Magazine Contact #14 - Magazine - About us - Concept Wiesner-Hager

Designers act on conviction

Magazine Contact #14

Wiesner-Hager visited arge 2, a longstanding partner in product design (e.g. ayo, update, sign_2, arta). In their studio in Munich Georg Kaserer and Michael Spindler are at work in their dream job. arge 2 are all-rounders, with commissions ranging from the Pommes boutique in Munich and Fischer Ski Nordic to office furniture and household devices. Their aim: to define the ingenuity of a product – not necessarily to do everything differently.

Do you have a specific style? How would you describe it – in a few words?
Georg: Authentic, appealing and constant. Our design hasn’t anything to do with fashionable gimmicks, nor does it necessarily have to be new.
Mike: We aren’t loud.

What did you always want to design?
Mike: A sailing boat. Sailing is my passion, but the boats often convey the pseudo-snugness of a caravan. I visualize a sailing boat with an interior in the Scandinavian log cabin style.

What was your most unusual project until now?
Georg: A sowing machine with large area coverage and a working width of up to 25 metres. You would never credit how much design goes into a modern agricultural machine these days – especially the driver’s cabin!
Mike: For me it was the “Ladybird Ball”, I made it while still a student. It was sold incredibly often and many people remember it from their childhood when I show them photos of it (editors’ comment: we do too!).

Do you ever turn down a project?
Georg: Yes, if we don’t see any point in it and if it only means simply producing something. Mike: It’s also important that the client and we have the same wavelength.

How tricky is the tightrope walk between the wishes of the client and your ideas?
Georg: This depends entirely on the client. Of course our work is client-oriented; but we want to challenge clients, work together with them; however, they should contribute something as well.
Mike: This collaboration generates a certain friction. And this is a good thing, it yields something new.

What’s important for you here?
Georg: To create the products down to the last detail. We frequently hear from clients “sales aren’t going to increase just because of that” or “no one will notice this anyway”.
Mike: This might be true, but the consumer can always sense when a product isn’t right, even if they can’t articulate it because they lack the specialist knowledge.

What do you get your inspiration from?
Georg: As a designer you always feel the urge to discover something new, to sound out new limits. This is a process of constant questioning: what effect does something have?
Mike: You simply have to be a good observer, it doesn’t matter when or where.

What great social changes have taken place in recent years? How is this reflected in design?
Georg: Recent years have seen intensive change. A pivotal theme is the issue of the environment, and politics are at last becoming aware of it. Globalisation/localisation play a part in this.
Mike: Design is increasingly distancing itself from exaggeration and ostentation. Concentration now focuses more on a simple idea, on more originality. The love of detail, one’s own values are at the centre of interest again. Honesty and authenticity are being given more priority

Can the mind of a product designer ever take a break?
Georg: A designer acts on conviction. The work is full of delights, full of stimuli. You busy yourself with life, you revel in curiosity. This isn’t a forty-hour week office job.
Mike: But your whole spirit is also caught up in it. When a result isn’t right, this can get you down occasionally and you suffer…

What is your favourite book?
Georg: I tend to read short stories, novellas; there is rarely time for anything longer.
Mike: My most thumbed book is my vegetarian cookery book – although I’m not a militant vegetarian. Good food enriches life, like good design.

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