Studio Aisslinger in Berlin. Man on left is in detention. Woman on right is watching a company ping pong game. The hex screen in foreground gives us a taste of the eponymous designer’s predilection for modular design.
In our gathering of modular product designs from all the world, it’s hard not to notice that many of them emanate from Italy. Just think Magis, B-Line, Kartell and already you’re talking about a slew of top-flight and enduring interactive pieces. Maybe it’s the climate, the food, the culture – who knows why such a regional concentration exists for this type of design? Still, it would be hard to develop a convincing theory on Italian supremacy without having to explain why, just a few hundred kilometers to the frozen north, the modular meter spikes again as we approach the Berlin studio of Werner Aisslinger.
Aisslinger is a very talented, multi-media and prolific designer who has generated some of the world’s most innovative product, interior and architectural design for brands such as Mercedes Benz, Swiss furniture company Vitra, adidas and Bombay Sapphire (Bombay Sapphire?). He’s got offices in Berlin and Singapore, so we’re talking about a global reach of considerable dimension. That’s good news for aficionados of customizable design.
Aisslinger’s chairs and chaise on display inside the Berlin studio. Below is his Plus Unit for Magis.
The company’s artistic philosophy focuses on making sophisticated new designs from novel materials and technologies, whether modular or not. Fortunately, this is not the stuff of geeky sci-fi fantasies devoid of the human dimension. Rather, the design firm says it wants to change the paradigm of modern product design by looking beyond purely functional capacities to integrate a “dialogue between emotions and technology”. Progressive? We’ve just barely scratched the surface. In an estimated 5 to 10 years the firm has plans to install a small chip inside every product that will generate product information (producer, designer and distributor) and an opportunity for instant purchase when scanned with any type of wireless communication device.
Aisslinger’s deep interest in repetitive, modular design is evident in some of the product displays in his Berlin office. On the left is Mesh, a 2007 concept design for a lightweight semi-opaque screening system (more on Mesh below). On the right is a 2008 modular bookcase made out of, what else, books!
We aren’t the only ones with an interest in this portlfolio: Aisslinger has had his furniture and product design featured at world-class museums such as MoMA (where he has a permanent exhibit on his chair design ), the MET, the French Fonds National d’Art Contemporain in Paris, the Musuem Nue Sammlung in Munich and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil, Germany.
What follows is just a sampling of the modular designs to have come out of his offices over the years.
Coral Seating and Lighting
TOP: Coral seating cushions lay on the beach as if they’ve been washed up from the sea. BOTTOM: Translucent Coral lights using a similar hex unit.
Inspired by the micro organisms emanating from the deep depths of the ocean floor, these modular seating arrangements and lighting fixtures from 2009 are composed of flexible hexagon funnels made from a mix of felt and polycarbonate that create a coral shape when joined in multiples. The sea-inspired pieces come in varying color schemes and, being modular, can be scaled to suit.
Embroidered design enters the Age of the New Industrialism.
Perhaps you were under the impression that crocheting was culturally retrogressive. No more. Aisslinger managed to transform this traditional, old-school craft into a progressive, interactive and contemporary design form using high-technology and software. Its 2-dimensional embroidery designs are directly programmed into ‘smart’ machines that stitch the pattern together to make 3-dimensional objects.
Your request for privacy should not result in staring at stark white walls!
Gone should be the days of the opaque wall divider or cubicle. For subtle separation with visual appeal, Aisslinger designed a lightweight textile structure evocative of honeycombs. The units interconnect to form customizable interior dividers with the potential to be bent into 3-dimensional shapes – distinctly unlike most separators, which are typically confined to straight planes. Made with three different types of relief structures, the hex motif and ribs were inspired by a blow-up of a vegetable organism. The color contrast of the fibers and directional changes in the weaving pattern add perforation, depth and texture to the dividers.
PLUS Unit for Magis
Stack up or down with the playful storage design unit by Aisslinger.
Similar to UP’s, the PLUS unit is a modular storage system that allows for customizable configuration of shelving units. Traditionally stacked or stacked side-by-side like a staircase, the aluminum drawers add a dimension of fun to functional design. Check them out at our store.
UP’s for RS Barcelona
TOP AND BOTTOM: Get sweeping views of any city with the 360 panoramic views of the Loft Cube. It travels anywhere you go and comes with a handsomely coordinated interior design. Will not fit into an overhead compartment.
Meet the modern day mobile home. This architectural piece is so cutting-edge that it may still belongs in the future. Composed of four walls of either translucent, transparent or opaque material, the structure forms a mobile living cube with 360 degree panoramic views. Custom interior design options are available so that lucky cube-owners can turn the Loft Cube into any type of living or working space, anywhere they would like. Made with the highest quality lightweight materials, the Cube Loft takes only a few days to set-up.
Bombay Sapphire sets the mood blue with their lighting fixture designed by Aisslinger.
Created for Bombay Sapphire, this large-form lighting structure created the ultimate mood lightning for one of the gin brand’s events. Made of 50 x 50 cm modules, the communal lighting object can be arranged in a variety of pixel-like configurations to create larger formats. Each individual module is designed to create a 3-dimensional shape that allows for an infinite number of additional modules. When shaped together, the overall product is an installation of fluid movement among convex and concave shapes (that’s fluid, in case you didn’t see the connection).
And this just in:
Hemp House at DMY Berlin 2011
TOP AND BOTTOM: A structural system made from the cannabis plant. A modular Mary Jane anyone?
Exploring sustainable materials, Aisslinger presented his Hemp House at DMY berlin 2011. The structure is made of more than 70% natural fibers, such as hemp and kenaf, bound together with acrodur, a water-based acrylic resin from german chemical company BASF.
The compression of renewable raw materials forms a new environmentally-friendly composite that is lightweight yet durable. Says Aisslinger, “Design history is driven by new technologies and material innovation. For us designers, the advent of these technologies has always been the starting point for new objects and typologies in design”.
Like we said…thanks Mr. Aisslinger.