Design & Decoration S03 ep20 : Friedrich Otto, Schmidt Furniture, [Vienna]
Interview with Fredrich Otto
Friedrich Otto Schmidt, a company that has specialized in planning and producing interior furnishing as well as in the competent restoration and reproduction of old furniture, is located at the sumptuous rooms of Palais Chotek. According to the company's tradition, furniture of all periods has been manufactured since 1853. The company "Friedrich Otto Schmidt" was founded in 1853 and is run by the fifth generation of the family. At the turn of the century, the brothers Max and Otto Schmidt cultivated friendly relations with many renowned artists. Outstandingly succesfull was the cooperation with Adolf Loos, who designed furnishing such as the famous "Elephant's Trunk Table". Since 1891, the company has been located at Palais Chotek. The modern workshops are situated in the garden of the building.
It’s a family company, it was founded in 1853, loaded with traditions, originally from my mother’s
This is the ___ it’s situated on the ___ very close to the city centre since 1904 the house belongs to
the family Schmidt, at that time the workshop was spread over this district and Max Schmidt he
put everything together in one place.
Our pieces are in M___ in Paris, one of our most famous tables, elephant trunk table, attributed to
Adolph Lawes but Aldoph Lawes himself wrote that it’s designed by Max Schmidt.
Max Schmidt sponsored many artists, he was very close to Adolph Lawes actually he was even his
best man when he married Lena.
Adolph Lawes is a very famous Austrian architect also known in America except that he is an
opponent to Joseph Hoffmann you know the famous house at Michaela … was a very controversial
discussion at that time when he made it and he was one of the first one introducing the English
furniture to Vienna.
At 1900 the English furniture was the in furniture, first one that was even Count Liechtenstein he
had a very large collection of English furniture and I know that Max Schmidt was allowed to
borrow furniture and I think he made copies and they are now in our archives.
I grew up with this kind of furniture with this style of living within a certain classical setting one of
the biggest influences my grandmother made when I became ten she presented me an old chest
which she bought it was the first piece she bought for the company in 19, in the 40’s and my
grandmother was 91 and she was still in the office.
Everything is made in order. In Austria mostly the private client come themselves because it’s not
so popular to work together with an architect or interior designer. But of course from abroad we
get enquiries from architects and interior designers.
We still have a lunch every day at 12.30, that was the only one hour everyone is on the table and
we could exchange information.
During the last years it changed from manufacturing single pieces to entire rooms like a b___
concert hall into ban art nouveax office in Moscow.
For me personally the biggest experience was to make Viennese palace in Japan … into classically
music Mozart is also collecting Stradivarius he wanted to have room concert call like ___ for his
I remember one story from my grandfather was a chest with secret drawers and he saw it at one of
the Viennese dealers and he entered the shop and said oh this is from my workshop and the dealer
said no Mr Schmidt this is really antique one and then my grandfather sat down and opened all the
secret drawers because he knew where they are, the dealer didn’t know that there are secret
drawers, my father told me the story he went to New York and in one of the huge dealer shops in
the 7th floor he found a chest, he was interested in, he opened the top, on the inside was the label
Free Hildeschmidt Vienna and he ask for the salesman and he gave him the name card and the
dealer was shocked that the company still existed.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Fredrich Otto, Schmidt Furniture, Vienna