“Be yourself, keep your identity, and never give up.”
Recently I had the pleasure of talking with German architect and product designer Philipp Mainzer. I’m drawn to his work. Its focus is on a pure and distinct design language. Born in Germany, Philipp Mainzer studied product design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and architecture at the Architectural Association both in London. In 1995 Philipp Mainzer co-founded the furniture brand e15. Having established the progressive, enduring philosophy and unique branding of e15, he has received international awards for many of his designs, which are identifying icons for e15 and part of several permanent exhibitions in museums. Parallel to the creation of e15, Philipp Mainzer practiced architecture in New York and continues to do so since his return to Germany in 2001.
furniture design by Philipp Mainzer
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?
That was from very early. I started to study product design, but very quickly realized that I was missing some dimensions. Therefore I continued to study architecture. Even when I design a piece of furniture I consider the surrounding and try to have an impact on it.
Looking back at your first project what knowledge do you wish you had back then?
I don´t wish anything to be different. Sometimes it helps to be less experienced to be more experimental. This really allowed us to make with decisions about our first pieces of furniture, which we would not have done being very experienced in woodwork.
Is there something that connects all your projects?
There is always a focus on an authentic and honest experience of a product or an environment. The design should be timeless yet inspiring. A focus on material, craftsmanship and lighting is a red line through my work.
BERGMAN store in Frankfurt, interior design by Philipp Mainzer
What do you enjoy most in your work?
The variety of projects ranging from product, interior, architecture to branding.
What do you love to do when you are not designing?
Developing other new ideas.
What are your favorite books?
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas always has been a great inspiration for me. It really makes you appreciate our world.
the first private institute in Taiwan – XUE XUE INSTITUTE Taipei, interior design by Philipp Mainzer
Your favorite places in Germany?
You have been awarded several significant prizes. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Building up a premium brand known worldwide with an integrity and character. This is much more challenging than producing a great design.
What does success mean to you?
It helps me to keep going and encourages me to do more projects.
TAIWAN GLASS in Fujian, China, architecture by Philipp Mainzer
What’s your advice to upcoming designers?
Be yourself, keep your identity, and never give up.
My signature Design Elements question – what are the most important design elements?
There is always space for improvement.
photos: Ingmar Kurth