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In Good Company: Sebastian Herkner

There’s a lot going on in Sebastian Herkner’s studio just outside Frankfurt. His new collection for The Rug Company has just been revealed, and he is working on a host of collaborations which will debut during Milan Design Week – including work for Thonet, Gloster, Pulpo, and Colombian brand Ames.

When was the company founded? My studio was founded a decade ago, directly following my diploma at the Academy of Arts and Design in Offenbach.

How many staff? Together we make up five designers from different countries; sometimes more, depending on the project.

Where is it based? We are located in a former leather workshop in the centre of Offenbach, a town close to Frankfurt. That’s why our workshop floor has grilles at the window, because they used to store expensive and rare materials here in the past.

What is your latest significant achievement? I don’t actually think about the latest. I think about the future – and we are working on a couple of exciting new projects at the moment, for example a hotel in the south of France.

What is your best-selling product? This is not a category for me. I put the same passion and power into each product. There are of course products that sell better than others, but for me the best feedback is to get a message – for example on Instagram, from a happy person using one of my designs.

I’ve just discovered… Well, this is my everyday job – discovering things or situations which might be interesting and then creating stories with my personal instinct.

Who inspires me… All the craftsmen around the globe. They are my heroes. They are the ones supporting me in my developments, creating new objects. It is always fascinating to visit them in their workshops and to understand their tradition and technique – I am driven by these crafts. I reinterpret them and give the craftsmen new challenges. Crafts are about knowledge and passion, and that takes time. Working on rugs, for example (above), you need to be patient – making one by hand is a lot of work.

I’ve always been a fan of… art. I prefer visiting art museums to design ones. Art has a certain freedom and is of huge importance to me, and the younger generation like Alicja Kwade, Michael Sailstorfer, Danj Voh or Yngve Holen – there is a fundamental debate about our life and values. 

My highlight of the last 12 months… Definitely my honeymoon to Cape Town and Krueger National Park with my husband. 

My next design trip is to… Indonesia, to check prototypes for a new outdoor collection we want to launch in Milan in April. I am very excited about this project because this is another way of relaxing outside – more spontaneous and individual. 

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