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Up-close with Stefan Diez

The German designer on Saturday in Design, and why the story of the Chassis for Wilkhahn has only just begun.

Up-close with Stefan Diez


June 9th, 2011

German designer Stefan Diez was in Singapore last month to attend Saturday in Design (SiD) and launch the much talked about Chassis chair for Wilkhahn.

This being his first visit to the country, Diez said he was keen to explore what the design community here had to offer during SiD.

“I think the smaller upcoming exhibitions will be, in the future, very important. Especially if it’s a chance for the local design scene to find a platform which is accessible to them,” says Diez.

Unlike overseas exhibitions, this allows you to use your local context, he continues. “If you’re from Singapore and you want to tell your story… you have different possibilities to fascinate your crowd. People can perhaps better understand what you have to say.”

Diez’s own story with the Chassis for Wilkhahn has really only just begun, but already it has created a buzz in the design world – and little wonder.

Stefan Diez

The red dot-awarded Chassis takes inspiration from a bicycle saddle, and is the first chair to utilise advanced automotive technology, while the multifaceted design allows the user to set the tone and determine its characteristics.

“A four-legged chair in itself is not a really crazy story,” the German designer candidly remarks. The challenge for him was to find a unique concept that reflected the brand and its design ethos.

Stefan Diez

“We started by thinking about what could be an appropriate answer for a universal chair, interpreted by a company like Wilkhahn.”

“The company gains a lot of respect for the materials they use, for the quality and the functionality of their designs.”

“So we did a lot of research on the Wilkhahn background and looked for materials, and a concept. And I think it took about one year before we presented our first ideas to the company using a sheet metal frame as a platform, on which a variety of different materials can be worked on to create a seat.”

And with an incredibly ’open-ended’ design that is able to adapt to different context, the Chassis project continues, says Diez.

Stefan Diez

From polypropylene and fabrics, he is now working closely with Wilkhahn to develop more material options for the interchangeable shell.

Stefan Diez

Diez says he will continue exploring the boundaries of what he can do. “We can take our own work as a chance to learn more. That makes it very interesting, and doesn’t give you the feeling that you already know everything.”

In Asia, Diez reveals that he is collaborating with the locals in Delhi, India on “a product, and a showroom for a product” which he describes as “a big experiment”. Like Chassis, the project is not a “closed package”, leaving room for future possibilities…

Stefan Diez


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