Friends and companions

I met Ronald in 2008 at the presentation of a concept for Wolford. Afterwards, we lost touch again. We then ran into each other at the gym again two years ago and arranged to meet for dinner. He has been living and embodying fashion for over 20 years. He told me about his work as a fashion designer for top international stars of the fashion world including Michael Cors, Guy Laroche and Bill Blass. He subsequently invested all his time, savings and borrowed money in establishing his own label, Ronald van der Kemp Paris; a period with countless ups and downs that he wouldn't like to have done without. He told me: “Nothing was more important to me than realising my dream and I was prepared to give everything to do so.”He now lives in Amsterdam, and works as a very successful design director and creative consultant for Wolford in Bregenz. Ronald regularly visits Bregenz for work, where we frequently meet up for a good chat.
I had the pleasure of meeting Issie and his wife Lynne in 2009 during a trip to Greece. We got on well from the onset and it soon became clear that our encounter would be more than a mere holiday acquaintance. Issie is a professor and recognised cancer specialist at the renowned McGill university clinic in Montreal, Canada. What impresses me most about Issie is his positive and infectious joie de vivre and sense of humour, his story-telling skills, and his ability to stimulate people's imagination and capture the hearts of others in the long term. We have maintained regular e-mail contact ever since we first met and get together at least once a year.
How do I start to talk about Peter? Our paths crossed for the first times many years ago. After working as a graphic designer, Peter had just opened his business in Austria and had started gathering initial experience as an entrepreneur. Peter has had a very eventful life inspired by his belief in brands and design. He never lost this faith despite numerous set-backs and above all never gave up. With his company Brainds, now one of Austria's leading brand and design agencies, he has set new standards and impressively demonstrates that it pays to never lose sight of one’s visions and goals and to see challenges as an opportunity rather than a threat. Our companies have completed several projects together. I can meanwhile say that we are close friends and that our association goes far beyond professional goals and interests.
I first heard the name Dagur Sigurdsson when my son started playing handball at the age of 11. At the time, he had just started to work as a trainer in Bregenz. During this time, he was responsible for a spate of handball euphoria the likes of which had never been seen before in Bregenz and the greatest successes in the team’s history, especially at international level. I also had the chance to get to know Dagur better personally as we are both avid motorcyclists and I found our conversations about teamwork and success inspirational. Besides, I found his ever calm and modest personality very pleasant. Today, Dagur is the trainer of the Füchse Berlin and has transformed his team into one of the best teams in the world’s toughest handball league within the space of only two years.
Andreas is a highly successful photographer in Norway and a passionate sailor. We got into a discussion by chance during a trip along the Amalfi coast. He was at work, I was enjoying an espresso while watching him and before we knew it, we were deep in conversation. I felt honoured that such a creative young man would have time for me and time just flew by. We arranged to meet for dinner the following day and as he told me of his life, his sailing trips in the far north and his work as a photographer, I sensed his longing to explore new horizons, to set sail for uncharted waters as Columbus once had and his desire to get closer to his goal of becoming a world-renowned photographer. Today, when he sends me photos of his projects, I am convinced that he will achieve this, too.
I have had close ties with the Balearic island of Ibiza for many years. It's not just that Ibiza was my second home for several years, I also had the pleasure of meeting many lovely people from all over the world. During a visit to the then virtually unknown and recently opened Casa Colonial, I met co-owner and manager Wolfgang Lettner. The cooking was already outstanding at the time. Today this wonderful restaurant is one of the best places to eat on the island and between May and October it is impossible to get a table without a reservation. Over the course of the years, I was able to get to know Wolfgang better, especially thanks to our co-operation in an international franchise project. It always fascinates me to see how on the one hand he stands for continuity and reliability in his work and on the other hand is tirelessly tinkering with new ideas and concepts, putting his entire heart into their implementation with considerable measure of daring.