Current trends in German product design include exciting and innovative new practices in the realms of furniture and lighting design, and the following of up-and-coming designers are worth keeping an eye on.
Young German designer Meike Harde experiments with different methods of textile design in her work. At times, Harde focuses on experimenting with creative construction techniques, at others, she takes an allegorical and conceptual approach. In particular, she looks to re-think the norms of manufacturing technologies and construction of textiles, which can be seen in her textile furniture series, London. This collection is made up of storage units that eschew normal materials such as wood and MDF in favour of fabric constructed around a metal frame. This creates a light and minimalist aesthetic that is simultaneously soft and feminine.
Founded in 1993 and based in Stuttgart, Germany, the Richard Lampert Collection is one that stands for a number of important aspects in the design world. This includes creativity as applied to design standards, industrial methods of production, quality in craftsmanship and last but by no means least, environmental awareness. Lampert’s design motto is ‘as little as possible, as much as necessary’, and he applies it to all of his designs. Offering high quality products with all but one being produced in Germany, his collection includes domestic, office and children’s furniture.
Having graduated from the Munich University of Applied Sciences in 2011, German designer Florian Schmid immediately set up his own studio, which he has found great success with. Focusing on furniture, products and lighting design, with the objects often having a figurative or iconic impression, Schmid’s highly experimental approach has led to the development of his ‘Stitching Concrete’ range, a project influenced by the contrasts of the material Concrete Canvas (CC). Using a mould to create the form, the stools are stitched together with coloured string and then left to harden, creating a product that combines the softness of fabric with the stability of concrete.
The design company Metrofarm was founded in 2001 by Julia Böttcher and Jan ‘Nunu’ Müller and is based in Berlin. Metrofarm’s expertise lies in design and manufacture from the pre-conceptual stage right up to the finished products and installations. The designers have a versatile set of skills between them, which range across graphic, product, lighting, interior and exhibition design. This variety of practices has led Metrofarm to be an incredibly experimental design company, collaborating with high profile clients including Nike, Absolut and Bang & Olufsen, to name just a few.
Tim Mackerodt didn’t start out in design; after working in South Africa and completing a BA in International Business Studies, he returned to his hometown of Kassel, Germany to study at the prestigious school of Art and Design in 2009. Mackerodt recently looked into the change in gardening culture in recent years; as living spaces have become smaller, garden spaces have become smaller, in many cases disappearing altogether. This resulted in Mackerodt’s Raised Bed system, which is supported on metal frames, thus removing the need for an in-the-ground vegetable bed. These are perfectly suited for an urban environment and, what’s more, they are also aesthetically pleasing.
Working closely with its clients to create a wide range of products, design company Paulsberg is an exciting and innovative collective. Focusing on scenography, product and furniture design, the pieces created by the designers cover both indoor and outdoor usage. The collective looks into new materials such as carbon fibre-reinforced concrete to create its eclectic range of products. This includes the ‘Fruits’ coffee table, made from the carbon fibre-reinforced concrete and wood. This creates a new design language; the wafer-thin, smoothly curving concrete has an entirely different aesthetic to what is usually thought of in regards to concrete.
Formed out of Edition Schellmann, Schellmann Furniture was founded in 2006 and exhibits and produces artist-designed furniture and products in limited editions. This includes works by Joseph Bueys, Rachel Whiteread, and Gerhard Merz to name but a few. In June 2013, Schellmann Furniture opened a new showroom in Munich, Germany with the exhibition 7 Studies, showing works by some of the aforementioned artists, as well as Jörg Schellmann, Stefan Diez and Liam Gillick. The exhibition included desk, chair and shelving solutions arranged as work spaces defined by seven different concepts for a varied audience or clientele.
Design company Supergrau was founded in 2010, and believes strongly in the concept of sustainability within design practices. A part of this ethos is the notion of ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’ design, and the use of high quality and reusable materials in their products, such as stainless steel and local woods. Looking to establish a long-lasting relationship between the consumer and the product, the objects are solidly made and built to last. The design of Supergrau’s products are simple, stylish and ultimately timeless, thus prolonging their desirability through the consumer’s wish to preserve the object.
Daniel Becker opened his own studio in 2010. Daniel Becker Design Studio offers design and consulting services in the fields of industrial products, lighting and interior design as well as art direction and strategic conception. As a result, the studio has amassed an impressive client list, including Google, Citibank and Quasar amongst others. Inspiration for his designs come from a number of sources, for example the Lem lighting series was the result of the analysis and interpretation of quasi-crystals and aperiodic patterns. Constructed from fine wire mesh and various textiles and foils, the light varies greatly, creating an ever-shifting quality in this product.
With a wide range of experience in the design world, including being a cabinetmaker’s assistant and working for Tom Dixon, Ltd in London, Camilla Richter has been a freelance designer since 2012. At the 2013 IMM Cologne she presented a folding screen entitled And A And Be And Not made up of differently coloured transparent sections, which change colour depending on lighting conditions and the location of the viewer. Inspired by perceptions and misconceptions of dynamism and movement in the world around us, the transient nature of the light creates a wonderful visual representation of the inconsistency of time and space.
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