Set to be announced as Designer of the Year in January 2019, thirty seven year old German designer Sebastian Herkner is ever busy with a growing number of collaborations with international design houses – no less than 21 projects in the pipeline during 2018 for Pulpo, Moroso, Dedon, Thonet and Lintello to name but a few.
FashionRepublik, a big fan of Sebastian Herkner, highlights some of the reason he deserves this recognition. Congratulations!
As a regular at the fair, “I never miss a session,” he says and this new year he will get the he will have a platform to unveil some of his latest creations whilst simultaneously showcasing the manufacturing processes that have always been so close to his heart.
The designer with an eye for color has an appetite for a challenge has not only led him to design glasses, bicycles and perfume bottles or make forays into the world of interior design, but also to embark on an internship with Stella McCartney during the course of his studies.
“I was interested in the manufacturing processes used in fashion, and understanding how colors are put together,” he explains. The flair for combining colors he honed whilst there now underpins his signature style. “Color is often the very last thing designers think about. For me, it’s always the starting point for the whole design process.” He does admit, none- the less, that “it can take years to find that perfect color combination.”
Since first setting up his studio in the Frankfurt suburb of Offenbach am Main back in 2006, Sebastian Herkner has unremittingly focused on creating designs that fuse tradition with creativity, new technology with craftsmanship. An approach he adopted long before the design world started surfing this now supremely fashionable wave.
His unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship was what guided his first landmark design, the “Bell” table, whose steel and brass platter nestles on a hand-blown glass base produced in a centuries-old Bavarian glass factory.
Be it in his studio, surrounded by a six-strong team that herald from all four corners of the world, or during his frequent trips to China, Colombia, Thailand, Senegal and Canada visiting local manufacturers, design houses and craftsmen, Sebastian Herkner has a longstanding habit of quenching his thirst for ideas elsewhere. “Different cultures, skills and lifestyles all fuel my inspiration” he explains. He also finds his inspiration in traditional materials – ceramics, leather, marble…. And art. Another of his iconic pieces, the “Oda” floor lamp (Pulpo, 2014), bears testament to that.
Resembling a re-servoir of light, the design was directly inspired by photographic images of water towers captured by Bernd and Hilla Becher. Every single source of inspiration is perfectly in tune with his quest for authenticity, his desire to use sustainable mate- rials, and his sense of respect for the time it takes to create a truly stunning piece. His approach to design is both ethical and committed, imbuing the creative process with the same degree of importance as the actual end product itself.