At 37, German designer Sebastian Herkner, who trained at Offenbach University of Art and Design, is embarking on an ever-growing number of collaborations with international design houses (no less than 21 projects in the pipeline during 2018 for Moroso, Dedon, Thonet and Lintello to name but a few). Over the course of the past decade, he has received some thirty awards in recognition of his innovative yet traditional work.
A pretty astonishing career path for the design scene’s rising star who, since first setting up his studio in Offenbach am Main back in 2006, has unremittingly focused on creating designs that fuse tradition with creativity, new technology with long-established crafts. This is a man who boasts an unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship, a flair for colour, an eagerness to embrace everything global and to draw on other cultures, an appetite for traditional materials (ceramics, wood, marble and leather), a desire to encompass sustainability, a keen eye for detail, a sense of respect for the time it takes to create a truly stunning piece… A long list of values that guide him in his relentless quest for authenticity, from the iconic “Bell” table (ClassiCon), a steel and brass platter nestled on a hand-blown glass base, to his very latest creations. These are set to be unveiled at MAISON&OBJET, an event that Sebastian Herkner holds particularly close to his heart, having always harboured a soft spot for French culture. Let’s hear what he has to say.
I never miss a session of MAISON&OBJET, and I’m extremely honoured to have been named Designer of the Year. It’s an amazing opportunity to show off my design philosophy, plus Paris is a city I absolutely adore, which really is the cherry on the cake.
Yes, I’ve worked with La Chance. I designed the marble and copper “Salute” table for them back in 2013.
I have a real soft spot for French culture, and notably your interior architecture and design, which always ooze that sense of elegance and sophistication that are such an integral part of the country’s identity. France’s designers and interior designers aren’t afraid of using colour, of combining different fabrics, and there are plenty of amazing design houses currently out there doing just that. I particularly appreciate the huge wealth of craftsmanship France has to offer. That was something I discovered at a very early age, as we often holidayed in France when I was young. In Germany, our culture is primarily built on engineering, so I think that makes me even more appreciative of everything France offers.
The Rodin museum, which I first discovered at the age of 17 when I came to Paris on a school trip. I fell in love with the place almost instantly, and was captivated by its gardens and café. It’s like a little oasis in the heart of the city.
I’m also a fan of Brancusi’s Studio near the Pompidou Centre. I find the majestic proportions of the artist’s work truly fascinating. Then there’s the Hunting Museum, the “Musée de la Chasse”, which I only discovered very recently. The place has got a truly unique vibe, and inviting contemporary artists to exhibit there is a really brilliant idea.
I love popping into the Kreo gallery, which is a real trailblazer in the “design art” field and always showcases some exciting designers. Then there are the galleries in rue de Seine, Jousse and Downtown, which exhibit some of the biggest names in 1950s design, and notably Prouvé. But for me, the “Paris vibe” also comes from all those countless bistro terraces with their unmistakable chairs, where you can take the weight off your feet and tuck into a steak tartare washed down with a glass of wine. Or the pretty little courtyard at the Hôtel Amour where I stayed last time I was here.