(smow)introducing: Stephan Schulz
Born: Schwerin, 1983
2003-2009 Industrial Design, Burg Giebichenstein, Halle
2007-2008 Erasmus studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven
Internships: 2008 Bellini Design Studio, Milan
Stellvertreter for Nils Holger Moormann, Aschau im Chiemgau
Concrete bowl series “frisch ausgeschalt” for Betoniu, Leipzig
(smow)blog: Why Industrial Design?
Stephan Schulz: It sort of just developed. I’ve always built things and experimented with different materials, and everything somehow came together. I’ve always had this need to create things and to work with objects.
(smow)blog: Any particular influences on your development?
Stephan Schultz: As a designer you are always influenced, much of it subconscious. I think its fair to say that my generation, at least here in Germany, has been influenced by Konstantin Grcic. Although in design influences are necessarily always positive. The first time I was really aware of design was Bauhaus, especially the work from Mies van der Rohe. But I honestly couldn’t hold one person up as an influence.
(smow)blog: Why did you decide to study at Burg Giebichenstien?
Stephan Schulz: It was one of the first colleges I applied to. I passed the test, the school has a good reputation and the town itself appealed to me.
(smow)blog: You are now finished with your studies, have taken up a studio here in Design Haus Halle, do you plan to remain here in Halle?
Stephan Schulz: Initially yes. On the one hand here I have the opportunity to use the college workshops, and on the other if I was to go elsewhere I would never find a studio as cheap as here in the Design Haus. Also here I have my network of contacts which at this stage in my career makes everything much simpler. That said I’m not permanently fixed to Halle, not least because I’m not from here.
(smow)blog: You are still at the start of your career, but what is the highpoint thus far?
I really am at the very beginning, but the highpoint is definitely the coat rack from Moormann [Stellvertreter]. I completed my degree three months ago and last year during my studies brought a product on the market with a producer. And yeah that is the highpoint.
(smow)blog: And how did your concrete bowl end up in the Vitra Design Museum Exhibition “The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction”?
Stephan Schulz: Martin Hartung, one of the Vitra Design Museum curators saw it in another exhibition, liked it and included it. [laughs] Sometimes it really is that simple.
(smow)blog:When we think about your concrete bowl, on your clay panels or your wood and china articles. Do you like working and experimenting with different materials?
Stephan Schulz: Definitely. I couldn’t specialise on just one material and say I’m only going to work with china, or I’m only going to work with concrete. For me that is the most interesting on industrial design, that you can go in any direction and experiment as and when you want.
(smow)Blog: And in general, where do you see your future?
Stephan Schulz: I have specialised on furniture and interior products and want to develop in that direction. I don’t want to just make individual objects, I also want to create products for series production. As a designer you have the need to show that what you create works, also in terms of producibility. That the market is currently over saturated many designers are currently going in a more artistic, experimental direction. It’s part of the job and often the first step, but my goal is to bring products to the market that people are happy to buy.
(smow)blog: In that context, as a young designer, how do you reach producers?
Stephan Schulz:It’s difficult. I don’t really know. Obviously you go to exhibitions as the principle method of exposing your work to the public, but it is very difficult. With Nils Holger Moormann I showed him the product and he liked it. Which is obviously the perfect scenario. But such is also the exception, and the next 10 times it wont work.
It’s a long hard road. And the biggest problem is that there is no marked paths. No one can tell you how you should proceed or how you should approach a producer. It’s a long hard road.
(smow)blog: Then good luck!
More information on Stephan Schulz can be found at at studio-stephanschulz.com/