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Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

‘‘Less but better‘‘: Frankfurt’s design scene

Dieter Raum’s exposition room in Frankfurt’s Museum of Decorative Art (photo by Anja Jahn)It is not just the buildings and architecture that makes Frankfurt such a well known city in Europe. The metropolis of the rivere main also stands out in the design field, specifically in graphic and industrial design.

Because of different influences, Frankfurt was coined as the ‘‘city of design‘‘ in the 20th century. It is worth mentioning the Adler factories, advised by the architect Walter Gropius, and the Bauer’sche Gießerei foundry typeface, where the iconic ‘Futura’ emerged. The Braun company also exercised great influence over the city in the second half of the last century, thanks to their innovative, timeless and clear user-orientated designs. Dieter Rams, creator of many contemporary, classic designs such as the electrostatic loudspeaker LE1 model, Regie and Atelier HiFi equipment, or the ET66 pocket calculator, transformed the motto of Mies van der Rohe from ‘less is more’ to ‘less but better’. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, valued the Wiesbaden designer’s design philosophy. Today, in the Frankfurt Museum of Decorative Art, you can visit a room which shows Ram’s building designs, such as the well known Regalsystem 606 shelving system.

Furniture designers are still shaping Frankfurt’s design scene today. Therefore, we can find e15 company furniture in places such as the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg, in the offices of the architect David Chipperfield, even in exclusive restaurants in the city such as Stanley Diamon, which can be purchased from anywhere in the world. Classic products include the BIGFOOT™ table and the BACKENZAHN™ stool, which were developed during the 90’s by the company founder, Philipp Mainzer.

Table and stool designed by Philipp Mainzer, founder of e15 (photo of e15).

Sebastian Herkner is a good example of the new generation of designers in Frankfurt. Like many others, he studied in the Offenbach University of Art and Design and has won various Wallpaper Design Awards. Some of his well known creations include the Bell Table (designed for ClassiCon), although he has also created pieces for other companies such as Moroso, Fontana Arte and Rosenthal.

Nevertheless, as well as big names there are small businesses and brands like Frank Landau (furniture design), Lika Mimika (shoe design) who make Frankfurt the ‘‘city of design’’. Even in everyday life, restaurants, cafes and bars show that the demand for design and aesthetics is constantly increasing.


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