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Thomas Schnur designs exhibit made from Covestro materials

© Thomas Schnur, Covestro

Cologne based furniture designer Thomas Schnur designed “The Factory of Ideas” for interzum 2017. It is based on a series of innovative and sustainable products by the polymer producer Covestro, many of which are extensively used in the furniture industry.

The trained cabinetmaker rapidly developed an interest in different materials while he was studying in Aachen and Saint-Etienne: “I was always very curious about other materials and how they can be used, so I was grateful that Covestro asked me to design an exhibit that combines several materials,” says Schnur. He is proud of his collaboration with the company, which is part of Bayer AG.

“The Factory of Ideas” shows the transformation of a cloud structure into a seat on a pedestal. The exhibit aimed to communicate the materials’ different properties to trade fair visitors. The designer therefore chose different elements and symbols for his piece. The cloud represents a polyurethane foam that is made up of 20 per cent CO2. It is surrounded by a cube made out of Makrolon polycarbonate, an extremely robust material. On the one hand, this display case is intended to symbolise protection through the material’s strength; on the other, it stands for the object’s museum-like character. The seat is covered with a water-based textile and represents the communicative aspect of the trade fair. The whole object stands on a pedestal with steps and a railing. Both have a water-based coating that is just as resistant as a solvent-based coating. “The wood does not feel as if it has been sealed with this coating. It feels like oiled or almost uncoated wood, but it is still resistant to environmental influences,” explains Schnur. The railing and steps make the coating’s pleasant haptics and robustness tangible.

“What we have here is the shift between the field of industry, where Covestro operates, and the exhibition field, which is the context for interzum. But I also wanted to symbolise a bit of homeliness by using wood and an upholstered seat. The object is located in the triangle between exhibition, industry and homeliness,” he says.

The idea of the factory came to him quickly: “Covestro is located in an industrial context, and I didn’t want to gloss over that. But to open up that rather cool concept, I thought of Andy Warhol’s factory, a hub for creatives.” In his exhibit, Schnur has brought these ideas together – the industrial production facility on one side and a factory of ideas on the other.

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