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ICFF Designers: Andreas Kowalewski

Kowalewski talks about craftsmanship and the importance of intuitive experimentation in his design process.

Dan Gould
Dan Gould on May 14, 2011.

This week, PSFK will be interviewing a variety of designers — both established and up-and coming, to give a preview of what to look forward to at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), taking place this Friday through Monday in NewYork. This year, the majority of designers will be displaying their work at the Jacob K. Javits center, and we’ve asked them to give us some insights into what they will bedisplaying, their design process, where to find them in the center, and which booths they’ll be checking out in their free time.

We asked Andreas Kowalewski to share some thoughts and images about his work and the work of others with us.

What are you preparing to show at this year’s ICFF?

I am going to present two versions of my Clamp Chair design, featured by ICFF Studio and Bernhardt Design. Here a short description:

The intention was to design a comfortable yet simple wooden chair, which reveals the beauty of the wood material and the skills of the craftsman. The “Clamp” principle shapes the chair consistently and determines its character, by interlocking the legs, corpus, seat and backrest structurally as well as visually and forms eventually a seamless unity of all elements. Made from a single piece of moulded plywood, the upholstered backrest embraces the body of the user like a shell. Each of the wooden parts was carefully selected in terms of colouring and grain. The structural details such as the wooden joints emphasize the aesthetical appearance and precision of the chair.

How would you briefly describe your design process?

There is no secret recipe for my design process. Sometimes ideas come spontaneously and easy or sometimes it requires much more thinking.

In fact, my work is mainly a result of experimentation and experience, which is intuitive and perceptual. The pencil is still one of my main tools, which leads to the translation of my ideas. A close collaboration and identification with the specific handcraft or manufacturing method, during the development process, is very important to me, as well as the joy of working on an object with my own hands. I try to create harmonious things, which improve the atmosphere and quality in somebody’s life either aesthetically or pragmatically.

However, I prefer the slogan “Well done is better then well said!” (Benjamin Franklin).

Have any recent design trends influenced your current work?

It is good in any creative discipline, to be aware of trends. I am very greedy for new things in general and interested to see new creations from different fields in our society such as contemporary art, science, music … etc. But I never felt being directly inspired by trends, rather motivated to push my designs even further in order to create something new and unique. I believe observing things, details, moments or people’s behaviors in everyday life, influences my work the most.

Who is the one designer whose work you will definitely be checking out at the show?

I don’t have a specific designer in my mind; there are many whose creations I would like to see in reality. But I will definitely check out the Vitra booth, since their showrooms are always the most contemporary and harmoniously coordinated to me, and I highly appreciate the majority of the designer they are working with.

Do you feel the ICFF show is evolving in a way which keeps pace with the design industry?

Difficult to estimate for me, since I personally haven’t been to the ICFF show before.

Where will you be exhibiting during this year’s ICFF?

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, booth 870

 

Andreas Kowalewski

As the culmination of all our ICFF coverage, PSFK will be hosting a Salon on the Future of Design featuring the editors of top design websites. The event will take place this Friday the 13th from 8:30 to 11am at Soho House.

Click here for details.

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