red dot winner 2006: Aline Chair


red dot interviews Andreas Störiko

The designer Andreas Störiko represented the Wilkhahn company on Wilkhahn’s Asia Pacific Tour 2006. After the start in Hong Kong on 24 July the tour went to Melbourne and Sydney and ended in Singapore on 4 August. When he stayed in Singapore the designer spoke with the red dot team about design, inspiration and economic success.

Since 1989 Andreas Störiko has worked closely together with the Wilkhahn company which ranks among the leading enterprises of the office and object furniture industry worldwide. For example, the designer is responsible for the highly appreciated table design “Confair”, which is used with great success throughout the world in office and conference rooms. Moreover, Andreas Störiko has designed the chair “Aline” for which he was honoured with the red dot design award for outstanding design performance this year. This multi-purpose chair impresses by a combination of minimum use of material, maximum transparency and most simple handling. This year’s jury of the red dot award: product design honoured the functional aesthetics of its excellent design with its “red dot”.

red dot spoke with the designer when he stayed in Singapore.

Mr Störiko, you have been awarded a distinction for the ‘Aline’ chair in this year’s red dot design award. What does such a distinction mean to you? After all, the number of competitors was very high – the jury had to evaluate 2,068 entries from 41 countries….

Of course I am extremely happy to have received a red dot award. It appears that ‘Aline’ is highly regarded by both the market and the design community.

What was most important to you when designing the ‘Aline’ chair?

I wanted to design a light, soft-to-touch chair with a high stacking performance. The chair also needed to possess the following traits: easy handling, graceful, intelligent storage with maximum comfort. The essential idea is the combination of a mesh membrane with a specially designed injection moulded seat frame with a groove which assures perfect fitting on the stack. The elevation in the frame protects the membrane even during rough handling (as is the case with multi-purpose chairs). For people using the chair in warm climates, it adds breathing comfort and furnishes rooms with high transparency.

The company Wilkhahn is specializing in product development, manufacturing and distribution of high-quality design-oriented interiors for offices and communication rooms as well as waiting and relaxation areas. What fascinates you about this field?

I work with Wilkhahn on a project basis and cannot really speak on their behalf. However, in terms of product quality and design philosophy, Wilkhahn has changed in the recent decade, from being a chair manufacturer to becoming a leader, in providing the solutions to a wide range of interior fit-out needs. Together we have set standards in the field of flexible conferencing products. I believe that Wilkhahn, as a company with a wholistic understanding of the changing work environment will remain a leader in this field.

Wilkhahn is currently expanding particularly in the Asia Pacific markets. In your opinion, in how far do the demands on design there differ from those in the European market?

Wilkhahn Asia Pacific is growing and expanding rapidly in this region for two reasons: Rents can be and are expensive in places like Hong Kong, so people want to get the most flexibility out of their limited work space. Wilkhahn’s products provide a solution to this problem. Of course, the quality and the elegance of the products work for many designers and architects as well. Secondly, as the production for this region is situated in Sydney, Australia, they are able to custom design and deliver all products exactly to the R&D’s requirements – in terms of surface veneers, colors, accessories and sizes. Many special solutions can be quickly realized and the time from order to delivery, beats the competition by far.

What economic significance does design have for you?

I am not sure what you mean by that. All I can say is that being a Designer is an artistic profession with a key impact on the successes of today’s companies, their products and services and should be compensated accordingly.

What do you find fascinating about your job as a designer?

Design infuses cultural quality, personality and performance to industries and in terms of product – value to the end user. To work with a fully committed company like Wilkhahn, is fun and very exciting.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

Always explore the new while respecting valid traditions.

What inspires you?

Nature. I adore nature.

Who are your role models in the field of design and architecture?

As a historic figure, Leonardo Da Vinci. Personal experience, Richard Sapper.

What challenges are you facing as a designer today?

Many changes in the way we live, ask for appropriate answers. I would like to widen my activity to other fields than just furniture.

Against the background of global markets and increasingly tougher price fights, cost-effective production is becoming more and more important. In how far do you as a designer feel restricted in your work and creativity by such requirements?

Fortunately, the global market will just as much be fought on a level of quality and right ideas. Conditions for a good collaboration is the shared value on this point. I like to work with companies who want to make a difference and include cultural, social and environmental issues in their activity. This is one of the reasons, why I enjoy working with Wilkhahn so much.

What is your assessment of current developments in the design of office interiors? Can you see clear trends and developments?

People like to include what works best for them into their lives. In the last 10 years, it has been mobile telecommunications and the internet that has been adopted. The way we live and work has changed enormously due to these factors. So then, we need to come up with solutions to cater to these changes. I will try my very best to have the right intuition for what’s ahead for us in the future.