If today’s young designers were already established trendsetters, the hype around digital product design, short-term gimmickry and mass consumption would be a thing of the past. Our Talents 2019 celebrated handmade subtlety instead of anonymous conformity.
It’s exciting to see the influence that changes in society are having on the latest generation of international designers. This year, the ideas of the 36 young creatives were shaped by the themes of scarcity of space, sustainability and a passionate commitment to the DNA of their home countries.
Maria Braun designs multifunctional tableware
Ambiente Talent Maria Braun provides intelligent answers to changes in eating habits and the lack of space in today’s cities. Her multifunctional Univessels tableware line can be used not only for serving food and drinks, but also for cooking, baking, storing, freezing and reheating. The Berlin-based designer produces everyday containers from the patented InducTherm porcelain manufactured by the Eschenbach Porzellan Group, which combines uncompromising heat resistance with the qualities of porcelain. Induction-compatible coatings on the surfaces and bases ensure that the utensils can be used on all types of stove, while removable sealing rings enable safe transport between home and office.
Lotte Schloer needs less space for more bowls
Restricted living space, multifunctionality and porcelain are the things that inspire Lotte Schloer. During her semester abroad in Tokyo, she came up with the idea of transforming the round shape of traditional bowls by making two parallel side cuts. This means that they take up less space when positioned together. The lids of the Fitted Space porcelain range, whose design emerged from this inspiration, not only retain heat and aroma – if you turn the product upside down, the lid serves as a plate and the bowl then neatly covers the plate for serving.
She has also developed a range of ‘betotherm’ bowls for which she combined two strongly contrasting materials that complement each other wonderfully. While the round serving bowl made of fine porcelain is absolutely scratch-proof, its rough concrete frame preserves the temperature of the food. Thanks to their hexagonal outer shape, any number of these objects can easily be arranged and rearranged on the table. We will doubtless hear from the Munich-born artist again when she has added flat plates and oval bowls to her ‘betotherm’ product range.
Clap Design creates attractive table accessories
The Czech label Clap Design, on the other hand, focuses on playful aesthetics. “Minimalism, wood and magnets are our passion,” explains Václav Čajánek right at the beginning of our conversation. Together with his design partner Lukáš Pejchal, he creates handmade table accessories such as egg cups, coffee coasters and breadboards made of high-quality oak. The special thing about their creations is that each product contains a small magnet, invisible from the outside, which attracts metal objects and holds them firmly in place. According to the designer duo, they are ideal for a relaxed breakfast in bed.
Fiesta Mexicana with M.A.
The Talents in the Living area included artist Melissa Avila – a pioneer of homemade artisanship with a keen sense of place. She produces her own creations in collaboration with artisans from all regions of Mexico who still work with traditional or local techniques. She also holds public workshops that build a bridge between people from the traditional and modern worlds. Her current project, entitled M.A., aims to help preserve Mexican craftsmanship and create better conditions for the artisans. “However, many of my creations were simply too heavy to be transported to Frankfurt,” Melissa apologises. It didn’t matter though – with the colourful wool-len rugs and beautiful ceramic works her stand was definitely hard to overlook.
Rooshad Shroff showcases Indian traditions with modern design
Architect and designer Rooshad Shroff represented this year’s partner country India at Talents along with artist Viti Mittal. At his stand, he created a striking celebration of craftsmanship – just as he does in real life. For instance, his chairs are supported by two legs instead of the usual four, he attaches a table leg to the side rather than centrally and the wooden bench with its contemporary form and its seat made from Indian yarn is more reminiscent of an untouchable work of art than an everyday object. And yet all Rooshad Shroff’s handcrafted creations are absolutely stable and suitable for everyday use thanks to their ingenious design. Another highlight on his stand were his “Marble Bulbs”, which continue to shine long after the light has been switched off.
Aska turns factory waste into beautiful objects
The strongest contrast to avantgarde forms and bright colours was provided by the Swedes – it could hardly be otherwise. “My wife and I thought long and hard about how we could make something functional out of reclaimed raw materials in a typical Scandinavian design,” says Talent Linus Kjellqvist from the Aska design studio in Stockholm. The couple found the answer in the form of metal sheets made from factory waste, which they have been transforming into oval wall shelves since 2018. Uniform perforations in the sheets create aesthetic light effects, while mobile intermediate tiers of terrazzo, birch and walnut form the functional interior structure of the shelving. As a sideline, the two designers also produce magnets with leather fox and elephant ears. With a twinkle in his eye Linus Kjellqvist quips: “All the Insta moms immediately snap a picture”.
Bekwood argues for the courage to stand up for perfect imperfection.
The jewellery and accessory designs of this year’s up-and-coming designers proved that multifunctionality and locally produced objects are not only a home interior trend, but also play a role in the fashion and lifestyle sector. A dazzling example of this was Talent Ondřej Bek from Pilsen, who produces eyewear collections in Czech oak for his own label Bekwood: His handmade models not only help bring clarity to their wearers, they also serve as a social statement calling us to stand up for perfect imperfection.