During my school time, I always used to draw cartoons; they got the attention of my art teacher and she advised me to study design, which I did successfully at the Folkwangschule University Essen. I got my first employment in 1983 with the company Sedus Stoll at the Swiss border. As a young designer I learned a lot from that experienced company, and; after 3 years I received a promising job with the Austrian company Wiesner Hager where I was after a short while in charge of the development-department and shaped the design of that company for about 10 years. I founded my own company in 1995 in Braunau Austria nearby, because I always had the dream to work self-standing and independent as an international designer. A second company for engineering I opened 1999 in Simbach Germany close to the Austrian border with now about 16 mployees. My 25 years as an independent designer were also accompanied by 17 years as a guest professor at the design universities in Graz and Salzburg. Meanwhile, my design studio is working for more than 40 well-known brands in 14 countries. We have received more than 150 design awards, among them 20 Best of the Best, Silver – or Gold – awards.
career in design
From a very early point on I was convinced, that good design can only be done in a combination of design and technical know-how. So, the specialty of my design studio is, that we realize an intensive model-building and engineering. Therefore I have created in my German company as a kind of small manufacture with about 1,000 m² area for model-building workshops for wood, plastic and metal work, with an engineering area with a 5-axis CNC milling machine, a digital scanner and two 3D-printers, a little photo studio, a showroom for my most important products, a cafeteria, conference rooms, offices for constructing and designing; and all this set in the extraordinary architecture of two restored art-deco villas and in between two modern glass buildings.
I have remarked quite often: Design is a twist between arts and technique. I am convinced, that good design has to have a touch of art, but at the same time, with its technical design and advantages, the product has to be really practical for the client. But technical quality alone is too boring and simple. Only the artistic expression gives the product individuality and personality.
defining a particular style
I regard myself as quite versatile and have successful products that are rather severe and straight-lined and others that are organic and sensual. As some kind of personal recognizable style there is certainly the ‘Twisted Design’ to be named. The twisted form is something that really fascinates me. The most popular product is my Perillo chair (company Züco). You will find over 100,000 results for it on the internet. But I have realized the twisted design with many other products as well, for example, the Up-chair family for Tonon, the Coza-chair for Boss Design and the Duoblock-chair for Sunnix. Recently we designed also a work desk with a twist.
I have already underlined that good design is always a successful balance between art and technical know-how. And as Milton Glaser once said quite very correctly. “There are three responses to a piece of design: yes, no and wow! Wow is the one to aim for.”
productivity and efficiency
I think, that only a superb combination of architecture, interior and design increases productivity and efficiency. But honestly, the interpersonal chemistry between the employees is even more important.
designing office furniture
Regarding the compliance with conditions, there is certainly the supreme discipline of furniture design to be named; the ergonomic multifunctional office chair. There is hardly any other product that is subject to so many norms and regulations; yes, I do respect the norms for ergonomics, stability and safety and at the same time I try to consider also the usefulness, eco-balance, aesthetics and grace of a product. The combination of so many different requirements is the challenge for designing office furniture.
past and present
Honestly, I cannot confirm, that the ergonomics for example for office chairs have changed so dramatically. When I look back what my first employer (Sedus) for example offered in 1983 in the range of ergonomic office chairs, I have to say: my respect. From an ergonomic point of view still now top products. But unfortunately,
absolute bulky. The significant change since then and now is the design. Everything today is lighter and more elegant, airy meshes dominate the office chair design and also the tables are characterizedby delicate lean desk profiles and more clear-cut lines. All together the design-level of the office furniture branch has increased massively.
changing notions of office furniture
It is a common thing in marketing, to serve old truths as something new. Already in 1993, i.e. 25 years ago I developed with Company Wiesner Hager furniture programs for a mobile office (for example the program changes and afterwards the program float & process). Basically, the topics are the same as back then or let’s say: 25 years later they have finally reached every office furniture producer.
future of workplaces
The workspace of the future is situative, spontaneous, flexible, imaginative, reduced, uncomplicated, mobile, likeable, universal, quite small, handy, noise absorbing, motivating and at the moment only existing as an idea and vision in my head.
It makes me proud, that recently some important CEOs from wellknown furniture brands have contacted me personally and wanted to cooperate with me personally. So right now, we are designing some important projects, especially for the living area. I am glad, that I am one of the few furniture designers in Europe who are successful in the office design, the contract design, and the living design at the same time. In all these areas I am creating at the moment important new projects. Just to name a significant project that was presented two weeks ago: The important office chair family Xillium for Nowy Styl Group, their main product at the Orgatec 2018.
I recommend only to study design if there is really some talent existing for it. The design is no profession; it is a passion. You need a lot of toughness and perseverance and a love for designing things. A young designer has to accept, that he will earn much less than his young colleagues that have studied mechanical engineering or business economics. But in exchange, the work is real fun and joy. Only someone who is extremely successful will get rich by designing. I estimate, that out of 10,000 design graduates only 1,000 are still working in that field after 10 years. All the others shift to an adjacent area. Personally, I would choose this profession also in another life.