2012: A dust-dry cake, and joking with the grannies but it was not funny at all
Once upon a very long time ago, in 2012, eating a very dry piece of a cake in a Viennese café….
Mike Lanner and Moriz Piffl, at that time the famous Stitch brothers (they were the social entrepreneurs behind the eco-fair customised jeans label Gebrueder Stitch) were missing the moist cakes their grandmas made when they were kids living in the countryside. While eating this dust-dry cake, they were already creating in their heads a coffeeshop for grandma-missing youngsters in the centre of Vienna. During the night –a beer or two later, rumour has it – they created the name: “Vollpension” (German for “full pension,” which refers to both the one that Austrians get from the government upon retirement and to the kind of hotel stay that includes meals, or full board). The final kick came from Mike‘s successful submission of their idea at the “Social Design-Call” at Vienna Design Week. And as is often the nature of wonderful and creative (yes, sorry, self-praise stinks…) ideas, wonderful and creative people gather to make the impossible possible: Julia Krenmayr and David Haller joined the two and have been part of the core team ever since. In September 2012, the first pop-up Vollpension opened up for one week in Mike’s and Moriz’s “Hosenlabor” (trouser lab), a tailor shop in the 6th district of Vienna. Without a licence and above all without a plan, this premiere exceeded all expectations and people were queuing to get a piece of Ms Charlotte’s eggnog cake.
The huge demand then made for another Vollpension guest appearance in the Christmas season of 2012, and we founded an association in order to have the legal basis for this project. We quickly found out that our Vollpension was not only a venue where people gathered to eat, laugh and spend time with each other, but one of a social-political nature. We placed a job ad in a big Austrian daily newspaper, and more and more seniors were applying. They all had one thing in common: they love baking. But that’s not all: They were also looking for a possibility to earn some extra money to supplement their small pensions which weren’t enough to live on, as we were to find out in many personal interviews.