“Good design – how it works and how it can transform companies” – when the Buchholz-based incubator ISI announced a talk with this title we were eager to attend and excited to see what an industrial designer specialised in packaging considers to be “good design”. And although we were well entertained as well as thoroughly informed, we did miss references to Cradle to Cradle, which played no role at all in Sören Jungclaus’ lecture.
However, the audience in ISI’s fully occupied large seminar room – the walls of which are adorned with real living moss – was able to glimpse some exciting insights into how ideas are developed. Jungclaus, who for 15 years worked as chief designer for the architect and designer Hadi Teherani and is currently self-employed in Hamburg, simply chatted away. One tale he relayed was about the implementation of a “floating” office chair for Interstuhl. The company had put a lot of money into the design of the chair, whose complete technology was tucked away in the seat, resulting in a very puristical appearance. However, when the development of the casters, which featured a hole in the centre, ended up costing 120,000 Euros, the head of the company refused to pay up. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Jungclaus reacted by reminding him that you cannot buy a designer suit and then combine it with a worn-out pair of shoes – and got the go-ahead.
The talk was entertaining thanks to tales of this calibre. But what, the question remains, constitutes “good design” in the eyes of Jungclaus? For him, it comes down to longevity, he answered. If the chosen materials as well as the methods of construction combine to create a potential heirloom, then it’s good design. However, he added, customers also increasingly valued the issue of recyclability. “It plays a much bigger role nowadays than it did ten years ago – but things do take their time,” Jungclaus said. The fans of Cradle to Cradle among the audience would have preferred a much more active role on the part of the designer – or designers in general.
Possibly the most impressive product was the designer birdhouse in the shape of a drop. After it had been designed on paper and in the workshop it had to pass practical testing before it could turn into a bestseller. As it turns out, tits are quite impressed by the design – and, by extension, so are garden owners and birdwatchers.