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Daniel HAGER, CEO Hager Erwin van HANDENHOVEN, designer for Hager

“Everything you see
and touch highlights
the notion of ease
and quality.”

Daniel HAGER
CEO Hager Group

The idea
of simplicity

Daniel HAGER,
CEO Hager Group
Designer for Hager
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Elegantly simple.
Simply elegant

For more than five decades, Hager has had a discerning eye when it comes to the functionality and reliability of its systems. This is particularly reflected in the form and design of our products.

Hager is steeped in structural design tradition, which means that a technological product is not simply covered with an elegant shell but developed with functionality in mind, in a way that the exterior mirrors the inner structure.
And today the exterior is becoming evermore important.

With electrical installations taking over more direct functions in both living and work spaces, aesthetics take on an increasingly important role. So as to best fuse these functional and aesthetic demands,
Hager has launched an independent unit.

From the 1950's until now

Hermann Hager & Oswald Hager
"We were already into design
when the word itself was little known
in Germany."

Hermann Hager
and Dr. Oswald Hager

Since the Hanover Fair in 1959, the first “design” meter panel made of Bakelite has remained the star product. Today, with the “Golf” concept, it is continuing brothers Hermann and Oswald Hager’s quest – “every product has its function, and each function an individual shape” – and consolidating Hager-Elektroplastic OHG’s position as a benchmark company in terms of technology and aesthetics in over 70 countries. This leadership is expressed through over 50,000 products for intelligent commercial and residential buildings alike. Hager is recognised throughout the profession as a “solutions provider” in this area, combining – with the same criteria of excellence – modular appliances, routing systems, switch ranges and intuitive user interfaces.

The next step

Hermann Hager & Oswald Hager
"The design team works in an ancient hydroelectric plant power close to Strasbourg & Germany, at the Heart of Europe

Design expands cultural horizons when it strengthens the interplay between function and emotion. Cooperation between two companies and two managers is productive and conducive to this open outlook: Daniel Hager, CEO of the Hager Group, and Erwin van Handenhoven, industrial designer.

This long-term relationship allows us to view products as solutions that are even more attractive, user-friendly and self-sufficient. In a use-oriented approach, design enhances function’s intuitive approach. It optimises sensory parameters such as aesthetic, tactile and ergonomic considerations and relates them to the emotional dimension. It also increasingly takes into account the user’s cultural sensitivity. This development encouraged the establishment of the Hager Winco Design agency in Strasbourg (at the heart of an intercultural European region). An ideal setting for opening up to new cultures, new markets and new clients.

from the 1950's until now

A well rounded package our holistic design approach

Conventional product design is generally determined by three coordinates – length, width and height. We prefer to go a step further and consider what has preceded and what will follow a product. How will it evolve? How should it best reach our customers? And in which way are we going to ‘sell’ it to them? All these aspects constitute our all-embracing design approach. And as this extends beyond three-dimensional product thinking, we refer to it as 4D design.

From mind to matter

Our corporate philosophy

Design at Hager is not an afterthought which is superimposed on technology, but evolves from the core of the product. Going a step further one could even intimate that design grows from the inner values of our company.

Our products mirror our attitude and this attitude manifests itself in our products attitude.

Customer proximity, Innovation, Trust, Simplicity, Reactivity, Continuity

Click to see the short video
'Making design transparent'

Our design attitudes

Based on this corporate mindset, our designer Erwin van Handenhoven has derived seven unique principles that inspire and discipline day-to-day work with products for Hager and, where it is necessary, make amendments to them. Read on to discover Erwin’s thoughts on design.

From the idea to the ideal

The design team challenges the cultural aspects of our new product lines. They submit them to over 200 clients in six countries: we refer to this as “the customer’s voice/the customer’s emotion”.

Golf is the tangible result of this process and also a source of pride: in 70 countries, a technical appliance has been transformed into a piece of wall furniture.

From a glance to having insight

A discussion with Erwin van Handenhoven

Erwin – how did your cooperation with Hager come about in the first place?

It began to grow like a small, delicate plant – slowly and from the bottom up.

What did that mean in practical terms?

At Hager we didn’t start with design itself, but with the design process –working on the method. You have a behind-the scene view of where we work, how we work and how we think. Before a plant can grow, it is essential for a root system to be laid down.

And after that?

Then we had to prove theory inpractice – and of all things, with a modular appliance! Right from the outset, the creative leeway was extremely limited. The smallest detail became the biggest challenge. But in close cooperation with Hager’s design engineers, we were plausibly able to show which direction things would go.

Tell us about this direction.

With our very first project we reached our initial goal – market acceptance. This resulted in increased confidence at Hager, leading to many more projects. And word finally got around to Hager’s management board. So that delicate plant gradually began to turn into a sturdy tree, with roots based on understanding and trust.

What has been the most exciting product you have designed for Hager?

It’s not always the product itself that is exciting. The initial sighting makes it exciting. A sports car may appear interesting at first glance, a light switch after a second look and a modular appliance after the third. One has to keep looking until the product reveals its most hidden features. Seen from this perspective, Hager has only exciting products!

Sounds fascinating! Could you please go into more detail?

The elation created by Hager products is not only surface related – it goes much deeper. Hager offers us a rare opportunity to open up the entire spectrum of our creative ability, enabling us to consider the most minute detail which is often invisible. The designer becomes an explorer, even if he or she just sits at a drawing board. The deeper I can delve into things, the more fascinated I get – and the more satisfied I am in the end.

Which Hager products do you use at home?

Interestingly enough although I live in France, I use the German kallysto¨ switchline. Mind you I don’t view ‘my’ switches as trophies on the wall but as vital research objects, which over the course of time will provide me with useful feedback. This is rather different from laboratory tests or group discussions. Who knows what opportunities such long-term experience will disclose – openings which can then be integrated into the development of existing products or the creation of new ones.

How will Hager’s design change in the coming years?

In the past electricity used to be associated with danger. In the meantime it has become our friend. Hager has made a considerable contribution to this development. It has actually given energy a face and, even in the current discussion about energy, it must not lose this face. In addition to safety and reliability, an emphasis is increasingly being placed on ecology and sustainability. The individual needs to experience these aspects first-hand via products – without neglecting technological and aesthetic aspiration.

How many products have you already designed for Hager?

No idea … quite a lot!