer + Rohde during this time. The collection was created and designed by Taunus Textildruck for Zimmer + Rohde. It was put together by the freelance textile designer Fred Jörgens to a great extent, as the company had yet to establish its own creative department with inhouse designers.

The collection represented a true upheaval in the world of textile design and made a significant mark on the company’s identity. The company logo was even revamped as a colourful circle for the collection to underscore its selling point. Another highlight of the collection, which was unusual for its time, was its colour fastness. 

Zimmer + Rohde lay the foundation for its diversity of colours and the quality characteristics of all its later collections with the 111 collection.

We’ll herald the arrival of the 1980s in our next episode. This is when it became possible for the first time to decorate an entire room in one single collection. You’ll find out which collection we’re talking about in the next part of our online series.

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