Is it true that, as a designer, you have suffered for your art? “Yes. The first 10 years after graduation were tough. My studio was a corner of my 70-square-metre flat in Offenbach [near Frankfurt, Germany]. Eventually, I had enough money to open a studio, and now I have the opportunity to travel the world. My first trip out­side of Europe took me to Shanghai, and I now come to Asia several times a year. I like the traditional craftsman­ship you can still find in Asia: in Europe, craftsmanship is being lost.”

 

Have you had any career-defining moments? “I was always creative but I didn’t know you could do industrial design as a profession. Germans were more about cars than furniture. As a teenager visiting the Designmuseum, in Copenhagen, with my parents and seeing classic Danish lamps and chairs was the ‘click’ moment for me.”

Industrial designer Ross Lovegrove offers his vision of the future

What did you learn from interning with Stella McCartney? “Design is interdisciplinary – I work with graphic design, architects, interiors – and I wanted to know more about fashion. That experience is one of the reasons I’m so into mixing materials and colours. When I sketch something, colour is part of the design from the beginning. Not every colour works with every material, so it is important to me that they fit.”

What are your favourite objects at home? “My flat is very colourful, with an eclectic mix of new and vintage, classics and flea-market finds. I don’t mind marks, stains and patina; they tell a story. I also like to see how other people combine objects. My favourite design blogs are sightunseen.com, from New York, and the German-based freundevonfreunden.com.”

Tell us about the Bell Table. “This was my first product, and I have no recipe [for its success], otherwise I would do it with every product. I was invited to exhibit at SaloneSatellite, in Milan, in 2009, and had three months to come up with a design. I had the idea for a side table using the materials upside-down. And I wanted to work with materials that were not trendy – brass and glass, which no one was combining at the time. After finding a glass producer and metal-spinning company I assembled my Bell Table, put the sample in the car and drove it to Milan, where Wallpaper magazine chose it as one of the 10 best products of the show. Two years later, ClassiCon asked me if they could produce it. Maybe 2009 was too early, I don’t know. From that day, the sales numbers have increased every month.”

And the Dedon collection? “It’s called Mbrace and we started it three years ago. Currently, there are four pieces: the wingback chair, lounger, rocking chair and footstool, on a solid teak base. The fibres are produced at Dedon’s Luneburg headquarters, in Germany, and shipped to Cebu, in the Philippines, for the weaving. So you have two competencies, German production and Asian craftsmanship.”