Friederike Faller, Partner, Holscher Design
“Competitive design is measured by the same criteria as always: beauty and functionality. What has changed is the growing awareness towards environmental issues and sustainability as a whole – and of course new technologies, materials, etc. People want to surround themselves with beautiful, good products, but most consumers actually wish to be responsible consumers, too.”
What drives you as as Designer?
As a designer, you can have a great impact on society in many ways. What drives me, is not designing new products for the sake of newness, but improving the things we live with and finding answers to problems that haven’t been solved, yet. We have a great influence on the quality of life of many people, but we also have to find solutions for the environmental and social challenges, we are facing. We have to create ethical products that are desirable and nudge our clients and end users to make the right choices by acting very responsible ourselves.
What are the most important questions you ask a new client as a part of the design process?
We ask thousands of questions! Even with a very clear brief and goal for a product or service, we aim to challenge our clients and find out together, if a brief is waterproof, or if it has to be redefined. As designers, we should challenge our clients and help them taking the right decisions, and that is only possible if we know exactly, where there is space for improvement or change.Of course, we also want to make sure, that our clients have a responsible attitude towards humans, resources, etc.
Which projects and designs are you most proud of?
I am proud of the products that have existed for a very long time, and that are still successful– both, because they are manufactured with care, but also, because the aesthetics can stand the fast consumerism and trends. The d line series or our spotlights for Flos are examples.
And then, everyday products that make life easier and more beautiful without making a big fuzz out of themselves also make me proud. Thousands of people use the Aarhus Lightrail, Ifös sanitary items, or the bus stops in several Danish cities every single day without necessarily being aware of who designed them. They just do the job well – and look beautiful. Luckily, we have a number of clients, we have been working with for many years. They are like family which makes many things in the design process much easier.
What constitutes a competitive design anno 2023?
I think, competitive design is measured by the same criteria as always: beauty and functionality. What has changed is the growing awareness towards environmental issues and sustainability as a whole – and of course new technologies, materials, etc. People want to surround themselves with beautiful, good products, but most consumers actually wish to be responsible consumers, too.
How do you see the role of the Designer change these years?
The designer’s role has changed a lot over the last decade. Design covers a wide range of activities – whilst designers were more specialized “Formgeber” before, today they have to be much more versatile advisors. In many cases, designers, being generalists, play the role as mediator between the many disciplines involved in a design process. We have the ability to collect and transform knowledge into tangible products. If you don’t know enough about your client, the users (not only in Denmark or Europe, but often globally), materials, technology, production methods, etc., you can’t challenge your client, and you can’t figure out the impact of a design. New technologies like IoT and AI have emerged, and we don’t know yet, where the paradigm shift will bring us. These technologies open a lot of new opportunities, which are very exciting – but they have – at least for the moment – their limitations. They can potentiate us and give back time for the actual process of creation, but they have to be used and curated in a critical way. We have to be the drivers – not AI. Bridging technology and humans is one of the important tasks of design today. In the end, people want to surround themselves with products, that are meaningful, that they can understand, that are easy to use, and which they can have a personal relationship with. We have a great responsibility as designers.