What do you find special about the ZHdK?
The Toni Areal site with all its inhabitants and guests and their diverse backgrounds is an endless pool of knowledge. I’m proud to contribute my share with my practical design experience, and I really appreciate the exchanges between students and teachers.
What could you not live without at the Toni?
Honest answer? I have to treat myself at least once a week to a «Lachs-Zöpfli» [plaited salmon bun] from the cafeteria, then I’m happy.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m like a sponge. I collect impressions every day, which then provide the inspiration for new ideas and projects. In conversations, pictures and texts – inspiration is everywhere. Unfortunately, a day has only 24 hours and the weeks are much too short as well, so I always feel that I can’t keep up with my ideas.
What would you say has been the most exciting moment in your career?
There are many. I love contrasts and new challenges. This has repeatedly led to exciting moments. For example, I designed the interior furnishings of a Catholic church and, at the same time, launched an art edition with 10 drag queens. While I give my design students an understanding of the limits of industrial production methods, I break down these boundaries in spatial installations. When I took over my parents’ record shop, I would never have thought that it would turn into a fashion label. Such developments are exciting and I want to remain open to what comes next.
What is your personal definition of design?
For me it is all about applied design, in the sense that it always serves a (functional) purpose and has a customer or user that if refers to and for whom it tries to come up with solutions. Without this vis-à-vis relationship, design would not be the same. My own works are often in the area of Critical Design, are multi-layered or have hidden messages which need to be revealed layer by layer. I’m interested in how people react in this process.
What is your favourite design object?
I love «conversation pieces». These are objects about which you can tell a story or that can even start a discussion. They can be striking designs such as Philippe Starcks «Jucy Salif», the «Skeleton Dress» by Iris van Herpen or the bookcase «Carlton» by Ettore Sottsass. But there are also many functional and simple designs with an intriguing story behind them.