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Stephan Wembacher


What is your ideal office?


I like my office as a place, where curious people meet and seriously push an idea to become a product. The design and outfit of the place isn’t really that important. The best office I ever had was in Venice Beach, it was just a block from the beach. It was a renovated beach house and we had an amazing patio with a large grill doing our team barbecues. And the places allowed us to work inside and outside the building.


What idea has made a defining impression on you?


The creation of the Internet as it soon allows literally everyone in the world, in every business and playing field, to search, collaborate, compete 24 hours a day. It’s the foundation of everything in the future, I guess.


What is the good life?


Ahhh, nice question. There are many options to call something a good life. I would say, two things I love the most. Traveling with some of my best friends to a place I haven’t been before and getting excited by everything new. And as a counter, to be with the same group in the places we always go to enjoy, as it gives balance and grip to our life. But the good life includes the participation of my best friends.


How would you like to be remembered?


Well, I guess I am a bit young to really think about it too much. But I think I would like for people to maybe remember me at one point as a curious guy, always interested in change for the good, a loyal friend who discovered things and shared them.


What was your most difficult decision?


We had several companies, brands, and offices over the last twenty years, and I guess on a business level, it was to shut down the first office we ever had in Bavaria, and merging everything we had there with our office in Hong Kong. There were some emotions involved, after almost twelve years ending your first adventure, especially as most of the people working with us at that time in that office were friends and family. It was not easy, but necessary.


If you had to do something different for a living, what would it be?

I would love to be an architect. Just about everything in that field interests me.


What is Côte&Ciel about?


It is our playground to work on stuff we love but also use. We like to combine function, form, and material—it’s almost like being an architecture firm—to create new bags without the pressure of doing just seasonal things. We try to rethink the structures of our bags to create unique shapes which become part of our brand DNA. We like to play with the surface, either with interesting materials or some artsy prints we personally like. I like the idea that we are one of the very few modern bag brands out there, that we do not just do classic bags in nice materials but create totally new aesthetics.


What defines a great accessory?


For me it is a few things. The functional aspect is the most relevant, because otherwise it is just a gimmick. Secondly, I like when it pushes the perception a bit forward, like with using the form and shape to create something absolutely different. Function and form in a good symbiosis create a great accessory. And of course, that has to be combined with nice materials.


How do materials inspire you?


They allow us to show one product in so many different ways. Materials become a part of the identity of the product. And it allows us to add functionality like waterproofness, for example. The material is one of the key pillars of each product.


What is your next project?


I dunno yet. Côte&Ciel is keeping us busy, and we are also involved in a larger product engineering and supply chain company in China called Cosmosupplylab. Those two are the projects of now, and tomorrow we will not be bored once we need to find something new. 

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