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Maximal reduced forms and fragrant lucky charms: Pure Talent’s Contest 2018

Photo: Marcel Pasternak

In terms of entrants to the Pure Talents Contest, the field has rarely been as international as it is this year, featuring 671 designers from 53 countries. Many entries were submitted by students and young graduates from every major university, including the RCA London, Design Academy Eindhoven, LASALLE Singapore, ECAL, Aalto University, Konstfack Stockholm, Pratt Institute NY, ArtCenter Pasadena and many others. Promising young German designers from universities such as Burg Giebichenstein, Karlsruhe University of Art and Design, Kassel College of Fine Arts (KHK), UdK Berlin or Folkwang Essen as well as from the arts and craft academies of Garmisch, Münster and Aachen, among others, were also represented. From Japan, Takafumi Nemoto will travel to Cologne to present his room fragrance diffuser Bonsay. To Marcel Pasternak it will be a shorter journey. The ex-Cologne comes from Berlin to his former hometown together with his bench Molly.


Reduced to the max: Molly by Marcel Pasternak

Molly is the result of a ruthless reduction of form, which is sufficient to achieve the character of an urban bench. Three thick, curved steel tubes exude confidence in bright cobalt blue. No more, no less. Honest and strong, simply Molly. By means of the induction bending process, the tubes can be industrially manufactured and produced in high numbers. The tubes are powder-coated and bolted to each other from the inside.


Pure Talent’s Voice with Marcel Pasternak

Why did you become a designer?
I started with precisely this question in mind when I was searching for a suitable topic for my Master’s thesis. I think that my calling as a designer is based on early childhood experiences. This is because, as a child, I spent an extraordinary amount of time playing with construction toys, and in this way researched many different aspects of mechanics and physical principles while playing. Construction toys showed me that I could not only be a passive consumer, but instead much more of an active designer of my environment. The joy in creating a construction has remained the same to the present day. I hope that I can hold onto this desire to play for a long time yet.

Do you still need a pencil as a designer today?
It’s nice to see how digital aids complement our analogue tools and make our routine easier. I myself always have a sketchbook with me and am a big fan of little scribbles. Usually they are crooked and bent, but are adequate for retaining the thoughts behind them. I could probably find my drawings more easily if they were digitally archived. But YES, I need an analogue pencil. I love drawing an honest, self-confident line on a rustling sheet of paper.

Do you have role models?
I have become a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci through my intensive research for the bionicTOYS. Otherwise I like the simple and poppy forms of Eero Aarnio, who was also a great nature lover, by the way. Aarnio never grew up. His childlike lightness is visible in all his designs.

What do you find satisfactory and/or unsatisfactory in design work?
I love to see ideas grow. Failures may be frustrating, but they are part of the design process. The key thing is to retain the courage to experiment despite a series of failures, and to not always take the safe, predictable path.

Photo: Marcel Pasternak

Is there a design world beyond serial production? And if so, how important is it for you?
Serial production doesn’t necessarily have to be equivalent with “Asia”. The serial production of my bionicTOYS, for example, takes place in Germany. On the other hand, production in Asia doesn’t automatically mean inferior quality as a consequence. I, for my part, always attempt to promote local production whenever I can. Due to the mere fact of the control, communications and fast reaction time possible in the event of complications. It feels good to use local resources and to promote Germany as a production location. Medium-sized, family-owned and operated companies are also often more willing to experiment in production. That suits me just fine.

What urgently needs to be invented?
The German school system constricts the development of our children much too much. I would like to see a primary school in a tree house with a focus on the child. Teaching subjects: building a hut, bionics, starting a fire, building rafts, telling stories, singing and dancing.

What does the imm cologne trade show mean to you?
To be nominated as a newcomer at such an event is a great honour for me. All well-known designers and manufacturers for interior design will be represented. Some of them even had their career breakthroughs right here at imm cologne. A walk through the Pure Talents stand is a must part of the programme for any visitor. It’s fantastic that I have been offered such a stage as a newcomer. As an ex-Cologne native, I am of course also pleased to see the cathedral again.


Hand made fragrant lucky charms:
Bonsay by Takafumi Nemoto

Bonsay are hand-woven diffuser sticks, which conjure up a luxury scent in every room.
Photo: Takafumi Nemoto

In Japan, there is a culture that represents the message and dress up by knitting the string from ancient times. Knitting is auspicious because it is reminiscent of the connection. This fragrance stick is a lucky charm to arrange along with the scent by the traditional philosophy and motif of Japan. The complicated knot is made of natural materials and hand made by craftsman.


Pure Talent’s Voice with Takafumi Nemoto

Why did you become a designer?
I saw a model of a spaceship designed by Luigi Colani at the Tsukuba Expo when I was 3 years old. I saw a work that impressed people in the form of things. I wanted to do a job that impresses people.

Do you still need a pencil as a designer today? Or do you work digitally?
I also need a pencil, but it is important to touch the material and build it three-dimensionally. I work digitally mainly for molds and 3D printers. I use the digitality as support for expression.

Do you have a role model?
I don’t have any. However, the two years at ECAL are very exciting and become the base of my present self. It is to repeat a lot of trial and error with hands.

Photo: Takafumi Nemoto

Does design make you happy?
I’m happy when people who use it become happy.

What do you find satisfactory and / or unsatisfactory in design work?
I am dissatisfied that I always have not enough time. We have limited time and restrictions so I am satisfied to do my best.

What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
Something that makes people don’t hate each other.

What does the imm cologne trade show mean to you?
The prototype I exhibit this time is a room fragrance diffuser. It is very meaningful to me that I can exhibit in cologne where Eau de Cologne was first produced and sold in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing how the combination of design and fragrance is embraced by the visitors.