Bettina Conze

W

    hat does a young
    girl in high school
    who doesn’t know
whether to study architecture or journalism do? She chooses business administration. This was the unusual start to Bettina Conze’s story – “and yet, in retrospect, it all makes perfect sense the way it turned out”, adds the pretty businesswoman laughing. Today, she perfectly combines the best of all worlds and has successfully implemented all of her experiences and ideas, much of which she has gained from her long and numerous stays abroad over the past decades.

It all started in the beautiful and tranquil city of Linz on the Rhine, where Bettina Conze spent her youth. But after such a long quiet life she felt the desire to see the wide world. At the time, she would never have guessed that her studies in business and then her senior position in marketing at the Hilton Hotel Group in London were just the start of her “world tour” with twelve international moves. This was followed by a stay in Cincinnati in the United States, then a return to Europe with stops in Geneva and the south of France, then China, later Germany, then back to the United States – this time Chicago – only to arrive a few years later in quiet Bath in the English county of Somerset. And all this with a husband, two young daughters born in London and the USA, and a dog. “In between” this energetic woman was still studying interior design.

During her long stay in Britain, Bettina Conze began expanding and remodelling large houses, remodelling both ultra-modern properties and 15th century farmhouses with horse stables. These farmhouses in particular often have large tracts of land, so the next steps immediately evolved into landscape design, garden architecture and even sculpture: she wanted art not only indoors, but also outdoors. This closed the circle of creativity as this unique woman of many talents has been always collecting art. She finds inspiration in philosophy, nature, history and especially in her travels.

Bettina Conze noticed early on that to buy large and aesthetically pleasing sculptures, you really have to shell out a lot of money. The amount could easily become six figures. That’s how her idea of making stunningly beautiful museum-quality open-air art accessible was born. And the timing was just perfect. When her stay in England came to an end, a lot in her life changed, partly because her daughters were now grown and began their studies. So Bettina Conze moved back to Germany to beautiful Lake Starnberg, but here the next challenge awaited her. The pandemic.

It was time for a complete reboot, and she founded Artefactory to design and produce her sculptures. In the book “Creating a House”, published last year, her talent for designing houses and gardens as well as statues is presented in a very impressive and aesthetic way and supplemented by personal texts.

For Bettina Conze, the realisation of her designs is the perfect bridge between art, creativity and business. She particularly enjoys the creative process – including working together with artists. “Working on sculptures is very exciting because each time it’s like you’re going on a journey,” she notes. With the exception of an ensemble of three statues, the creative artist has created everything herself and collaborating with the artists who bring her ideas to life gives her great pleasure and satisfaction.

Unique pieces are reproduced in no more than 200 copies, and the individual surface treatment makes them unrepeatable. Being an entrepreneur by nature, Bettina has found a partner in Germany with the world’s largest 3-D printer that can produce her statues. Depending on the design, they are printed or cast. When the blank comes out of the printer after three days, it is hand-coated with a layer of metal, cleaned, polished and patinated. The result is a long-lasting, UV-resistant, waterproof and frost-proof statue. The result is highly individual, as the object is polished within a few days. The interesting thing is that afterwards the artists can no longer distinguish the duplicates from the originals.

The creative team also includes well-known international artists, but with Artefactory, Bettina also wants to give a platform to those who are not yet so well known. They all have one thing in common: they are people who follow their passion, often empathise and love dialogue. This is how great conversations arise, which are very enriching and lead to great results.

In addition to creativity, Bettina Conze also values an environmentally friendly approach to production. An environmentally friendly composite of recycled bottles and glass is used for production. It is completely fracture-resistant and will be used in the construction of house facades in the future. Years of development and know-how are reflected here. High-tech in general is important to her, such as green economy and recycling, sustainability and intelligent production.

Thus, this energetic, multi-talented woman builds her brand using the knowledge she gained early in her career as a business economist and marketing expert. The combination of all these things fascinates her the most. Over and over again, she meets interesting people and engages in dialogue – it’s her way of building her brand.

Moreover, the creative entrepreneur is convinced that a sustainable approach is needed. It is immediately obvious that she is not only an art lover, but also has roots in business administration and commerce. She believes that entrepreneurs, consumers and politicians all should strive to create new economic models in harmony with nature. Apart from all the tragedies, the coronavirus pandemic had a positive impact, as it was a real wake-up call and a catalyst that pointed out the weaknesses of an old and inert system. The pandemic showed how everything is connected. Climate change, the environment, poverty, access to health care and financial markets are all closely linked. “Artefactory may be a small contribution, but we need to manage our resources in a multi-layered and different way”, she adds.

Bettina Conze is particularly moved by another aspect: the positive impact of art on people, and the same applies to the impact of nature on people. “Both are particularly important because these are particularly difficult times”, she says. Communication between people who look at art together is just as important, especially after lonely pandemic times, as is withdrawal into oneself and reflection. It has been neurologically proven how positively art affects people; WHO has also discovered the potential of art and wants to harness it. In Montreal, Canada, patients can even get 50 visits to the museum by appointment! This leads to improved quality of life, increased resilience, reduced stress and acts as a balm to the soul. “Incidentally, it works for stressed managers as well,” adds Bettina Conze.

What does a typical Artefactory customer look like? Bettina doesn’t think long: he is an art connoisseur, a garden lover, an aesthete who likes to surround himself with beautiful things and attaches great importance to attractive surroundings. The statuettes inspire an international audience, initially in Germany and Europe, but there are already enquiries from the USA, too.
With her sculptures and Artefactory, she has begun a new and exciting journey, which, as always, is accompanied by success and good energy.

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