Business - DIY Finishing

Kreidezeit, the natural paint factory where swallows nest in the production section

In the run-up to the fair, prices for accommodation in Hannover are prohibitive. That is, if, by some absurdity, you manage to find something at a hotel. Long before LIGNA to start it is impossible to find a free room in the city. That's why we decided to stay 50 km from Hannover and commute daily during the fair. It was a good choice because it was much cheaper, with the car rental and fuel payment. Plus, we stayed in a gorgeous little forest village - a few houses on the edge of the forest - which, we were to find out on the first day of the shuttle, was only a few miles from the Kreidezeit Germany headquarters. How we got to the German company producing natural materials for wood and the home, and what impressed us there, follows.

The desire to go to Hanover by a different route led us to the Kreidezeit factory

As it's tucked away in the forest, Glashütte seems lost to the world, but it's just 5km from the motorway. It's a small village of just a few houses, where at night the silence is perfect. The house we stayed in is part of a set of three, two for rent and one for hosts. The houses are small, but with everything you need. On the ground floor are the kitchen, bathroom and living room, and two bedrooms upstairs. The living room also has a terrace where, if we had the time, we could sit all day looking out over the forest and the fairytale cottage at its base.

As we had arrived there on the motorway, the next morning we decided to change the route, especially as the area looked beautiful. So we chose the category B roads, not so fast, but with the advantage of more attractive scenery. We hadn't been gone 5 minutes when we entered a quiet little village - Lamspringe - with old houses and lots of greenery. On the outskirts of the village, on some buildings that looked more like a farm than a factory, I saw the Kreidezeit logo.

We didn't stop then. We had to get to LIGNA, we already had appointments we couldn't miss. But we set out to contact Naturalpaint, Kreidezeit distributor in Romaniato set up a meeting for the next period. It was a shame to miss such an opportunity, especially as luck had favoured us.

Kreidezeit, a quiet place without the smells of paint factories

The distributor in Romania set our meeting for the next morning at 9 am, so before going to the fair we stopped for a short visit to the Kreidezeit headquarters. As soon as we got out of the car we noticed the lack of any smell typical of a paint factory. The place looked very much like a farm, especially as it was quiet, without the hustle and bustle usually found in factories.

Kreidezeit is a family-owned company founded by Gert Ziesemann in 1987. The business was born out of a desire to replace titanium dioxide-based industrial paints. The production technology produced a weak acid as a by-product that was discharged into the North Sea, endangering flora and fauna. Gert made a paint from fresh cheese, borax and chalk and used it to paint the walls of his own house. He wanted to give the recipe to others, but they wanted the ready-made product. That's how he started production in 1987, setting up the company. At first, it was more of a hobby, selling the product at trade fairs. The publicity brought about by a TV show in 1992, in which Gert explained how to make very good quality paints without using petroleum and toxic chemical processes, gave the necessary impetus for development. He rented a bigger space, hired people and production started on a large scale. Continued development led to the purchase in 2002 of an old gater in Sehlem, a village belonging to the municipality of Lamspringe, where he moved production and where Kreidezeit is now based.

Gert didn't just set up a factory for natural household products, he passed on a philosophy of work and life to his team that is still alive today. Even though he is no longer with them (he retired in 2019 and passed away last year), his daughters who have taken over the company and the entire team follow the same idea he left behind: if it cannot be produced in an environmentally friendly way, it is not produced. That's what we've been told. Michael Meißner - technical consultant and responsible for all technical documentation - the one who introduced us to the company and the products. You can find the video here. Unfortunately, we could not film in the factory, as we were dealing with processes and materials protected by patents. But outside the production area, we had no restrictions. That's how we discovered a curiosity of the place that is not only part of Gert's heritage but also a guarantee of natural and clean technologies.

At Kreidezeit, the swallows have a special entrance

It's about swallows. And not 2-3 but dozens, maybe even hundreds. Swallows are everywhere at Kreidezeit. They have nests in the raw materials warehouse, the finished goods warehouse, in the factory, in the offices. They come and go as they please, they are protected, no one is allowed to deny them access. To provide some protection, open umbrellas have been hung from the ceilings to collect bird droppings. Inevitably, some dirt gets on some of the bins. That's why, in addition to the usual labels, one is always added on which is written: The mess is from the birds. Don't panic, it's a good thing.

Swallows have always been Gert's protégés. Michael tells the story of how in the past, when he did the company's insurance, the people in charge came to check the place out. All the windows were open so the swallows could come and go as they pleased. The insurance company representatives said the windows had to be closed or they couldn't take out theft and fire insurance. Gert agreed to close the windows, but immediately after they left he took a hammer and smashed the wall above the doors. Basically he took a few bricks out of the wall so the birds could move around freely. It only took a day for the swallows to learn their new way in, which still exists above every human access door to the factory or warehouse.

What does Kreidezeit produce? High-quality finishes with natural materials and clean technologies

At Kreidezeit in Germany, they manufacture with respect for nature and the environment:oils and waxes for wood, paints and wall plasters. They are materials that are recognised worldwide and used from ordinary finishing in any home to restoring landmarks of universal interest. Natural pigments are also manufactured here, allowing a wide range of colours to be obtained, both for oil and wall paints and the famous Moroccan Tadelakt plasterso popular for finishing the walls of bathrooms or showers.

Interest in developing new products is ongoing. The sources of inspiration are often old cathedrals and churches where famous craftsmen or painters have used special recipes. This is how they discovered the peeling and adhesive qualities of whey, the emulsifying qualities of egg or the fixing qualities of beer and used these natural materials in their paint recipes.

Kreidezeit products are a combination of new and old, made in harmony with nature and respect for the environment.

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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