Added value for people.
Econcept is different from other project developers and property developers in a variety of ways. This is also due to the fact that Econcept is a family company that considers values valuable. And that’s not all, as the father and son say…
Anyone who deals with real estate professionally often comes across the term return on investment. A term you neither read nor hear about from you...
Bahr: “In the early days of my career, I learned a great deal from an old mentor I appreciated very much. One of the most important things for him – as it is for me too – was to understand that trust is a currency. He always used to say: don’t focus on the money, make sure you do an excellent job, then the money will come all by itself. In everyday life, it goes without saying that you need money for building. Money that is invested should normally return to the investor with a profit – no question about it. What sets us apart is that we measure added value not in terms of money but as to how our actions make life, living and working in a neighbourhood more valuable. If it does that, then everyone makes a profit – including the investor. A major fundamental principle for me is that money is like stored energy. This financial energy ensures that material can be moved and people can work. Without this form of energy, many things remain immovable.”
This way of doing things has not impaired your success, has it?
Marbé: “On the contrary, we are growing very organically and we are implementing projects today that are in the three-digit millions. We construct buildings to work and live in, which appeal to very different people. What is important to us as such can be clearly shown at our head office at the Park am Wasserturm. In this block we built or modernised 270 apartments, which we then rented out or sold – and the people who live here know that. Their friendly dealings with us is a vital indication that we have done our work well.”
What role does architecture play for Econcept?
Bahr: “We create the backdrop for the theatrical play of life on the street. So it’s important to construct beautiful buildings. I’m amazed that this issue is hardly ever discussed in public. How lovely it is to take a stroll through a district of old buildings with their beautiful historical façades. It’s relaxing, it’s good for you. The feeling is quite different when you walk through a big housing estate of tower blocks made of concrete slabs. People are influenced by their environment and a beautiful environment therefore encourages them to enjoy a good life.
Nonetheless, we always follow the old and often cited principle that form has to follow function. Function has priority, as the buildings are supposed to work so well that people can use them for decades to come if possible. Only when we’re certain of that do we develop the right outfit so the building may also serve passers-by. This is how a building creates added value for the user, for investors – and for the urban community."
You plan and design but not yourself?
Marbé: “No, we are both versatile all-rounders who are involved in an excellent network. Our work in this context is characterised by close relationships that often extend over decades. I don’t just mean with architects, construction companies or investors, but the people who work for the authorities. We like people and love to work with professionals. That’s why we are small in terms of staff numbers because the best people rarely work as permanent employees.”
Bahr: “Even though we’re all-rounders, we love details. A passion for detail turns a building into something more valuable. And I don’t necessarily mean the often-cited gold bathroom taps but maybe the sign with the house number, which is either reworked or completely created from scratch. This is also a good reflection of our work in general, which involves the fact that we sometimes have to work together in great detail, very precisely and with a lot of effort so that the result is ultimately something great, functioning and beautiful.”
The term quality, how would you define it personally?
Marbé: “Quality means using excellent materials also to construct excellent buildings. Plus, quality also means finding the right idea for a location and getting the right people who will design, build, finance and bring the idea to life.”
Bahr: “Our path seemed and still seems to have fallen out of step in our age of predatory capitalism. But our success has proven us right. In every relationship and for all our values, we have created partners and friends – no enemies.”