Hello Patrik, Thank you for taking the time to tell us a little bit about your industrial design studio, you co-found together with your colleagues Roger, Stefanie and Marco in the lovely Swiss village Männedorf.
Les’s kick this off with a Quick introduction and some info that describe your team best!
We are four industrial designers who ventured into making our own products. Ultimately this is a designer’s (or ours anyways) ultimate goal: To create a product from scratch (pun intended) – from the first idea through to packaging it and receiving the payment.
Ok, let’s talk basics…Name, Background, Workplace, favorite city, favorite artist or designer, processes
Officially we are STUDIO FROM SCRATCH GmbH. We are located in Männedorf, on the lake of Zurich. We built our office ourselves under the roof of our workshop which we share with a carpenter. Our name “STUDIO FROM SCRATCH” refers to our sometimes painful approach to design; that is, we question everything and literally start from scratch with all our projects.
Did you always want to become makers and creators?
We all have a deep passion for products, some of us say since we were born, others date their fascination for products more realistically: when they became adults. We’d say that unlike others, it is challenging for us to look at an object, product or print, and NOT think about whether it is “right” or not.
Right for us means that it is designed well. And “designed well” means that it carries the right signs for it’s intended use. To venture into a brief etymology of the word design, it stems from the Latin verb “designare”, which means to give something the right attributes, or “signs.” In modern language, the word “describe” would be more accurate translation for what the Romans use of the verb “designare”.
As an example, our clothes rack, the GEN.Y, is exactly that: a clothes rack: where you are supposed to hang your clothes. It is a reasonably sized wooden rod, angled upwards with a smooth edges so your clothes do not slip off or get damaged. Nothing more, nothing less.
The GEN.Y clearly shows that it is used to hang clothing. Now that seems very obvious, but try and think about the”designare” of everyday objects all around us, or even print products, websites etc. When you ask questions like: Where am I supposed to grip something? What is this meant to be use for? Is this going to hold the weight of the stuff I’m about to hang on it? Will it last the entirety of it’s intended use? It becomes clear that many products are not able to give clear answers. We try to make products that do answer these or similar questions, and then do it accurately.
But to answer your question directly: Yes, at least from when we were seriously thinking about what to do in life. 🙂
What do you want to achieve with your brand?
We want to make honest products. We want to make sure all people in the production chain can live well from their job and that our products don’t do more harm to nature than absolutely necessary (the best products from the planet are the ones you don’t buy).
Where do you find your inspirations?
Literally everywhere. All the time. It is kind of exhausting. 🙂
When designing an object, what usually comes first, the need or the idea?
For us, it is the idea that there are so many things that simply need to be made better, so we have a go at it.
Describe your style and outlook on design.
Honest products. Products that withstand any question. We try to achieve this by thinking/making everything from scratch. We believe that in the long term, the economy will be the ecology. Meaning that we ultimately will be “doing” things again as we originally did when we were behaving like monkeys – exactly like nature does. Everything being fully re-integrable into the never-ending flow of life, of nature. It’s a looong way to get there. We need big technological advancements to make it happen and for people to use them (that’s more where we see us).
What is your favorite Material and machine to work with?
Wood. CNC milling machine.
Which ideas would you love to make into reality?
The things we have in our pipeline? Not much I can say about that. One half is furniture/interior objects. The other half is high tech, mechanical products, which still comply with what I talked about above. And more.
What do you enjoy most while designing and creating?
The moments when we achieve flow. Everyone purely focused on the task at hand and co-operation to achieve something better than the together, rather than sole addition of every individual’s skills.
How does Switzerland influence the way you work, think and design?
To a great extent! Switzerland is one of the (sadly) few countries where life is honest (or very close). Everything is expensive, but the prices are honest, that is, they make sense when you really think about it. You pay five francs for a coffee, but you can get it organic, fair trade and you know the guy behind the counter is also be paid OK, has health insurance, time on the weekend to train his barista skills, spend time with his family and won’t be broke when retiring. His employer is paying taxes to keep public transport running, ideally buys locally and, by doing so, invests in the system. We want to work like that! To strengthen and broaden this life(style). Of course, we are still far away from perfect. Too many cars, too much consumerism, etc. Buying a dining table for 199.- CHF simply means profiting from someone else’s (relative) misery, or from a country ruining nature, all for the sake of short-term profit. Switzerland is an inspiration.
What are you going to focus on next?
Like I said before: More of what we are already doing and venturing out into high tech, high-performance products.
Wow, thank you so much for your openness, your thoughts on design, manufacturing, and culture! Understanding your aim to create a better product for a better economy and ecology is truly inspiring! We are very excited to try your products. Michael is really excited to receive you “FOLD” desk organiser you successfully funded on Kickstarter a few weeks ago! 🙂
We wish you all the best and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.