Meet the Innovators: Werner Aisslinger

What would it be like if we could grow and harvest our own furniture?

With such forward thinking ideas as the Chair FarmWerner Aisslinger is tackling established notions of design centered around the search for innovations that break away from the conventions of current industrial manufacturing. 

On March 27, 2014 members of the Valise Society and select guests dined with Werner at the newly opened Neni Restaurant inside the 25 Hours Hotel, which his firm designed. 


Q & A With Werner Aisslinger

1. As a designer, who or what inspires you at the moment?

I feel mostly inspired by 3 things:

Berlin  As my home base, Berlin is a very different world capital compared to most others. It is a cultural and subcultural hub offering a wide range of expression and inspiration for all artists, musicians and designers.

Travelling Being a designer in a globalized world means one must be aware of different cultures, mentalities and habits and to be able to interact with them.

Daily life Designers function as seismographs - permanently scanning their environment to find solutions for urban societies. 


2. What's the most challenging part of your job?

It’s the projects that I describe more as art and experimental design projects. Sometimes I follow a concept or project only because I like the idea. Technology and material orientated research projects also present a challenge to me.


3. How did the concept of Chair Farming come about?

I like designers and architects like Buckminster Fuller who didn't just follow the mainstream or client wishes, but created his own visions and utopias to push people to think about concepts for the future.

The Chair-Farm is a future concept to grow products instead of industrial production in a farmhouse. There are types of bamboo in the world that grow 30cm a day, so the chair could be harvested after 3 days growing and production time - nothing could be more sustainable!

The next evolution step in this chair-farm utopia is plants or seeds that are programmed (kind of gene-manipulated) so the seed knows already in what direction the plant has to grow to end up as a table, chair or any other product.


4. Is there a commercial implication in place already?

It's more at a level of studies at the moment with window plants. I hope we can carry out some experiments on a larger scale in the near future.


5. What's coming out of your office at the moment? 

We are currently presenting at the Light & Building Fair in Frankfurt a new lighting project with Osram. It's about OLEDs (organic LEDs) the next lighting evolution step after LEDs. It's a kind of light carpet floating above your head.

At Salone del Mobile 2014 I will present my new European collection - heritage pieces and furniture whose origin is in European architecture and cultural objects.

On top of this we are also working on timepieces, furniture, hotels, bathtubs and other exhibitions.


6. What's the quintessential and most important lesson that your career has taught you thus far  (if you had to narrow it to just one)? 

Always be open minded and work hard.


Thank You. 

Photo Credit: Linka A. Odom