Born in Bad Mergentheim, German designer Sebastian Herkner studied product design at the Arts and Design University of Offenbach. During his formative years, he did an internship with Stella McCartney in London, which helped him to refine his perception of materials, colours, structures and fabrics. His professional experiences while still studying led him to come into contact with diverse cultural contexts in which he was able to experiment with new technologies as well as traditional craftsmanship.
In 2006, he founded his own studio in Offenbach am Main, where he focuses on the potential of different materials and on the importance of minute details. The studio has created signature design objects for producers such as ClassiCon, Dedon, Fontana Arte, La Chance, Moroso, Pulpo, Rosenthal and Very Wood, along with interior design projects for exhibitions and museums. For Cappellini, Sebastian Herkner has created the Telo Lounge chair, a project that is reminiscent of the field chairs found in African lodges. Since 2007, he has held several courses at the University HfG Offenbach am Main as a visiting lecturer. He has also received numerous awards such as the “German Design Award 2011” in the new talents category, the “EDIDA Award 2015” for young talents, as well as being invited as the Guest of Honour at the IMM of Cologne in 2016.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
Already when I was young my best way to express myself was creativity- at that time it was not about industrial design- it was much more interdisciplinary from furniture to art to fashion.
What is your process when approaching a new work?
At the beginning is always a conversation with the brand and the people behind it. it is necessary to understand their history and was is typical for them and their products. On the other side it is most important to understand if there is a common vision we want to share. I need a partner to believe in same values of sustainability, crafts, real materials, long lasting objects and so on.
How did your travels around the world influence your design?
I am a very curious and open minded person who interact very responsible with new discoveries, people and cultures. i think respect and patience are important in my profession. I learn a lot by visiting international workshops, observing crafts and meeting amazing artisans. They are the ones giving me a lot of inspiration and also the man power and passion to develop the ideas and concepts together.
How do you blend traditional and contemporary design in your work?
It is a vera intimate process driven by my intuition and instinct. Design is about emotions and experience. I love to combine crafts with new technologies, old materials with new ones. It is a challenge and you need to find the right balance like in life we need a balance between analog life and digital world.
You have been named Designer of the Year 2019: what do you feel are the biggest challenges for designers working today?
I think we need to rethink the whole process of production and consumption. We still produce far to much rubbish, trendy stop itobjects. This we need to chance as well as the way and location of production. Like in the fashion industry there are many companies producing in horrible workshops cheap products. I am not interested in fast objects (fast fashion), I want to create products which become companions for life.
Collar for GubiEchino table for ZanottaMerwyn lounge setting for Wittmann
Salone 2019, Ribbon for EXTBanjooli for Moroso