Indesignlive stops by Clerkenwell Design Week in London to speak with Maigrau, a small design studio fusing German classicism with contemporary views.
June 13th, 2012
Emerging designers in Germany have a tough task ahead of them. It’s a country known for its cars and technology – think BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Siemens, etcetera – while its well-known furniture designs fade into the relative obscurity of the ’classics’.
But there’s a new energy coming from the country’s young design studios, and some are going out on their own.
One such company is Maigrau, a small design brand with a collective approach.
“Maigrau is not a design studio in the classical sense, which works for other brands,” explains Alexander Stamminger, Managing Director for Maigrau.
“We understand ourselves as a furniture brand with a collection comprising furniture, lighting and home accessories. Some of our products are designed in-house and some of them are designed by external designers.”
Having studied together at Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, Stamminger and partner Nick Back began Maigrau in 2008, with an aim to create products with a clear language, rooted in the “logic of their functionality and materials” (delightfully German).
The duo has a commitment to local manufacturing that harmonises with their environmental approach. But for them, sustainability is not the only motivator for German production.
“The label ’Made in Germany’ is historically grown and still stands for quality and stability of value,” Stamminger says.
“Many German manufacturers are remembering these values and have brought parts of their fabrication back to Germany. In many cases it is easier and cheaper for us to communicate with German manufacturers, and when the offered quality comes up to our requirements why should we look for manufacturers in foreign countries?”
Maigrau recently made their UK debut at Clerkenwell Design Week in London, presenting their latest collection.
“For us [Clerkenwell Design Week] offers opportunities; it’s very inspiring to get in contact with other creative folks from all over the world and see how our products are experienced by other people. Their view on our products is an important tool for us to improve our designs or to put new designs to the test.
“Apart from this we regard it as an important opportunity to get in contact with local dealers, architects and press. That’s the premise to establish in a new market like the UK.”
Without a long history of design woven into the fabric of German society, it’s often difficult for us to understand the pressure, and the opportunities, that such a culture can bring.
The exciting prospect of new brands – not just new designers – emerging from Germany is that, not only are they determined to continue a tradition of craftsmanship, quality and functionality, but they are determined to make a name for themselves as the ’new wave of German design’.
Let’s hope Maigrau is the first of many, and will soon widen their network to also encompass Australia.
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