A conversation with Justus Kolberg
I started to study industrial design quite late. I was 23 years old, and I knew that I had to do it properly. After two years in school, you could choose a focus, and I knew from the beginning that I was interested in chairs. During one class, my professor was sitting on a chair from GianCarlo Piretti, and it looked so interesting that I thought, “This is the right place to study.”
When I was a student, I was actually a trainee with Piretti, just to get some Italian inspiration. I was in love with the work of Piretti, and I had the chance to look over his shoulder while I was there. Sometimes I think I can remember every day I was there.
A chair shouldn’t be a machine with so many parts to complicate it—it should support the environment in a harmonious way. The lines of flowers are what I like to bring into the product to make it soft. And the flexibility of trees when they turn—they are strong but flexible, and they are flexible in more than one direction.
I always try to renew my thinking about design. The interesting thing about being a designer is that you’re able to think about what you’ve done and how you should do your future work. After doing it for a couple of years, you get a feeling about the balance, about how much innovation is necessary for a new product to be successful. With a lot of experience, you’re more sure and secure about the level of innovation you need to make a product that connects with people in a new way.