interview :: verena hennig

Katie | August 30, 2016

German designer Verena Hennig will be launching her debut seating collection, ROLL, as part of her concept for designjunction‘s press and VIP lounge during the London Design Festival in September. Winner of the Award for Interior Innovation 2016, the seats feature rotatable aluminium rods that massage the back, buttocks and thighs when the user slides from left to right, helping to improve blood circulation by activating muscle groups and therefore relieving tension in the body. “Being able to move while sitting down is liberating and not only sparks an interaction between the piece of furniture and its user, but also between people sharing the experience,” explains Hennig. Editor Katie Treggiden caught up with her to find out more…

What‘s the most important thing to know about you?

I come from a background of graphic design, but always felt a little bit limited by materials and the graphical formats either on screen or on paper. Therefore my team and I explore and combine the fields of art, architecture and design in my studio. We investigate the questions of our daily lives and strive to engage our audiences with intelligent and distinctively created design solutions by altering the familiar, always with a focus on the interaction between product and user which has been the driving force in all of my designs.

interview :: verena hennig

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of the time ideas appear when I am relaxed and do something non-work related, but also in a try and error phase of a project; unpredictable combinations of existing things are always a nice breeding ground for ideas. You know it is a good idea when it sticks with you over time and you try to find a way to bring it to life!

interview :: verena hennig

Tell me about your current collection.

Driven by a love for material, performance and minimalism, I designed ROLL COLLECTION to form a connection with my customers and spark an immediate reaction to their playful nature. The patent-pending design features rotatable aluminium rods that massage the back and bottom when the user slides from left to right. The products do not merely offer the chance to sit, but also to relax and de-stress. The collection consists of a chair, stool, bench and lounge chair and is available in various colours. ROLL is usable for in- and outdoor purposes.

interview :: verena hennig

Talk me through the design and making process of that collection from initial idea to final product.

The first thing is a certain reaction or emotion I want to generate in my customers. After that I am searching for the right context, material and form. A long and demanding prototyping and trial-and-error phase comes next before narrowing it down to essences and the final product. No matter if it is a product, a film or an installation it always follows the same routine.

interview :: verena hennig

Which part of the process do you enjoy most?

There is not really one favourite chapter in the process, the mixture of all the different parts, different challenges and problems to solve are very exciting and keeps me motivated throughout a project.

interview :: verena hennig

What was the biggest challenge you overcame?

Learning to trust my gut.

interview :: verena hennig

What defines good design?

You can argue about taste, but really good design is always functional, durable and solves a problem and can be recognizable by even non design-oriented people.

interview :: verena hennig

What are you most proud of?

A healthy work-life balance, achieving your goals in your career is one thing but it doesn’t mean anything if you are not having healthy relationships with your friends and family. The combination of both is priceless and lets you achieve anything either in your work or private life.

interview :: verena hennig

What advice would you give to a new designer?

Have an opinion and don’t take yourself too seriously!

interview :: verena hennig

And finally, what‘s your favourite colour?!

Moss Green

interview :: verena hennig

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

Follow Katie on Twitter or Instagram.

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