Designer Michael Geldmacher has been creating beautiful and functional furniture since 2005. Having designed the elegantly seek ‘Elephant‘ and ‘Sharkey‘ chairs for Italian brand Kristalia we were curious to know more about Geldmacher’s own insights of the design industry over the past 20 years and to learn about what the designer sees as the biggest challenges for the future.
The Munich based designer, Michael Geldmacher, shares his design background and influences.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to design.
My grandfather was a sculptor and I spent half my childhood in his studio watching him work.I think this was the foundation of my interest in creation. I later discovered the work of Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus and from then it was quite clear for me, that I wanted to work in some creative field.
Who were some early design inspirations of yours and how have they influenced your practice?
As German I am very closely tied to the strong history of design in our country. The above mentioned work of Mies van der Rohe was certainly a strong inspiration in my youth, as well as the Bauhaus. But also the Greek/Roman architecture and its attempt of perfect proportions was very influential when traveling from one archeological site to the next with my parents.
How would you describe your design process?
I am usually disappearing in the hide when designing. In my studio we don’t have that big brainstorming sessions, it’s more a very personal process of approximation to an idea or a problem.I usually work quite conceptual before designing the first line, trying to find some deeper understanding of the matter. I only then make it public and hand it over to somebody to develop it more deeply.
Is there a design of yours that best represents your approach? Why?
I think “random” shows this approach best. When we developed it (It was with my former Business-partner as Neuland Paster&Geldmacher back then, today I am working on my own) we did not think of designing a shelf, but we thought of the meaning books have to people. The basic discovery was the very individual meaning of books to every person, like everybody has its most beloved or most disliked book. According to that we developed a shelf, that gives every book its very own space and doesn’t force them all in one line.
How do you think industrial design has changed over the past 20 years? And where do you think we will see the biggest changes in the future?
Design nowadays affects every aspect of our life. 20 years ago, when talking about design, we have been talking about mainly objects. Today we speak about services, organizations, ideas, that all are designed. I think that in the future design will have to redefine itself linguistically. When speaking of design today we mean “problem-solving” and the more traditional design of physical objects isn’t that important anymore. Fortunately people will have to sit and dine also in 100 years from now, so I don’t worry about my profession, but maybe we will be the only remaining “designers”, and all the others will be more “creators” of the future.
You’ve managed to see quite a bit of Australia in your visit here. What have some of the highlights been?
I am here to help a friend, who is running a design-project with students from UTS. I did some tutorial work with them and when planning the trip I decided to stay longer in Australia then just a couple of days. As I have been traveling a lot through the African desert in the past I was looking forward to the outback and the remote areas of Australia. I drove thousands of kilometers through this incredible open of the desert, watching the infinite skies and the zillions of stars. I loved the empty and the quiet and driving for hours and not meeting any car is amazing for Europeans. Thats definitely a highlight!! But also the people gave me such a good time here!