Felder walks the talk with new headquarter

When the leading machinery supplier decided to upgrade its India headquarters, the company wanted to prove a point to its existing and prospective customers in the country. In a first, the Austrian technology provider devised a project that would showcase the sawing and milling capabilities of its own machines to fabricate the office furniture and interior and exterior wood elements in its new experience centre in Mumbai. WoodNews went behind the scenes to uncover the project’s design directives and production processes.

The emphasis in the office space (L) is on unconventional elements that showcase the true mettle of Felder machines in sawing, milling and finishing of solid and panel-based furniture. The curvilinear fins (R) of the ‘meeting pods’, fashioned from Western hemlock, have a remarkable machine finish.


The proof of the pudding is in the eating – so goes the popular English idiom. Felder India, a wholly owned subsidiary of Austria-based Felder KG, has taken it literally and is proving a point: that its machines can do what the company claims they can achieve!

When Felder chalked out plans early last year to set up its India headquarters – complete with demo centre, warehouse, sales and service offices – it decided to put the 4,700-square-foot premises to good use. It sits on a picturesque industrial plot in Vasai, on National Highway-8, on the outskirts of Mumbai.

At its formal inauguration in December 2022, one message was amply evident: what you see (woodwork in the office, lobby and VIP lounge) is what you get (by employing Felder machines)!

Mr Hansjorg Felder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Felder Group KG, inaugurated the India headquarters. The guest of honour was Mr Hans-Joerg Hoertnagl, Trade Commissioner and Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Austria.

Mr Krutik Mistry, Director, Felder India, says the new premises have already set tongues wagging. Several business visitors have evinced keen interest (and sometimes disbelief!) at the capabilities of Felder’s woodworking machines.

The facility has been planned to become a skilling centre as well, with infrastructure to train entry-level machine operators to factory managers. Krutik spoke about near-term plans to set up a separate vertical for training and upskilling – not only for professionals in India, but also from SAARC and South-East Asian region.

Design intent

Felder India engaged the services of Wiseart Design Studio LLP – a husband-wife collaboration of architects, designers and furniture manufacturers in Mumbai – to bring to life its vision for its new premises, totalling 20,000 square feet.

Wiseart runs its own, 40,000-square-foot furniture manufacturing factory in Dombivli, Thane district, to cater to its vast portfolio of home and commercial projects across India. Needless to say that, among its woodworking machines there are those from Felder also.

The scope of work included designing the façade of the industrial shed, the interiors, the furniture and its manufacturing. According to Ms Shrutika Nilakh, Co-founder and Principal Architect, Wiseart Design Studio, the design intent was to create accents of wooden installations, to display the craft and precision of modern machines in Felder’s range of woodworking solutions.

“We used solid wood and birch ply to showcase the enormous way wood and ply can be treated, built and exhibited in daily use of elements and objects,” she said. “The office becomes a display extension of the experience centre, where the customers get the vision and understand the output that the machines can achieve to create different design elements.”

The existing industrial shed faces South, which required fenestration with tall, vertical aluminium-clad fins to cut out the excess light and tropical heat. The geometry of the façade was broken with a coloured, slanting entrance portal.

But the gem is the installation of a wooden arch spanning 8 metres. It consists of 27 pieces each and 20 rows of milled slats of Yellow cedar from British Columbia, Canada. The arch weighs 650 kg, with the entire installation held together by wood dowels.

The arch is a stunning example of Felder machining greeting you, even before one enters the experience centre to explore more! While the project was designed on Auto CAD, the manufacturing employed SolidWorks in the factory setting.


The happy Felder India team after the inauguration with its India Director, Krutik Mistry (fourth from left), and Felder KG Managing Director and CEO, Hansjorg Felder (in blue coat).


Other highlights

Mr Mahesh Nilakh, Founder and CEO, Wiseart Design Studio says, “From design to execution, it was important to talk of Felder’s story in terms of being a technology provider, working with various materials, and the variety of applications its machines can perform.”

Mr Harshal Turkar, Wiseart’s Director of Operations, adds that the execution journey was a continuous process of keeping a close eye on design and cost within the given timelines of the project.

In keeping with the design requirements, the metal-mounted staircase has been fashioned out of Western hemlock for its treads; the hand rails and balusters have been milled from spruce-pine-fir and Douglas fir; and employs coloured glass panels to break the monotony of the wood-clad structure.

Fashioned from Felder machinery are two more gems that greet you at the entrance of the office floor. These are two pods fashioned from Canadian Western hemlock. The curvilinear fins that make up these “meeting rooms” have a magical appeal and remarkable machine finish.

Shrutika says the aim is to create a break-out space where employees can relax, or hold informal meetings – or use these pods as foosball gaming islands! These pods are designed to be assembled and dismantled to suit the customer’s requirements. These have already been exhibited at various trade shows, including IndiaWood 2022.

Curated furniture

The mezzanine floor has a coffee lounge overlooking the experience centre to enhance the guest experience. The wood cladding makes for a warm lounging and discussion space.

The office space itself has been kept simple: the cabins run along the façade and overlook the warehouse. The emphasis is on unconventional elements that showcase the true mettle of Felder machines in sawing, milling and finishing of solid and panel-based furniture.

Apart from Canadian wood, Birch plywood was chosen for the workstations and credenzas that seat Felder’s employees. “Birch ply has a wooden character,” Shrutika notes, “Along with soft shades of laminates the character of wood is highlighted in the overall design theme.”

Birch ply has been used to make workstations, table-tops, partition panels and storage units. The larger surfaces have several motifs to break the monotony of the panels.

What is important is that the edges have been left raw on purpose and (seemingly) exposed. However, they are protected with a sealant coating to prevent moisture ingress and have a clear matte polish, which enhances the feeling and look of the plywood.

Felder’s outlook

The warehouse and experience centre on the ground floor house Felder’s offerings in the India market. Krutik counts sliding table and beam saws, spindle moulders, edge banders, drilling and sanding machines among them.

There are the PLC-based classic range of machines, as well as CNC machines – including 5-axes routers – belonging to the Felder, Format4, Mayer and Hammer brands. The warehouse can stock up to 250 of these machines.

Apart from the Vasai headquarters, Felder India has sales and service offices in Bengaluru, Chennai, Noida, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar. It also has a tie-up with Hexagon’s Alphacam computer-aided manufacturing system.

According to Krutik, most of Felder’s business comes from customers setting up new factories. “Our advantage stems from our consulting approach to the woodworking industry – we offer end-to-end solutions,” he adds. The business scenario is looking up and “most of our customers’ plates are full”, he says.

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains, but now the environment is conducive to growth of the furniture sector, with architects and interior designers sourcing furniture from domestic suppliers.

Many existing manufacturers are expanding and upgrading their infrastructure, Krutik says, adding that access to funds for capital goods investments has eased and banks are sanctioning working capital, even at the regional level.

However, he notes, the unorganised and fragmented nature of the furniture manufacturing sector hampers its image and dampens its prospects of attracting large investments.

With so much to show off at home, it would not be incorrect to say that Felder has indeed made its point crystal-clear! To schedule a visit to the new facility (open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 7 pm), or for more information on Felder India’s training and upskilling programmes, call its hotline: 18002743040.


The Wiseart Design Studio team comprised of (L-R) co-founder Shrutika Nilakh, Architect Joyce Nistala and Operations Director Harshal Turkar.




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