Tino Seubert

Summarising Tino Seubert's work in terms of a style is a tricky task. The German-born designer creates a sports shoe as an ode to Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group one moment, then follows it up with a range of austere galvanised items the next. While many of his ideas feature a link with history or come from the reinterpretation of a material, what his next project might be is impossible to predict. What is certain however is that many critics have labelled him as an important young designer to watch.

 A pendant light from Seubert's new  Regalvanize  project. 

A pendant light from Seubert's new Regalvanize project. 

While wandering around 100% Design at the London Design Festival in September, I came across some of Seubert's latest work - the Regalvanize series. It includes a pendant light, wall mounted shelving, a tea set and quite unusually - a pair of sunglasses - all in galvanised steel.  It is the random patterns of crystallised zinc that are an inherent feature of the galvanizing process that has completely fascinated Seubert.

 Seubert's use of unadulterated galvanized sheet for his folded steel shelving.

Seubert's use of unadulterated galvanized sheet for his folded steel shelving.

According to Seubert, "Galvanised steel has always been highly sought after in industrial applications and in exterior architecture due to its resistance to corrosion, but never for aesthetic purposes. Its surface is often lacquered hiding its unique aesthetic qualities. Diverse intensities of the crystalline pattern are created through different grades of patination, which are combined in the object’s design to showcase the multifaceted material".

 Galvanized sunglasses create a sort of crystalline camouflague look.

Galvanized sunglasses create a sort of crystalline camouflague look.

Perhaps informed by his recent work at the Bauhaus Foundation during 2014 the Regalvanize series has a strong 1920's utilitarian look. (Seubert ran a workshop for twelve graduating designers to create imaginary objects for the rooms once shared shared by artists Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky). The strong simple shapes found in the Regalvanize series are tempered by the beautifully delicate crystal patterns that feature on the surface of the objects. Almost 3-D in appearance, these 'flakes' of zinc reflect lighting in unique ways and subvert the shape. Subtle changes in the galvanising process exaggerate or reduce the effect.

 The galvanised tea set with tray shows off the crystalline properties of galvanizing.

The galvanised tea set with tray shows off the crystalline properties of galvanizing.

Seubert studied at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy and more recently at the Royal College of Art in London. He was Initially 'discovered' in 2011 after his Forming HIstory project where he sought to reference major moments in history through creating a furniture piece that was 'embedded' in an archive photograph. By seeing shapes or concepts that could be transferred to a 3-D object, Seubert produced furniture that had a real historical connection. The result of a captured moment in time, these furniture pieces are a reaction by the designer to the photographic compositions formed by people, objects and furniture.

 The marked up archive photograph of Herman Göring and Rudolf Hess (with Karl Dönitz) at the Nuremberg Trials 1945. The photograph informed the shape and  flow of  Seubert's 'Nuremberg Bench' .

The marked up archive photograph of Herman Göring and Rudolf Hess (with Karl Dönitz) at the Nuremberg Trials 1945. The photograph informed the shape and  flow of  Seubert's 'Nuremberg Bench' .

Having trawled through thousands of archive photographs that capture major historic events over the last 100 or more years, Seubert has a large selection of ideas for possible future furniture pieces. While the ideas often present themselves in a moment of sudden clarity and the rough shape comes quickly, the same cannot be said of the process required to resolve how these furniture piece are to be fabricated. 

 The 'Nuremberg Bench' appears to be unfolded  from solid timber boards. 

The 'Nuremberg Bench' appears to be unfolded  from solid timber boards. 

It's the way that Seubert interprets the image that is particularly exciting. While the 'Nuremberg Bench' is all folds, his 'End of the Vietnam War Table' looks at the surface in a completely different way. Much like a screen print blocks ink from marking the paper or cloth in certain areas, the image of the 1973 Vietnam War negotiations is all about what is on the table - both metaphorically and in Seubert's subsequent design. 

 The image shows the table top in red with the white papers and forearms creating interruptions to the circle. 

The image shows the table top in red with the white papers and forearms creating interruptions to the circle. 

 The E'nd of the Vietnam War Table'. Inspired by the physical layout of papers and other paraphernalia  strewn across the negotiating table in 1976.

The E'nd of the Vietnam War Table'. Inspired by the physical layout of papers and other paraphernalia  strewn across the negotiating table in 1976.

Like the 'Nurmberg Bench', the 'End of the Vietnam War' table uses an archive photograph as the basis for a furniture design but Seubert chooses to remove specific sections as if the table edge is chipped or stained in some way. Replicating the sections of the original negotiating table covered by pages or other objects Seubert has made them a negative component, cutting away parts of the white table surface to expose the timber beneath. Yet another example started with an archive image of the famous Burlesque dancer, Josephine Baker and worked the shape created by her lags into the basis for the stools leg shape and position.

The Forming History series is available through  Gallery S. Bensimon  

 

 

"The events of the past register as abstract shadows, deformations or traces on the newly designed object".  Tino Seubert

 Top view of the 'End of the Vietnam War Table'.

Top view of the 'End of the Vietnam War Table'.

 The 'Josephine Baker Stool' by Tino Seubert.

The 'Josephine Baker Stool' by Tino Seubert.

Seubert sums up his Forming History series this way:

"With these pieces of furniture I would like the observer to look into the subject of history and create a consciousness about it. Furthermore, the pieces should point out our responsibility for political developments around us. We can sit on the seat of a Nobel Peace Prize awardee, on a bench where a regime was accused of mass murder or around the negotiating table of the Vietnam War. The user becomes an actor in an important political scene – ‘me, you, us forming history".

To find out more on Tino Seubert and his work visit his website.

 Just in case you were impatient to see what an Ettore Sottsass inspired trainer might look like. The NIke version, (Seubert also designed an Adidas version) and Sottsass' famous 'Carlton' room divider from 1981.

Just in case you were impatient to see what an Ettore Sottsass inspired trainer might look like. The NIke version, (Seubert also designed an Adidas version) and Sottsass' famous 'Carlton' room divider from 1981.