DAMIAN FOPP — Interview
Damian Fopp, Swiss designer currently based in London.
Hello Damian how are you?
I’m very good, thanks. Just moved to London around a month ago and therefore I’m going through very exciting times – so much new stuff going on, so many new people to meet!
Can you introduce yourself?
Originally from Zurich, Switzerland I now have been diving deeper and deeper into product design for the last 8 years. Right now I’m doing a master at the Royal College of Art in London for the next two years.
Where does your interest in design come from?
When I was in high school I loved sketching and was really into sneakers and ended up designing and producing a pair as my thesis project. This eventually got me an internship in a well established design studio and everything went from there.
Can you tell us more about your Celeb bowls project?
Celeb Bowls was my first project after graduating with a BA from the University of the Arts Zurich. I had a strong interest in Google Maps from a previous project with Zurich-based photographer David Schönen. I’ve also been collecting images of different pool shapes for a while and stumbled upon an Internet forum, where fans would post pictures of celebrities’ houses. Looking at these mansions and the custom made pools the stars had installed, it struck me that this could be an interesting approach to come up with the design for a series of ceramic bowls.
What are the key features of your design?
I don’t want to pin myself down too much since I can get easily fascinated by various things. I strongly feel that design is an ongoing conversation, which I try to further develop, based on what has already been done. My work at the Design Museum in Zurich was quite interesting in that way, because I had the chance to really dwell in design history. Overall I can’t lie my heritage as a Swiss designer. This results in a clear formal language without too much fuss and furthermore I try to include a playfulness, which I admire for example in Achille Castiglioni’s work.
What was the idea behind the collaboration with fashion designer Julian Zigerli?
At that time Julian and me had a design store together with a few other friends from Zurich to sell our designs. So we were sitting in the store, slightly bored and were joking around if we could design some ridiculous stuff and we had a laugh about flip flops. Suddenly we got quite serious about it and voilà that’s how this project came about. A funny sidenote is that because of this project the graphic designers from Norm call me fippfopp up to this day. Yes, Dimitri, this has come to an end!
What stimulates you outside graphic design?
Music! As in design, I love discovering how tracks and genres evolve, get remixed, edited, redesigned you could say. And with platforms on the Internet like Discogs it’s become easier than ever to dive deep into unknown territories.
Who are the designers that you admire?
As already mentioned Achille Castiglioni for his wit, Sottsass for his talent for composition, Grcic for his radness, the Bouroullec (also Inga Sempé!) for their elegance, Jasper Morrison for his fascination for the ordinary, Poul Kjaerholm for his proper use of materials, RO/LU as Artist-Designers, Bruno Munari for his wonderful books, Buckminster Fuller as a pioneer, Corbusier for giving zero fucks about anything. Also some Swiss designers like Wilhelm Kienzle, Susi and Ueli Berger, the Haussmann, Big-Game, there is just so much good stuff out there!
Which books are on your bedside table?
British Rail Design by James Cousins, a wonderful book with lovely images about the design of British Rail, which sadly got privatised here in the UK.
The last word…
Thanks to you for giving me the opportunity to take part in your project ligature.ch, I think you’re doing a really great job.
Interview: Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler — 12.15
Pictures ©Damian Fopp.