Designers as Renaissance men: studio kaschkasch
We had a chat with the German duo kaschkasch, Florian Kallus and Sebastian Schneider. They work in furniture and lighting design and their most recent collection is the modular P.O.V. tables they created for the Czech company TON. We plunged into a conversation about what they like, how they work and also what product they wouldn’t want to live without.
A question relating to the present situation.
Work in the studio, or from home?
Florian: Our philosophy is based on partnership and sharing experiences. That’s why we prefer to work in the studio, where incidentally there is always good coffee and home-made biscuits to contribute to the good atmosphere. At the same time, we are also happy to venture outside the studio for our clients. Personal contact reinforces relationships both within and outside the company.
Sebastian: We get ideas in real time because we complement each other and handle projects together face to face.
And what about your creativity? Does it derive from the environment you live or work in?
Sebastian: Unequivocally yes. Impressions from the place where we spend more-or-less all our time affect how we feel and of course our performance and creations too.
Florian: I totally agree. At the same time, there are certain differences between the studio and home. The working environment, for me, is a clean piece of paper with nothing to distract the attention. I love design pieces at home and art in the space, and of course also things that I have a personal relationship with or memories of. In both places, however, natural light is essential. The more light the better.
Florian, you mentioned that you like having design pieces at home. Which designers do you admire?
Florian: The Castiglioni brothers. I am always surprised by the intelligence they put into every detail of their products.
Sebastian: I love the work of Vico Magistretti. Every piece is exceptional, but always both timeless and commercial. Creating a design that brings these three attributes together is not at all easy.
In your answers you both mentioned Italians who were working in the same period, though you each went in a different direction. And while we’re on the subject of agreeing with each other, how do you function as a duo when designing products?
Florian: We talk a lot, discuss the topic in question and sometimes we even argue! Within certain limits, of course. After all, our diversity can bring different points of view to the subject. We believe that this is exactly what moves all the products we create.
Sebastian: Florian focuses on the product as a whole, I like to deal with details and the technical implementation. I think that’s our greatest strength.
And what is the dream product you would like to design?
Sebastian: There’s still an infinite number, but I think that we’d agree on a chair for a writing desk. Chairs are challenging in terms of the complexity and detail that the designer proposes. At the same time, I personally love their technical components, as I already mentioned.
When you are designing, do you also look at materials and their future?
Florian: Yes, definitely. I believe that they will be used with greater awareness and prudence in the future. We probably don’t even need to talk about recycling and reusing now. The essential is also fewer products of better quality. That’s already a big step forward. But today many people aren’t aware and therefore thoughtlessly buy low-quality products.
What products do you like to surround yourself with and would never do without?
Sebastian: Bikes. All types and shapes.
Why did you choose to work as designers? Were you attracted by the prestige, or did you want to create things that would change the world for the better?
Florian: For me, it was the combination of materials, design and technology – it’s fascinating to watch the final piece emerging from certain substances.
Sebastian: I think it was both. I don’t know if it’s prestigious, but finding a job that fulfils you in terms of both content and finances is the best thing that can happen. Fortunately it worked out for us.
And what is the greatest challenge for designers currently, in your opinion?
Florian: The all-embracing nature of the work. Designers don’t just have to be good at the creative part of the work process, they also need to be familiar with the technical side and to know how to get the product into its final form. Among other things, they must move in business circles, and ideally marketing circles too.
So a good designer needs to be a sort of Renaissance man. What would you be if you hadn’t become designers?
Florian: I think I would create fragrances. I have a very sensitive sense of smell that is made for this job.
Sebastian: When I was ten, I sent some of my drawings to Walt Disney. Their answer said that I was talented and that I should apply again in twenty years when I had more experience. So probably I would be drawing comics today.