(smow)introducing: Christoffer Martens
Born: Bremen, 1975
Studies: Product Design, University of Applied Science, Potsdam
Internships: Alfredo Häberli, Zürich
(smow)blog: How did you arrive at product design?
Christoffer Martens: I initially trained as a graphic designer and then worked in a media agency for a few years. However over the years I moved ever more towards objects and designing objects and eventually started studying in Potsdam
(smow)blog: And why Potsdam?
Christoffer Martens: At that time Potsdam had just completed the construction of new workshop, it’s also in a fairly quiet location, and so for me offered excellent conditions for studying. And then the proximity to Berlin also made it very attractive, because Berlin is a city that lives and breathes “design”.
(smow)blog: What was the most important lesson that you learned in Potsdam?
Christoffer Martens: The college in Potsdam isn’t focused on one design direction, rather there is a broad spectrum of possibilities and the advantage is that as a designer you can find your own direction and form your own opinions. And I found and indeed still find that important so that you can talk and argue about and over design.
(smow)blog: You also spent some time in Zürich with Alfredo Häberli?
Christoffer Martens: Yes, I did a six month internship with Häberli and was directly involved with his design team. Which was a wonderful experience and one from which I learned an awful lot. I observed, for example, how a professional studio functions, how Häberli brings character to his objects and how he sells his products. In context of the complete student years, the internship probably helped the most in terms of understanding what product design actually means.
(smow)blog: And so you would recommend such internships?
Christoffer Martens: Yeah, I can strongly recommend internships. Especially in established design offices where one – in the best case – works with interesting clients, or on interesting projects.
(smow)blog: And you have also worked with Thonet?
Christoffer Martens: Yes, Thonet were the co-operation partner for my final year project. The topic was flexible tables, and I experimented a lot with Thonet at their factory in Frankenberg. There are few interesting ideas from that project which I am still developing.
(smow)blog: Your most commercially successful product is currently the bed Siebenschläfer for Moormann. What is the background to Siebenschläfer?
Christoffer Martens: As a project Siebenschläfer began before my studies and then came over an indirect route to Moormann. Here in Gallery erstererster we host regular guest lectures and one of our speakers was Peter Unzeitig, who has products with Moormann. Peter found Siebenschläfer so good he said he wanted to show it to Moormann; who then also fell in love with it. And before I knew where I was I had a product with one of the most important producers in Germany. And for that I will always be thankful to Peter.
(smow)blog: How was the cooperation with Moorman?
Christoffer Martens: That was so simple. The design was more or less taken on as presented. Over the years variations and add-ons have been developed such as the kid’s bed Spross on the Siebenschläfer shelf, but for a young designer it was certainly a perfect start in the world of design production, because with his unorthodox style Nils Holger Moormann make everything so easy…
(smow)blog: And the name?
Christoffer Martens: That was suggestion from Moorman, and I wasn’t really party to the process. If I remember correctly at that time they had Siebenschläfers [dormice] in the attic and that was that…. [laughs]
(smow)blog: What are you working on at the moment?
Christoffer Martens: At the moment I’m principally working on two lamp projects. I wanted to move a little away from furniture and I currently have a fascination for a certain type of lamp and so am working on a couple of projects which I hope to be able to present in 2011, possibly in Milan.
(smow)blog: And generally, where do you see your future
Christoffer Martens: I don’t believe that it is possible to plan too far in the future. And although I am always open for new projects in other design area, I am currently very happy with product design and hope to be able to bring further interesting products on to the market.
More information on Christoffer Martens can be found at www.christoffer-martens.de/