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Young Designer Trendtable set to illuminate flooring design

Domotexyoung designer trendtableDomotex is to expand its [email protected] showcase with five young design studios illuminating the future of flooring design, including the UK’s Briggs & Cole.

Hanne Willmann from Germany, Bilge Nur Saltik from Turkey/the UK, Klaas Kuiken from the Netherlands and Victoria Wilmotte from France along with Jane Briggs and Christy Cole met in July at the studio of mentor and designer Stefan Diez in Munich (pictured) to outline the Young Designer Trendtable.
Visitors to the January show will see the results, and will have a chance to quiz the designers in the course of a panel discussion.
‘What drives our work is the continuous reformulation of ideas about contemporary and site-specific spaces. We were inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau, which he created in the studio of his family home in Hannover. As designers who work with collage, we have taken up the term 'Merz' invented by Schwitters, and applied both the location and the way of seeing inherent in the concept to the site-specific floor plan for Domotex in Hannover’, says Cole.
‘The spatial dimension of our installation is not defined by walls. Instead we place the visitor in a context of individual spatial coordinates that radiate from an imaginary centre. The collage of images and the diagonal movement on the floor are based on descriptions of the objects that covered the invisible floors and surfaces of Schwitters’ Merzbau. What interests us is how material is defined, and how new values are attributed to it as time goes by. Our main interest lies in reproducing the development of the Merzbau as the gradual opening-up of a space, out of which, inside a family home, zones for living and zones for art can unfold,’ says Briggs.
‘Much of today's flooring design is about imitation. Why not go back to being authentic and taking pleasure in what has already been created? My grandfather came to Germany in 1953 and established a carpet and parquet flooring business, which he passed on to his sons,’ says Willmann.
‘This personal and family connection, steeped in tradition, gave me an insight into the whole process of production: the unrolling of linoleum, the piecing together of parquet floors, and the many hours of sandblasting and polishing. By drawing attention to existing techniques, I hope to foster a new appreciation of these traditional craft skills. I would like to experiment: with dyes, interactive techniques, design, materials, tools and processes – without losing sight of the true character and beauty of craft skills. Drawing inspiration from how something is actually made, I want to develop a new authenticity, and celebrate the practical business of designing floors.’
‘The floorcoverings industry offers a wealth of different materials, but none of the manufacturers caters for combinations of materials. Furthermore, nearly all existing flooring solutions are permanent, and involve the use of adhesives of one sort or another. I have looked at this from many different angles, and have combined techniques drawn from all sorts of different areas, in order to create flexible and tactile solutions for the floor,’ says Saltik.
‘I am particularly interested in combining hard and soft materials to create surfaces that feel different at different points. I am working on the idea of the unexpected, thinking outside the box, and focusing on unusual combinations of very different materials. My aim is to bring together industrial and artisanal fastening techniques, to create a unique tactile experience based on unusual combinations that do not require the use of permanent adhesives at all. This concept could provide a solution for spaces that are used on a temporary basis, as my designs are intended for easy installation – both indoors and outdoors.’
‘We want to discover things and follow them up: it's all about showing that a floor is basically defined by space and interaction. Most of the time we don't even notice that our living spaces have amazing stories to tell, and that they are the silent witnesses of our everyday activity; these are the stories that we want to discover. We are also interested in changing the way we view a space: public areas are frequently marked out with all kinds of signs, but we believe that it is the visitors, rather than the symbols, that define a space,’ says Kuiken.
‘By uncovering the ways in which a space is used, we allow these signs to emerge organically. So all the different meanings of a space are gradually revealed, and it tells us a story – not through signs, but through its usage. You can only influence this up to a certain point; the rest is up to the other players. We believe in unique structures that define a space and its occupants.’
‘The principal message of my project will be to present a natural material in a way that it has never been shown before. I have chosen this theme because I feel very drawn to stone and marble. It is a commonly used material, which I use in my own work as a designer. But I have never applied it to the floor, and I find it very interesting to ignore the material's normal areas of application, which are generally very traditional. I shall try to present stone and marble in a different way – I'd like to change the direction and the normal way it is used,’ says Wilmotte.