Fresh off the curation of a trend-forecasting exhibit for Heimtextil in his hometown of Frankfurt, German designer Sebastian Herkner heads to Paris, where he’ll join the ranks of Ramy Fischler, Cecilie Manz and Tristan Auer, among others, as this year’s reigning Maison&Objet Designer of the Year.
The honor includes an exhibition space (Hall 6), where Herkner has chosen to offer a look inside his creative process using a select grouping of his work from the past decade. Within the selection is the Bell table, which features a handblown glass base and a steel-and-brass top that Herkner pitched for several years without any interest from design houses. “People were so unaccustomed to seeing this combination of materials that it didn’t interest them in the slightest,” he says. Eventually, he was able to convince ClassiCon to buy in—and consumers followed. The Bell table quickly achieved best-seller status.
Herkner studied product design at Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach University of Art and Design and worked for Stella McCartney in London before launching Studio Sebastian Herkner near Frankfurt in 2006. With a style that walks the line between modern and traditional, Herkner has designed furniture, lighting and accessories for the likes of Ames, Cappellini, Dedon, Linteloo, Moroso, Pulpo, Rosenthal, Thonet and Zanotta. No matter the client, all of his designs have the same entry point.
“I was interested in the manufacturing process used in fashion, and understanding how colors are put together,” says Herkner. “Color is often the very last thing designers think about. For me, it’s always the starting point for the whole design process. … It can take years to find that perfect color combination.”
In addition to his creative process with color, the exhibit will offer a look inside Herkner’s meticulously hand-selected production partners, like the centuries-old Bavarian glass factory that creates the bases for the Bell table. “It’s absolutely vital we revive all these traditional forms of craftsmanship before they get lost forever, as they’re an integral part of our cultural heritage,” he says.
Several of Herkner’s latest works will also be on display in design showrooms throughout the fair, including new furniture and lighting options for The Rug Company, Pulpo, Ames and Thonet.
Maison&Objet, the semiannual design fair that attracts more than 85,000 unique attendees, will be held January 18 to 22 in Paris.