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Haptic lamps and rugs made of fashion waste:
Pure Talents Contest 2018

Photo: Sophia Buhné

If there’s one thing young designers like doing, it’s turning the world upside down. And the competition for emerging talent at the international interiors show imm cologne is the ideal opportunity to see them do just that. The results presented in the form of prototypes are not only exciting and inspiring, they also look fantastic. And it’s not uncommon for them to be really useful, as demonstrated by the success stories of many former Pure Talents Contest entries, as designer Harry Paul van Ierssel (Studio Harry & Camila, Barcelona) affirms: “We have seen how projects exhibited in the Pure Talents Contest have subsequently been produced by wellknown brand manufacturers. That has delighted me, because it shows that we have done a good job. And that’s what matters.” Sophia Buhné with her Honeycomb Carpets and Umberto Garcia mit his lamp Varjo did their job at least that good, that they wewe invited to imm cologne 2018 to present their prototypes.

But it is also a hard job for the jury to select the 20 nominees, confirms Managing Director of Architonic, Tobias Lutz, from Zurich: “I sit on many panels, and the standard at the Pure Talents Contest is one of the highest that I know, because it takes great skill to get good entries. And imm cologne really excels at doing this thanks to its reputation. I am amazed that there are still new things to invent and design.”


Modern rugs made of recycled materials of the fashion industry: Honeycomb Carpets by Sophia Buhné

In her Hamburg studio, Sophia Buhné designs and weaves her unique rugs with their surprising, exciting textures and material combinations. Using traditional looms, she is reinterpreting the rug – in a contemporary and sustainable manner, using natural and recycled materials from the fashion industry. Sometimes opulent, sometimes in an understated Nordic style, always unusual and artistic.


Pure Talent’s Voice with Sophia Buhné

Why did you become a designer?
Because I love to create. Even as a child I often started my day with drawing in the kindergarten. I also enjoyed rearranging my room and frequently repainted my walls with lots of different colours. Then came my apprenticeship in a traditional and fascinating company. During that time I developed my passion for surface design through working with high quality materials and techniques. Afterwards, it was the right decision to study textile design because it brings craft and design together.

Do you still need a pencil as a designer today? Or do you work digitally?
No, not necessarily, but I like to use a pencil to draw new patterns for the loom.

Photo: Sophia Buhné

Do you have a role model?
I am really interested in the women who have been working in the weaving studio at the Bauhaus like Anni Albers, Gunta Stolzl and Otti Berger. They struggled, but left their mark on one of the most influential periods of art and design.

Does design make you happy?
The process can be frustrating and thrilling at the same time. I am happy when there is a successful outcome.

What do you find satisfactory and / or unsatisfactory in design work?
It is very satisfiying to be able to express myself through my work, but it is a long way to base an existence on it.

What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
Sometimes, I would love to have an additional arm for weaving ̶ to be mounted when needed.

What does the imm cologne trade show mean to you?
It is a great opportunity to get to know manufacturers and other designers. I am especially excited to present my work at such a big venue.


A haptic lamp: Varjo by Umberto Garcia

Varjo is a lamp made up of six rings of different sizes. A set of elastic ribbons run through a series of slots in each ring, forming the lampshade. The rings are not fixed but free to slide up and down, by holding one and shifting it, the configuration of the whole lamp can be changed. By moving the rings not only the shape is modified but also the light intensity. The user can choose how much light to let through and how much to block.


Pure Talent’s Voice with Umberto Garcia

Why did you become a designer?
As I remember, I unconsciously approached design since I was very young. Along with my mother and my father, an architect and a designer, we used to spend entire weekends sketching, painting and crafting. Sometimes paper wasn’t enough for me, so I went for bigger surfaces such as walls (with my mother’s joy). I had an entire partition in our house that I could use as I wanted. As a kid, I got fascinated by every sort of object. Even the tiniest one used to move my curiosity. Becoming a designer was then a direct consequence of my education and sensitivity.

What was the most unusual place where you ever had a brilliant idea for a new design?
Bialetti came up with the idea of the moka while he was staking out a group of women doing the laundry along the river. Back in those days, they were using a big pot equipped with a hollow tube in the middle, known as “lisciveuse”. He then replicated that working principle for his coffee maker. Like that, just by observing life and witnessing the daily routine an idea can be conceived. Some of my projects were inspired by the mechanism of objects that appeared to be from another context. For example I had the idea for a tray by looking at small fisherman’s cup. “No ideas but in things” state William Carlos Williams. A principle that I agree with. Creativity does the rest.

Do you still need a pencil as a designer today? Or do you work digitally?
At the beginning of every project I use the pencil. The digital can’t even compare to its sensitivity. That being said, nowadays it is critical to have a good knowledge of computer programs. You can achieve astonishing results, with far less effort. The control over surface geometry is absolute. But sometimes this leads to a lack of humanity in the final result. I’d be lying if I said that today a large part of my work isn’t digital… But still I think that the pencil is the first tool a designer needs to master.

Photo: Umberto Garcia

Do you have a role model?
I trained in Italy, home of the Made in Italy and its design masters. This may sound granted, but, if I have to point out a role model, this should be the Castiglioni brothers. Since I approached them on the books I got hit by their sensitivity, delicacy and poetry. The enthusiasm they keep on passing down behind each project is contagious. Their lesson not to take anything for granted is priceless. Afterwords I met Ingo Maurer, Daan Rosegaarde, Paul Cocksedge,…But most of my projects still can be traced back to Achille Castiglioni. My Varjo has a connection with the Parentesi lamp.

Does design make you happy?
The creative process itself is made of bliss and sadness, joy and fear. After all, if the design work strives mainly for the making of serial production objects, it is also true that behind these products there’s always an individual mind, with a unique background and experiences. Therefore it feels as a personal part of the designer to be sold to the public with the product itself. In this way the designer challenges himself and clearly there is a load of connected feelings. To quote Vico Magistretti: “ Design will always exists, because the idea is always of an individual and the individual can’t be abolished.”

What does the imm cologne trade show mean to you?
Being selected for Imm Cologne represents a great opportunity to raise awareness of my work and receive feedbacks from colleagues and companies. It’s a stimulus to carry on my project