Quest of meaningfulness
It wasn’t long ago, while my toddler lay sleeping on my chest, that I had one of those strange moments where I was relaxed, and my mind wasn’t focused on anything in particular. At that moment, I thought to myself, where did all this come from? I mean, where did I find my love of pure materials and the kind of perfectionism I can’t ignore, and what about my long-standing preference to purchase nothing instead of something that contains compromising content, or even my sheer attraction to the unobtrusive and understated design? Where did it all begin? Little did I know that these questions would take me to the origin of everything that has come to characterize Leander Riedl?
If asked to describe myself, I would say that I’m a typical German. Pretty much standard. There’s nothing really unique about me. I’m fairly tall, but I still don’t stand out in a crowd. I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and a light skin tone that places me on the Carte de la saison right next to lobsters every summer (if you don’t know the German expression of „Krebsrot“, you can think of it this way: in summer, my second name is sunburnt). I work out several times a week, but could definitely do more. In school, I did fairly well, but not well enough to receive any awards or suchlike. So in the end, there really isn’t anything special about me, I think.
Growing up in the Black Forest countryside of southern Germany I didn’t have a grand education. My Mum was a teacher, and my Dad worked 24/7 in his own company. Looking back at my childhood, the most vivid memories are those of my first lessons my Dad let me experience on my own in his manufacture. It is something that I look back on with great joy. I spent a lot of time with him, and I remember how proud I was to help him with his sophisticated products that were manufactured by the hundreds to meet his customers’ needs. He was engineering machines that produced car parts for leading car manufacturers. I believe that must have been when my love for materials and precision was first born. Even the tiniest components were milled from large blocks of aluminum, to make them perfectly fitting and long lasting.
I remember the special feeling I had in my Dad’s manufacture and the smell of the finished items, that was always mingled with the smell of the cooling liquid used by the milling machines.
Words: Caurie Putnam
Photos: Thomas van Schaik