Interview with designer Lars Contzen
1) Hello, Mr. Contzen. What obviously interests us first of all is what the future holds in store for wallpapers at Lars Contzen. Are there any new ideas?
There are lots of new ideas. In the past year, I have concerned myself very closely with the subject of wallpaper, especially with the aim of finding completely new, progressive design approaches. Altogether, I’ve produced 35 designs. Some of these have been developed from hand drawings, others have been designed on the computer, while others again have been created by modifying photographic images. During the design phase, I adopted an altogether more experimental approach than usual. As the outcome, three different styles have emerged. In the first half of 2013, together with A.S. Creation, I will work on the practicalities of printing the designs on wallpaper material. The result will be two Contzen Collections with sharply contrasting designs. The sales launch will be in the second half of 2013 and at the Heimtextil 2014 event.
2) What projects are you working on apart from wallpaper?
The design and finish of surfaces in interior architecture is one of the general themes in my work as a designer. Wallpaper is just one area of that. As well as wallpaper, I am focussing on a range of widely differing materials and how to develop them further, both stylistically and formally. My design ideas are subsequently translated into physical materials by industrial companies specializing in many different fields. Examples include laminate surfaces, rubber flooring, architectural glass, fabrics, carpets, and so on. I also have another major project in progress: 2013 should see the fi rst Contzen house being built. Together with a producer of modular buildings, we are planning a concept for a house that will incorporate all “Contzen materials”. The aim is that one day people will be able to buy adaptable, low-energy housing modules “off the shelf”, straight from the manufacturer. We also have another first-time product outside the architecture/interior design field. In 2012, working with a firm based in the Black Forest that produces bags, I developed a series of bags in “Contzen-Design”. The women’s and men’s shoulder bags display the graphics of the best known
Contzen wallpapers on the front, are called “good mood tools” and bear the subtitle “Made in Heimat!”.
3) Will your products continue to be very colourful or do you see a trend towards quierter, more restained optic?
I think I can say for myself that my choice of colours is not really oriented to trends; rather, I use colour intuitively and impartially. From my background as a creative artist, I have developed a different eye for colour than a designer who always has to pay attention to the currenttrends. If you were to lay all my wallpaper designs from recent years side by side, you would fi nd that they cover the complete range of colours, from quiet pastel shades to daring, intensive hues. Things will also stay that way in he future. It’s planned that the new collections will include neon colours, restrained colours, bold colours, black, white, and lots more besides. Each graphic design calls for its own colour composition if it is to appear authentic and convincing.
4) Where do you get the ideas for your creations?
I get my ideas from all areas of life, though least of all from the “decorative surfaces sector”. I find young, subculture trends highly exciting and inspiring. New kinds of sports and new directions in music also tend to bring their own style with them that expresses a certain attitude and feelings. I see it as my job as an artist or designer to transfer new styles of that kind into surface structures or graphics. So it’s all about the interpretation of culture and society, rather than “mere decoration”.
5) What kind of product design in other areas are you currently fascinated by?
Oh, there are several I could mention. I find it highly interesting to look for common style factors in different product areas as a means of identifying cultural development trends. At the present time I’m fascinated by the product design in the field of retro-surfboards, for instance, as well as “single-speed/fixie bikes”, design gadgets, camping/caravaning/mobile living, hot rod cars and bobber bikes.
You can find more information about Lars Contzen and his products at www.larscontzen.com