IN CONVERSATION WITH THE DESIGNERS OF Studio Terhedebrügge

vor 4 Wochen

Our home is our most intimate space and one of the places where we spend possibly most of our time.

Our identity lives in this place. Thus, each of us has been faced with the question of how to design this place and, above all, how to do it at a fair price. Founder Femke Furnée of FÉST explored this question in 2013 with the goal of closing the existing gap between high-end designer furniture and mass-production.
To give substance to this approach, FÉST collaborates with the talented established and new designers in the industry who individually interpret the essence of the brand.

Fräulein had the opportunity to speak with berlin based designer duo Antonia and Silvia of Studio Terhedebrügge about their work with FÉST.

You were relatively young when you founded your design studio Terhedebrügge. How would you describe the beginning?
Silvia: We grew up together as siblings, and our mother was studying architecture. In general, our environment has always been very creative. I would say, there was no specific timing where we decided to start, we just always did it. That’s why our design studio developed very organically.

Antonia
: That’s where the picture with the sandcastle came from when we were seven and eight. It’s a visualization because we’ve always been together, always tinkered and produced together. We still build these sandcastles. That’s how it came about.

So, the foundations were already laid in your childhood. And when you were old enough and legally able to found a company, you just did it?
Silvia: Exactly. Playing and creating are very related. We also try this in art, design, or graphic design, where we play with materials, experiment and continue this from an early age, so to speak.

Apart from the sandcastle, did you take anything that you did in the past that still lasts today?
Silvia: Being in constant exchange together. I know almost no one as well as Antonia. Since our childhood, we are just very close in everything. This trust is essential and a part of us.

Antonia: When we develop ideas, we often work with a playful ping-pong principle from childhood. If Silvia has an idea, then I say something about it, then she says something about it, and so it goes on until we develop an idea. Through playfulness, we build stories and communicate together.

Is that your great strength, that you are siblings who are so close?
Silvia: Having someone to trust is very important. We are also very honest with each other, which is equally crucial for the process. On the other hand, it can also be challenging because honesty can hurt sometimes. Nevertheless, there is an understanding among siblings that you have each other forever and ever. And there is less fear of loss because the other one is always there.

Are there other drawbacks to being so close?
Antonia: We are blunt, which is good because it helps you move forward. And sometimes, you don’t want to hear things, but it helps.

Silvia
: As siblings, you spent your childhood together and had specific conflicts. Of course, this background is always there. But the family has developed jointly and knows each other like no one else. That’s why nothing stands in our way now but is favorable for our work.

Let’s look at your designs: For you, visual communication is the key theme; how can that take place through objects?
Silvia: Every object says something through its form. Objects are never meaningless. They communicate with us and always make a statement, just like in fashion. That’s how we shape our environment. We aim to be approachable through our objects and build a relationship with the other person. Sometimes you only notice this afterwards because we design totally intuitively. The interplay between the person and the object arouses our interest.

Antonia
: It’s about triggering emotions, whether a smile, joy or making people feel more comfortable in their home. That’s a nice thing for people, and that’s how you communicate with each other through an object.

So you want to bring a positive impact or fun into consumers‘ four walls?
Silvia: Exactly! We both like the joy in objects. At the same time, it’s cool when an object functions in the context of a flat, when it’s not detached from the space but moves within a circle of time. We also have a collection of things that make us smile or laugh.

Antonia
: Yes, and besides language, colors play a significant role for us. For example, how color works in space and how it triggers moods.

How would you describe your main direction of your designs?
Silvia: It doesn’t have to be perfectly furnished, conservative or repeat the old styles, but it can be joyful and make you want to try things out. We are very playful with an object, but it is still extreme in form, minimalist and graphic in form.

Antonia
: Yes, graphic and straightforward. We also work in 2D as graphic designers, influencing our three-dimensional design.

The furniture industry is characterized by a quick consumption idea, where furniture is not designed to stay forever. Yet, like fashion, we are moving toward people wanting to reinvest and buy something long-lasting. Why do you think it’s important to say goodbye to the fast-moving?
Silvia: We have all realized that this throwaway consumption doesn’t work. Sustainability and longevity are becoming important again. That’s why the relationship with objects is so important to us because that’s how you keep the object longer. High-quality objects sometimes last for generations; they are inherited or are taken to the new student flat and leave their mark on a new chapter. At the same time, many things have become more local again. Due to inflation, specific structures only last a little; for example, transport costs have become too high. Now things are more expensive, but you keep them longer. That’s important and nice, primarily when you work in this high-end sector. Our products are made for a smaller target group, but hopefully, they will be seen more now.

Antonia
: Often, people also want to be entertained by something new. But when you talk about prices, in the end, it’s cheaper if I decide to buy something that I’m somehow attracted to, that I have a feeling about and that I’ll probably take better care of than if I know it’s going to be gone in half a year anyway because it has no value.

That’s a behavior you must learn and has much to do with education. But all the changes in the last three years may have led to this societal turn.
Silvia: I have noticed during this time how fragile the world is. Our generation has grown up thinking that everything is safe. And after the crises, you suddenly realize that nothing is actually solid. On the one hand, that’s great, of course, because you can change everything and at the same time shape the world again. On the other hand, there are also fears attached to it.

Antonia
: Surprisingly, we had lockdowns. You would never have imagined that there would be such a thing that you would be obliged to stay at home.

What do you think is the biggest problem in the furniture industry in general? And how would you change it?
Silvia: Well, the industry is very male. As a woman, it’s often difficult to be taken seriously by men, so we work with many women. But on the positive side, Instagram, in particular, is creating more visibility, and this power relationship is more dissolving. Many female designers then get direct feedback or a response from people who buy it.

Antonia
: We don’t strictly adhere to form follows function. For us, emotions also play a role in the design process and a certain lightness that people trust. That is also a strength. This was not taken very seriously in the past because German design is still closely oriented towards the Bauhaus.

Where do the visions merge if we now look at the collaboration with FÉST?
Silvia: We love the color! This visual point, it totally connects us. But then there is also the theme of intuition and femininity. We both designed very intuitively. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to explain precisely how it works and how we work. For us, it’s essential to listen to our gut feeling that it doesn’t always go according to doctrines and theories in design; with Fest, it was often similar.

Antonia
: Fest is also a company founded ten years ago and produces high-quality design furniture in Europe at an affordable price. The founder just dared to break the design market a little bit.

Silvia
: The company produces locally and at fair prices, unlike competitors who produce in China but sell in Europe.

And what was the incentive for you to work together?
Silvia: Honestly, it was just human. We met, and it was a total fit. At that time, we had exhibited this Plateau table and were approached at a trade fair in Belgium to ask if we would be interested in doing this with Fest. At that time, they had an office in Amsterdam, which was still relatively small but nice and friendly. Nevertheless, we thought, „yes, let’s do it“. At that time, Fest was unknown, and the company was still young. That was the start; it developed very impressively in the nine years.

Why is this merged approach between a company like FÉST with many different designers so enriching for the scene?
Silvia: It’s inspiring to look at all the different influences and these institutions. It’s also great to work in a company with many people with other ideas. Fest has a direction, of course, but it still goes left, right, and straight ahead, and the design is also shaped by the people they work with, whether it’s European, contemporary or culture based.

Antonia
: And you bring two areas of expertise together: On the one hand, you deal with design. On the other hand, you learn about all the manufacturer structures, and networks Fest has.

Which designers who also work with FÉST have particularly stuck in your mind?
Silvia: Meike Harde. She designed the Sinclair Armchair in bright red. It looks fantastic.

Antonia
: Sylvain Willenz. He’s a Belgian designer, and I’ve always really liked him. He simply has his own aesthetic, which also suits Fest very well.

Do you have a favorite piece from your collection?
Silvia: I would emotionally say the Plateau Side Table simply because we started with it. For example, I have the Kaktee Light as a table lamp in my flat, and I’m happy every time I see it; it’s somehow so beautifully silly.

Antonia
: Yes, the Plateau table has been around for so long. And it’s nice to see that it’s still so much liked and bought. It’s also funny now, with all the colors and the way the plateau looks. You only know that beforehand when you’ve just done something intuitively.

How important is it for you to break away from old things and try something completely new?
Silvia: That’s almost impossible. Everything you do is based on something you’ve seen or heard of. Even if you call a design something new, it has always come from a collective memory or resource. We are, after all, products of this time and products are always based on what has gone before. We have the ambition to make things that have autonomy and to make a relevant contribution to culture. Nevertheless, we must design something different, which would be boring.

So, it’s more like a fusion between the past, the future and the present. Appropriate to this: Where were you five years ago, where are you now and where do you see yourselves in five years?
Silvia: Five years ago, we roughly finished our studies. Now we are doing what we really like to do. I’m pleased we can design products, books and work together as siblings.

Antonia
: It’s enjoyable to function with others as a collaboration and also to be able to actively design ourselves. We would be delighted if this continued, and we could continue to have great partnerships and spend time with interesting people to create products.

Silvia: Go with the flow. We just see what comes. Freedom is fundamental to us. We want to be able to create freely day by day.

 

Credit: FÉST/PR

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