FLORIAN HAUSWIRTH — Interview
Today we have the pleasure to introduce the Biel/Bienne based independent designer Florian Hauswirth. In this interview he explained us his sensibility for the materials and the craftsmanship. It’s also good to know that he’s one of the co-founders of design collective Postfossil, like Anna Blattert. We let you read this interview and see by yourself his interesting projects.
This interview is part of a series resulting from
our collaboration with the Design Days 2013.
Hello Florian, how are you?
Fine thanks, I’m really busy this month…
Can you introduce yourself ? Tell us more about you.
I’m an industrial designer and model builder. I studied both of them. Before my studies I worked three years at the Vitra development department as model builder and material researcher. I’m a guest teacher at school in Kassel D, ZHDK Zurich and now HSLU Lucerne.
Where is your studio based and what do you like about this place?
Biel/Bienne, I like the bilingualism and the contrast of the city, and it’s in the centre of our small country, by train about one hour to all the big Swiss cities and there are nice and affordable spaces to live and work. It’s good for work as it’s beside of the hype places and it has some industry around for collaborations.
Tell us about your experience and approach to design, at which point did you realize that the design was the direction to choose?
It was quite fluid in my case. I worked in a workshop with designers and then I started my studies. And now with my Industrial Craft collection I bring both even more together.
What was the idea behind your interesting woodsduck – rocking duck design?
In the beginning of the design, I was playing around with paper bands. And then I wanted to have this lightness in the object. Woodsduck should bring a certain lightness to a space. The result is an object in between a toy, furniture and a sculpture.
The form affects a special seating experience. The flexibility of the head for example is like a moving backrest. But the development of it was a really hard work, a lot of mould making and plywood experiments… Now I do some experiments in another material with a Swiss company.
Can you tell us more about the Tableware Collection that is present at the Design Days 2013?
The “kick off” of the Industrial Craft Tableware Collection has a quite funny history….
I was in New York with a scholarship of the “Berner Design Stiftung” and had a collection exhibited in a gallery. (Materials, Tools, Origin) Marco Dionisio, a contact of Swiss retailer Manor came into the gallery and saw my work. He made the introduction to Manor. After three years of development and a lot of changes, I launched in spring the Tableware Collection with Manor. I won a sponsoring award of the “Berner Design Stiftung” that supported me to put the project on the market.
Can you describe the process that led you from conception to production?
It’s hard to explain… my process is somehow “hard to catch”. Mostly I would like to do something for quite a while, but there is no time or I’m stuck in some points… and then it goes fast, as I’m used to realize things in a short time. Some things need time to grow and some come out in a really intense time of work.
And when I start to make the prototype by my own, I switch from the maker to the designer, sometimes one of them is a bit lazy ;). But this is actually the interesting moment when things get simpler. Of course I also communicate with other craftsmen or people, you can never know everything.
Do you have a kind of manifesto, like the respect of craftsmanship?
With my work I want to increase people’s awareness about materials and development process. Where are objects coming from? What is the work behind it? What is the cultural background? Craft is cultural knowledge and material should be precisely selected.
Designers should be consumption’s specialists. Making people aware about what they buy and what kind of objects they live with. As we are more and more careful about what we eat (bio, local), we should ask the same questions when we buy products.
Have you been influenced by any movement or designer in particular?
The writer Alain de Botton, graphic designer and writer Kenya Hara, Jasper Morrison, Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Barber Osgerby (as I worked there), a lot of Classic Designers: Wegner, Eames, Prouve, Ponti.. , skilled craftsmen, the Shakers.
Which book is on your bedside table?
My Sketchbook, sometimes a novel, sometimes Fischli und Weiss “findet mich das Glück”.
Do you have any advice to give to students and young designers?
Do your own thing, work hard, don’t believe the hype, stay positive and look forward, keep in mind our environment.
Some projects to come?
Some projects in metal, with LED technology and the launch of my webshop and a lot of organization for Industrial Craft…
The last word…
I like open-minded people, as in NY…be open for conversations, Switzerland is so dry sometimes…
Thank you for contacting me!
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 09.13
Design : Florian Hauswirth