Clemens Weisshaar

Individual and Exclusive – the Work of Designer Clemens Weisshaar

Clemens Weisshaar & Reed Kram, MY PRIVATE SKY, 2007, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, Photo:Frank Stolle, © Kram/Weisshar

Clemens Weisshaar & Reed Kram, MY PRIVATE SKY, 2007, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, Photo:Frank Stolle, © Kram/Weisshar

TABLE Nr. 68 from the 3rd Series,  2006, Laser cut, CNC bent and powder coated mild steel, Photo:Florian Böhm, ©  KRAM/WEISSHAAR AB

BREEDING TABLES PROCESS DIAGRAM, 2005, Key diagram explaining the process behind the Breeding Tables Software, © KRAM/WEISSHAAR AB

TRITON Bar Stool, Design 2001 Production 2007, for CLASSICON Structure CNC bent steel Seat shell polyurethane, © KRAM/WEISSHAAR AB

TRITON Bar Stool, Design 2001, Production 2007, for CLASSICON TRITON leather seat chrome plated frame in a private house, Photo:Florian Holzherr, © KRAM/WEISSHAAR AB

Clemens Weisshaar (li) und Reed Kram, Photo:Matthias Ziegler

In an age where large-volume production is becoming an increasingly simple process, the new generation of designers seem to prefer their products to have the "personal touch".


A new uniqueness
Making products out of new materials or new combinations of materials, designing them with the aid of complex 3D software, and releasing them in small editions is intended to give them a new sense of uniqueness. The market for unique designs is booming, and the success of the trade fairs and auctions that offer this kind of exclusivity appear to be only the tip of the iceberg.
The interesting thing about this trend towards uniqueness is that it is able to cater to two completely different target groups. The straightforward luxury market is one, where unique pieces and limited editions can fetch up to six- or seven-figure sums. And now, thanks to new affordable production processes such as "rapid prototyping" and other computer-generated technologies, average earners are also able to enjoy individualised products in smaller editions.


Between two worlds

Clemens Weisshaar, who was born in Munich in 1977 and has offices in both Munich and Stockholm with his partner Reed Kram, moves with ease between these two worlds. In his Breeding Tables (2002), he uses computer technology to make each table's angular legs unique to that particular piece, and each piece produced by KRAM/WEISSHAAR is a one-off. Two standardised versions under the name of "Countach" are also being produced under licence at Moroso.

The other extreme is My Private Sky, his limited edition plate collection for porcelain firm Nymphenburg, which combines computer technology with traditional craftsmanship. Customers are asked for their exact date and place of birth, after which the precise stellar constellation on this date is calculated and then hand-painted on the plates using traditional techniques. This edition is limited to a total of 100 pieces plus 10 samples, as any further "mass customisation" is not really feasible. In keeping with the elite nature and style of the collection, it was launched at the exclusive Monaco Yacht Show in September 2007.

After training as a metal worker, Weisshaar went to London to study at both the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and the Royal College of Art. He then spent three years as assistant to Konstantin Grcic before opening his own office in 2000. He joined forces with Reed Kram in 2002 to form KRAM/WEISSHAAR.


Multidisciplinarity plays a major role

Besides designing products for customers including Classicon (the "Triton" bar stool, 2007), Merten (contribution to the "Switch" exhibition series, 2006) as well as the aforementioned Moroso and Nymphenburg, Weisshaar is also passionate about creating spaces.

One example of Clemens Weisshaar's work was for the Prada flagship stores. Here, he and partner Reed Kram designed interfaces, LCD displays and interactive changing rooms. They also created an interactive atlas that allows customers to call up information on the entire network of Prada stores displayed. In this and other projects - such as the "30-Year Anniversary Show of the Permanent Collection" installation for the Pompidou Centre in Paris (2007), the complex data visualisation software for the BMW Group, and the master plan and exhibition architecture for "The Design Annual" trade fair in Frankfurt am Main (2006) - multidisciplinarity plays a prominent role: a fusion of architecture and information technology in one entity.

When asked what inspired him in an interview with Munich city magazine Go, Clemens Weisshaar responded: "Design in itself doesn't inspire me much. It's everything else that does ..." And if you look at any of his products and installations, you will see that this is true.

Andrej Kupetz
is Managing Director and Technical Manager of the German Design Council. He writes for design magazine such as design report, form etc.

Stephan Ott
is a freelance author, journalist and lecturer. He has been Head of Communications at the German Design Council since early 1999

Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Online-Redaktion

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April 2008
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