February 18th, 2015 by smow

Name: smow introducing

Born: Leipzig, 2010

Alma mater: University of life

Featured designers:
Christoffer Martens

Erik Wester

Christian Lessing

Eva Marguerre

My Own Super Studio


                           Stephan Schulz

smow blog: smow introducing?

(smow) blog: A series we used to publish in which we featured, younger, less well known, but in our opinion extremely talented and interesting designers and “introduced” them to a wider audience

smow blog: “Used to publish”, and so why did you stop? Did you run out of young, talented designers by whom you were impressed?

(smow) blog: Far from it! But we did run out of time and space to properly devote ourselves to the task…..

smow blog: ….. and that’s now changed?

(smow) blog: We’ve changed that. We always regretted not being able to continue with the series and have now taken the active decision to pursue it with the seriousness and propriety it deserves.

smow blog: And we imagine having dropped the parenthesis from the blog name probably helped as well, or…?

(smow) blog: Unquestionably. It’s really freed up the production process, added a certain youthful vigour and esprit to our stride that has been lacking of late.

smow blog: Much as you may have enjoyed smow introducing, was it really worth it? Looking back what has become of those designers previously featured?

(smow) blog: The very first smow introducing interviewee was Burg Giebichenstein Halle graduate Stephan Schulz and since we spoke with him Stephan has completed a scholarship from the Kunststiftung Sachsen-Anhalt and the Klosterbergischen Stiftung and realised new projects for Calvin Klein Home and Betoniu. Following Stephan Schulz we featured Baden-Württemberg based manufacturer maigrau a.k.a. Kunstakademie Stuttgart graduates Nik Back & Alexander Stamminger, who have since kept good their promise to expand the company with works by external designers and in doing so have made maigrau an even more interesting brand than it was when we first met them. Our favourite Portuguese designer TM Rui Alves has continued to make Portuguese design contemporary and currently has products in production with Italian manufacturer Valsecchi1918 and Danish label menu – who also produce and distribute the BookBinder bookend by Berlin based, smow introducing alumni Christoffer Martens. Düsseldorf based Christian Lessing continues with his quest to bring the fun back into the living spaces, and balconies, as well as being a member of Düsseldorf creative collective teilmöbliert, Oslo based Erik Wester is, inexplicably, still looking for a manufacturer for his Standing Task lamp has however expanded his repertoire to include graphic design and Hamburg based Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe graduate Eva Marguerre has teamed up with Marcel Besau as the imaginatively titled Studio Besau-Marguerre and amongst other projects have recently completed a family of lamps for Frankfurt based manufacturer e15.

smow blog: Not entirely unimpressive, but are you happy with the way the featured designers, and for all their careers, have developed?

(smow) blog: On the whole yes, very. Looking back however one continually comes across objects that we remain as convinced as ever should be million selling standards, but aren’t. A situation that for us wonderfully sums up the vagaries of the design industry and just how hard it is to establish oneself. We however haven’t completely given up hope that one of the ever increasing number of smaller manufacturers might find interest in one or the other unpublished design.

smow blog: Looking back what continually occurs to us is that smow introducing appears to be the only occasion in which you use official press photos rather than your own photos. A deliberate decision?

(smow) blog: Yes. As we say its hard enough to establish yourself as a designer without us sabotaging careers with our photography!

smow blog: And so when can we expect the return of smow introducing?

(smow) blog: Any day now…. watch this space!

Posted in Designer, Interview, smow, smow Introducing Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

DMY Berlin 2012 Stephan Schulz Domestic Landscape
June 8th, 2012 by smow

One of the real joys of the first few days of DMY Berlin 2012 has been catching up with Stephan Schulz.

Not just because Stephan is without question the product designer we know with the healthiest attitude to the whole circus, and as such after a few minutes in his company you no longer fear the workload that lies ahead.

But also because we’d been looking forward to seeing his new Domestic Landscape collection. A collection that as the press material so promisingly begins “… transports soil into the domestic space”

When we do that our mums get really cross. Stephan has found a civilised, useful even, way to do it.

We knew that a couple of years ago Stephan was working on a similar project involving loam and assumed that Domestic Landscape arose from that work.

It didn’t. Or at least not directly.

Rather it was developed in the context of a new project funded by the Kunststiftung Sachsen-Anhalt, but obviously entails elements of the experience Stephan gathered in his earlier project.

The central feature of Domestic Landscape is the Climate Wall. A modular system comprising a wooden frame on which one can hang the earth “tiles”

Or not. You can also leave sections open.

The tiles are created from a mixture of earth, straw and old newspaper, and after mixing and forming are dried – not  baked.

According to Stephan this is important as it imparts the system its climate influencing character. Keeps it natural. Earthy, if you like.

Optional metal elements allow for the inclusion of storage/shelving space and as modular system one can build and rebuild it as required.

As a system we can well imagine the Climate Wall working excellently in an office or a retail environment. For all as room divider. Not just owing to its appearance and the the climate influencing aspects of the system, but also through the  – almost inevitable if not formally tested – acoustic effects.

In addition the Domestic Landscape collection includes lighting, a plantable soil table and floor “features”

Lumps is the only word that occurs to us for the floor “features”. Uses however don’t.

Without wanting to sound disrespectful, the lamp looks like the most commercially feasible element of the collection, reflecting nicely the furniture industry’s current infatuation with furniture that is “at one with nature” – yet in a form more accessible and sellable than the Climate Wall.

And the plantable soil table. Completely impractical.

But as a feature in a modern, open office space. Absolutely delightful.

Unless you’re a hay fever suffer. Obviously.

More information on the Domestic Landscape collection can be found at: www.studio-stephanschulz.com

Posted in Designer, DMY Berlin, Exhibitions and Shows Tagged with: ,

August 12th, 2011 by smow

Until August 27th Galerie dieschönestadt in Halle is presenting an exhibition of works by Burg Giebichenstein students/graduates.

Featuring works from Jan Bernstein, Caspar Huckfeldt, Sebastian Müllauer, Hiroko Oda, David Oelschlägel, Stephan Schulz and Katharina Schwarze, “Addicited to Love” is a delightful mix of what product design is and can be.

Regardless if a multi-plug that you want to show the world, a shelving system that you can take with you when you leave a room, a lounge chair that you need to stuff yourself or an “Ulmer Stool” made from cereals and which if left outdoors will – honestly – be eaten by birds…..

….. Good product design isn’t just a minimalistic dining chair – and Addicted to Love shows that.

Which makes it very easy to recommend.

And a bit off-topic, but…

As we noted in our post on the annual exhibition at Burg Giebichenstein, we were a  bit disappointed that certain projects we liked weren’t on show.

We now know a little bit more.

Our heads are still shaking in disbelief……

Addicted to Love at Galerie dieschönestadt, Am Steintor 19, Halle is on display until 27.08 and can be viewed Wednesday & Saturday von 2 bis 6 pm, and on Thursday from 6 – 10 pm.
Further details can be found at http://dieschoenestadt.de/

And we have uploaded a small photo gallery at facebook.com/smowcom


Addicted to Love - Galerie dieschönestadt, Halle

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Wardrobe Bench by Stephan Schulz and Paul Evermann in use
April 15th, 2011 by smow

Burg Giebichenstein graduates Stephan Schulz and Paul Evermann are presenting a joint show at this years Salone Satellite with each presenting one and a half new products.

That’s one new product each. And a joint creation.

The joint project is called wardrobe bench – and does pretty much what it says on the tin.

Its a clothes hanger. And a seat

The bench element is made from one piece of plywood, cut by water jet and then the outer element is set a little lower.

Through this displacement, tasks such as putting on your shoes become that little bit more comfortable. It can also be used for storing shoes. Which obviously makes hoovering that tick easier.

The spacious steel hanger not only provides hanging space – but also nicely compliments that base and gives the whole construction a more complete countenance.

What we particularly liked about wardrobe bench is that we never noticed that it was cut from one piece of plywood.

We suspect the reason we never noticed is that because it is cut form one piece it all looks so natural your brain doesn’t check that its two pieces of wood. The shape of the legs and the distance between the feet are pre-defined and so cognitively the two pieces flow into one piece which gives it this deceptive unity.

Which we liked. A lot.

And for the sake of completeness the two individual items are recycling foam sofa system by Stephan Schulz.

And black light by Paul Evermann.

Stephan Schulz and Paul Evermann @ Salone Satellite can be viewed until April the 17th.

Salone Satellite

Stephan Schulz and Paul Evermann's stand @ Salone Satellite. And a couple of excellently coiffured visitors!

Wardrobe Bench by Stephan Schulz and Paul Evermann in use

Wardrobe Bench by Stephan Schulz and Paul Evermann in use (Photo: Matthias Ritzmann)

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, Fuorisalone, Milan Design Week Tagged with: , ,

Stephan Schulz - Comfy Cargo Chair. Still lovin' it!
September 28th, 2010 by smow

Awards ceremonies are all well and good – but much more important is the exhibition to accompany the contest.

And until October 10th the Industrial Museum Chemnitz is hosting the International Marianne Brandt Contest 2010 exhibition.

We had planned to write a long text – changed our mind and instead present here a few impressions of our pick of the exhibits.

We can however strongly recommend the exhibition; not only for those interested in art and design – but also for all those who are open to new ideas and new thinking.

And for those can’t make it to Chemnitz – the winning projects will be on display in Leipzig during Designers Open (October 29-31) and in November at the Sächsische Akademie der Künste in Dresden.

More information can be found at www.marianne-brandt-wettbewerb.de

MOA by Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau - finally the succesor to NIDO

MOA by Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau - finally the succesor to NIDO

Mechthild by Christoph Schmidt - Prize winner product design at the International Marianne Brandt Contest 2010

Mechthild by Christoph Schmidt - Prize winner product design at the International Marianne Brandt Contest 2010

Öffnungszeiten by Sylvia Stadtmüller

Öffnungszeiten by Sylvia Stadtmüller

Sonja Jobs - Infinite Calender (detail)

Sonja Jobs - Infinite Calender (detail)

Stephan Schulz - Comfy Cargo Chair. Still lovin' it!

Stephan Schulz - Comfy Cargo Chair. Still lovin' it

Posted in Awards, Exhibitions and Shows, International Marianne Brandt Contest Tagged with: , , ,

Foam soft pad chair by Stephan Schulz
July 20th, 2010 by smow

Name: Stephan Schulz

Born: Schwerin, 1983

Alma mater:
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

Stephan Schulz

Stephan Schulz

(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.

Stellvertreter by Stephan Schulz for Moormann

Stellvertreter by Stephan Schulz for Moormann

(smow)blog: You are still at the start of your career, but what is the highpoint thus far?
Stephan Schulz:
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.

Concrete bowl by Stephan Schulz for betonui

Concrete bowl by Stephan Schulz for betonui

(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/

Cargo Chair by Stephan Schulz: An empty frame you can fill according to mood and situation

Comfy Cargo Chair by Stephan Schulz: An empty frame you can fill according to mood and situation

Foam soft pad chair by Stephan Schulz

Foam soft pad chair by Stephan Schulz

Porcelain jugs by Stephan Schulz

Bone china jugs by Stephan Schulz

Tischlader by Stephan Schulz

Tischlader by Stephan Schulz

Posted in Design Haus Halle, Designer, Interview, Moormann, Producer, smow Introducing Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Concrete bowl by Stephan Schulz for betonui
June 28th, 2010 by smow
Vitra Design Museum: The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction

Vitra Design Museum: The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction

The (smow)blog team outing to the cardboard furniture workshop was coupled with a visit to the current Vitra Design Museum Exhibition: The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction.

We must admit to finding it more than a little ironic that an exhibition on “Design and the Art of Reduction” should be taking place in a building designed by Frank Gehry, especially when Tadao Ando’s Conference Pavilion is only some 10m away.

And after the long journey to Weil am Rhein this thought honestly kept us amused for about 4 hours.

The exhibition itself is divided into 12 thematic sections each of which deals with a different aspect of “reduction”; be it elements that the end customer is aware of, for example, geometry or lightness or those that remain hidden from the customer, for example reduction in logistics.

Stephan Schulz: Concrete Bowl

Stephan Schulz: Concrete Bowl

Some 160 objects illustrate the various themes ranging from design classics such as Michael Thonet‘s Chair No. 14 or the Ant Chair by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen onto objects that are less well known – if every bit as interesting – such as Stephan Schulz‘s concrete bowl or Marcel Wanders‘ Knotted Chair for Capellini.

Good design needn’t be complicated, less but more, form follows function – the number of design theories that encapsulate the practice of “reduction” are as numerous as they are legendary: yet at design show after design show we are confronted with products that attempt to win us over through their complexity and extravagance.

We also don’t know why that should be, but we suspect it has a lot to do with a saturated market and the associated increasing role that the internet plays in ensuring that your – probably completely superfluous – work is seen.

Which design blog is going to feature Jasper Morrison‘s Ply-Chair when they have photo of a bookcase that looks like to two paradise birds engaging in a mating ritual atop Carmen Miranda?

Ok we would. But not many others.

For us the true art of reduction in design is when the designer reduces the volume of the product down to the absolute minimum – be it through the use of a new material, innovative joining of the individual elements or through reducing the exterior measurements.

.03 by Maarten Van Seeveren

.03 by Maarten Van Severen

One particular example that occurs to us being Maarten van Severen’s’ .03 with its integrated compound spring supports that give the chair its comfort and stability without unduly adding to the weight, volume or outer dimensions.

However as the exhibition “The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction” ably demonstrates  reduction can involve other processes.

Joe Colombo’s No 281 lamp, Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s tea service or Donald Judd’s Chair 84 proving nice examples of what can be achieved with the necessary talent and motivation.

On the negative side we must add that for our taste the exhibition highlighted the work of Charles and Ray Eames a little too heavily – specifically the dedication of the complete section “development” to their work looks suspiciously like a bit of editorial shoe-horning on the curators part.

That aside, for all interested in the design process, and especially where the difference between “designer” furniture – i.e. those furniture pieces where a targeted design process occurs- and cheaper, generic products lies, the Vitra Design Museum exhibition “The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction.” is definitely worth the trip.
The Essence of Things. Design and the Art of Reduction at the Vitra Design Museum runs until September 19th 2010. More details can be found at http://www.design-museum.de

Posted in Designer, Exhibitions and Shows, Fritz Hansen, Producer, Product, Thonet, Weil am Rhein Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Design Haus Halle - The spirit of design in Sachsen Anhalt
May 12th, 2010 by smow
Design Haus Halle

Design Haus Halle


Don’t ya just love ’em!

Spend years studying and then….

Whereas most sociology, philosophy or art history students eventually end up working in banks, call centres or become King of England; the situation with design students is somewhat more complicated.

You don’t study design just for the sake of getting a qualification; you study design so that you can work as a designer.

Ideally an independent, freelance designer, controlling the entire process and developing your own ideas.

The trick is successfully negotiating the numerous steps from optimistic student over disillusioned almost there and onto experienced professional.

The Burg Giebechstein "Graduate" exhibition inside Design Haus Halle

The Burg Giebechstein"Graduate" exhibition in the Design Haus Halle

Burg Giebichenstein College in Halle has responded to the problems by opening a start-up centre for designers, film-makers and other creative types: Design Haus Halle

In essence an extension of the existing “Transfer Centre”, the Design Haus Halle seeks to foster links between the graduates and industry, offer business skills training and generally provide a secure, supportive, base from which graduates can develop their careers.

Among the first Design Haus Halle tenants are “established” companies such as award winning textile designer Lydia in St. Petersburg, promising up and coming designers who have tasted their first successes including Stephan Schulz and those still taking their first tentative steps into the commercial world such as film makers Tim Romanowsky and Falk Schuster.

Design Haus Halle - Space is still availoable for rent

Design Haus Halle - Space is still available for rent

Each tenant has their own work space; however communal rooms allow for contact to the other tenants. And one of the real strengths of the project is the mix of specialisations and experience  – a situation that allows the tenants to learn from one another, make use of the services the others provide and develop the networks that they will need for a successful future.

The natural extension of this multidisciplinarianism and networking is also one of the principle, long-term, goals of the Design Haus Halle; namely, to offer Burg Giebichenstein students the chance to remain in Halle and so help strengthen Sachsen-Anhalt as a centre for the creative industries.

For although the region isn’t completely devoid of creative and artistic talent, it certainly isn’t one of the centres of such in Germany – and that despite it’s Bauhaus heritage

And Burg Giebichenstein.

As far as we are aware Design Haus Halle is one of the first such “creative start-up” centres and is certainly a much needed concept that we wish well.

Not least if it stops the drift of design students to design journalism.

More information can be found at http://www.designhaushalle.de/

Design Haus Halle - The spirit of design in Sachsen Anhalt

Design Haus Halle - The spirit of design in Sachsen Anhalt

Posted in Design Haus Halle, Designer Tagged with: