At the 2010 Marianne Brandt Contest, Halle based designer Caspar Huckfeldt won the (smow)/Vitra Special Prize for his “Damensattel”
In essence a removable plastic saddle that attaches to the crossbar, Damensattel allows a bike passenger to carried sitting side saddle.
Think of the scene with “I’m singing in the rain” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and you’ve got the idea.
In selecting Damensattel the Vitra judges praised the design as being “a real charmer” that draws people towards it and through it’s form encourages people to use it. In addition they saw it as a product with good potential for further development.
Damensattel is on display as part of the Marianne Brandt Contest exhibition at Designers’ Open in Leipzig, and ahead of the opening we caught up with Caspar Huckfeldt.
(smow)blog: If we’re honest, we don’t know that much about you, except that you started studying at Burg Giebichenstein in 2004. Did you complete any apprenticeships or similar before starting in Halle?
Caspar Huckfeldt: No, nothing like that. As a child I was always encouraged to draw, which was also something I always enjoyed doing and which was also amongst my best subjects at school. After finishing school I initially worked with film, because I enjoy the visual expression of the media, but always continued drawing, so story boards and the likes. Then I began a “normal” social sciences degree course in Hamburg, which was OK but not something that ever truly motivated me. And so slowly I started moving more in a graphic direction, and also more towards products; this transformation from 2D to 3D is something that I find very interesting. And so I applied to various art colleges and ultimately decided on Burg Giebichenstein.
(smow)blog: And why Burg Giebichenstein?
Caspar Huckfeldt: One the one hand the city was still so raw and rough, which at that time was a wonderful contrast to what I knew from Hamburg. And on the other hand, and more importantly, during the application procedure and the various tests the staff at Burg Giebichenstein looked after us very well and were very friendly – which I found good.
(smow)blog: And when should you be finished with your studies?
Caspar Huckfeldt: When everything goes as planned I should be finished in January next year.
(smow)blog: And then do you plan to stay in Halle, can one as a young designer remain in Halle?
Caspar Huckfeldt: Technically one has to leave Halle because the culture politics in Sachsen-Anhalt and Halle are a disaster, and the incentives for young people to stay are becoming rarer. The contradiction in all that is that Burg Giebichenstein students are encouraged to stay in Halle and are very well supported through the start up centre. For me however Halle as a chapter is closed and I’m ready for something new.
(smow)blog: You recently won the (smow) /Vitra special award at Marianne Brandt Contest. Why did you decide to submit your „Damensattel “?
Caspar Huckfeldt: I find the title of the contest “The poetry of the functional” wonderful, because it is something special when an object isn’t just functional but rather when it offers more than just it works well.
(smow)blog: And the next obvious question – what was the spark that led to Damensattel?
Caspar Huckfeldt: At the moment I principally develop projects in which I have some form of personal interest. Later on when one is more restricted by the demands of industry one can’t do that and so I plan to enjoy the freedom I have for as long as possible. I find the idea of two people on a bike together wonderful, it makes the journey a lot more personal. But normally the passenger sits on the carry rack on the back of the bike, which isn’t conducive to conversation or interaction. Especially during my time in Copenhagen and Rotterdam I spent time thinking about the problem of how best to transport two people on a bike. I really liked this idea of this sideways sitting and so looked for a way to improve this … and from these considerations arose Damensattel.
(smow)blog: And is there commercial interest?
Caspar Huckfeldt: At the moment I’m still busy in the lab perfecting the process and working on developing the color range. However, I have also given a few to friends as gifts and slowly the first bike shops are showing interest and so it will definitely be the project that I will focus on after I finish my studies. Not least because I like the product and it’s fun to work with.
Damensattel by Caspar Huckfeldt can be viewed at Designers’ Open Leipzig until Sunday 31.10