Furniture manufacturing company Flötotto began in 1906 when Heinrich Flötotto opened his woodworking atelier in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. Within a few decades, the business expanded its focus from bespoke interiors to serial furniture production. At the end of World War II, Heinrich’s sons Fritz and Franz took the helm and began to build the brand’s reputation for durable, modern chairs, desks, shelving, and more for schools, offices, and institutions. Flötotto’s ergonomic, molded plywood (or pagholz) seating became ubiquitous in German classrooms through the postwar era.

From 1969 to 1991, Flötotto was directed by a third generation: husband-and-wife teams Elmar and Anna Flötotto, Reinhard and Barbara Flötotto, and Hubertus and Ingrid Flötotto. In 1969, they launched the Optimal collection of adjustable-height student workspaces. In 1975, they introduced the award-winning, modular, beechwood Profilsystem furnishings line.

Most recently, in 2012, Flötotto made headlines when it commissioned designer Konstantin Grcic to create a new line of school furniture, the award-winning PRO collection. PRO’s most characteristic feature is the S-shaped shell that enables a dynamic yet comfortable sitting experience, based on principles of “active sitting.” 

The family sold the business in 1998, but bought it back in 2002. Since 2008, Flötotto has been owned by Elmar Flötotto.