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2 August 2021
The German designer explains his vision of sustainability and tells about himself through two of his many projects
True sustainability lies not so much in recycling as in being able to extend life or remodel a piece of furniture, to be able to modify and fix it over the years. It is an aspect that the German designer Stefan Diez raises. He also explains that the designer is like a juggler, in balance between the lightness perceived by the viewer and the utmost seriousness and concentration in the execution of his work. His vision of lighting projects is also interesting: in a collection of lamps, the various versions – floor, ceiling, wall, countertop – are linked not by shape but by a concept.
What are the values that you cultivate through your work?
Well, we try to find simple, comprehensible and above all surprising solutions to problems or tasks that are not necessarily easy… I compare my job to that of a juggler: it looks easy, you can watch it for hours and never get tired of it, it’s playful and a bit cheeky because, objectively speaking, it’s an impossible game.
It is the search for a balance between lightness and seriousness, between joyful enjoyment and responsibility.
In your opinion (and experience), what matters most for sustainability? The materials used, the possibility of disassembling and replacing, the longevity of the product, other?
The integrity of a product is always more important than its recycling. Recycling is basically the worst possible thing that can happen to a product in a still utopian but soon to come circular economy.
However, the materials used play a crucial role in the possibility of reusing the product. Apart from the customers’ willingness to return the product accordingly…
Outdoor design is a big theme now, not only because of the season but also because we are all re-discovering our outdoor spaces. Which are the important aspects of this area of design?
With outdoor furniture, I want to achieve the same level of comfort as one knows for chairs, for example, from indoors. However, in the garden you have to deal with rain and especially the very aggressive UV radiation. The materials are exposed to quite a bit of stress, which is why the selection has to be made very carefully. Anyway, if something breaks after years of use, it is even more important that the customer can repair it himself. We try to take this into account in our designs.
At first glance, Costume for Magis is a modular sofa: it offers almost infinite flexibility for the most diverse spatial situations. Yet it is fundamentally different: the cover can be changed and cleaned, it can be disassembled into its components, and each component can be replaced and recycled at the very end. What is also special about Costume is that it is a single element that can be extended with armrests or pouf. This ensures that as few components as possible become superfluous when the configuration is changed.
Behind the Guise family stands a physical principle, not a form. So I have not tried to establish a formal principle for the different typologies, but rather to achieve the best interpretation of an optical trick for each.
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