The minimalist aesthetic that all but defines functional design is typically associated with the likes of Scandinavia and Japan, yet the design language has become global to the extent that designers from across the globe have adopted those high standards for quality as their own. Thus, Anne Boenisch and Steffen Schellenberger explore a universal approach to understated yet beautiful design as much as the legacy of, say, their fellow countryman Dieter Rams.
In fact, the duo repped their hometown with a felicitous bit of wall text, lest the fairground crowds mistake their work for that of designers from further afield. Schellenberger's "3rdqualityfirst" wall clock highlights aberrations in a smooth porcelain surface—usually regarded as unwanted defects—by recasting the markings as a clock.
Nevertheless, I must admit that Boenisch's "Motion" stool was the piece that initially caught my eye. Like Christian Kayser's "Synkraft Stool," which we saw at Tuttobene's "The New Glint of Things," the form vaguely resembles an African drum, with its thin stainless steel struts.
Where Kayser's frame suggested a spiral, Boenisch's seat looks a bit more the Eames' "Eiffel" chair legs. Therein lies the rub: the "Motion" stool can be flattened into a modernist flower with a two-handed tug to the midsection of the frame—Boenisch likened it to an exercise apparatus. (The side table of the same name is simply a proportionally larger version; not pictured here.)
The design has an uncanny affinity to Boenisch's "Karat" lamp, made from folded aluminum sheets. In addition to the warm glow that emanates from the bottom of the shade—enhanced by its gold-anodized interior—light also limns each vertex, shining through acrylic plates at each edge.
Schellenberger's work stood opposite that of his colleague, and while I wouldn't have guessed that their booth was split in two halves, I can see how the two designers' work diverges in the sense that Schellenberger's work is a bit more expressive, while Boenisch prefers to emphasize edges and angles. Still, the work is excellent across the board, and the arrangement of Schellenberger's work—in two groups of three (save for the clock)—underscores his approach. Indeed, the "Triplets" (above) demand a threefold arrangement:
By playfully manipulating the conventional proportions of a chair, the basic idea of the triplets changes the character and functionality of the furniture... Despite their individuality, THE TRIPLETS will need the spatial proximity to at least one of their siblings to unfold their spirited character.
Lastly, the "Put" side table is an elegant vessel for anything and nothing, doubling as a functional terrarium when filled with greenery.