Q&A CHRISTIAN HAAS, DESIGNER OF THE ELEPHANT COLLECTION AND THE NEW ARCHIVE SHELF FOR KARIMOKU NEW STANDARD
Christian, you have designed a number of pieces already for Karimoku New Standard. How do you see your new Archive Shelf fit in, which will be presented at Salone del Mobile? Does it correspondent to other pieces that you have designed for the brand?
Yes, I would say so. We draw our inspiration for the structure of the Archive Shelf from the successful ELEPHANT upholstery series, which I have designed for Karimoku New Standard. And as with all the other projects for Karimoku New Standard, we again specifically focused on beautiful and functional joinery details. From our point of view the Archive Shelf completes the setting.
How would you describe the Archive Shelf? What is distinct or special about the shelf?
The Archive Shelf has unusual proportions and is crafted and detailed in 360°. This makes it not only a storage facility, but also a perfect small room divider. It looks as good from the back as from the front. The Archive Shelf is a versatile piece, suiting living room, kitchen and the hallway. We imagined people storing and displaying all their favourite objects – pieces they personally relate to.
Where do you see the challenges of designing a shelf? Is it a particularly difficult piece of furniture?
Nowadays, people use shelves in a different way. Magazines and folders got virtual, so a shelf itself is not just a simple storing unit anymore, it also has become a proper piece of furniture as well as a statement piece.
In what interior do you see the shelf?
Since Karimoku New Standard is a Japanese brand, we envisioned a small apartment (Tokyo style), in which every piece of furniture needs to make sense and function in a good way. We adapted the proportions of the Archive Shelf to this fact. But of course the shelf is also suited for larger rooms.
How would you say does your design language meet the aesthetic of Karimoku New Standard?
I always had a soft spot for Japan and have travelled there many times, even before our collaboration. The Japanese aesthetic is very unique, I admire that. I think my approach towards design matches quite well with the approach of creative director David Glaettli and therefore, the brand Karimoku New Standard.
You also designed the Elephant Sofa, which the brand will present as a one seater and as an island this year at Salone del Mobile. Where these pieces missing in the collection? And how would you describe the Elephant Sofa?
A spaceous armchair is a luxurious piece, because you simply need to have the space for it. For us the one seater is a highlight in the ELEPHANT series, because it brings all the significant features of the series to the point: comfort, low backrest, interesting joinery, simplicity. It’s the essence of the whole series.
How would you describe yourself as a designer? How do you work?
Here in our studio, we always work on various projects at the same time. We have the feeling that working in different fields creates synergies. We also experiment a lot with different materials, for example porcelain, textiles or wood. I draw a lot of inspiration from my travels, I think this also affects my work in many ways.