KPM Berlin regularly maintains exchanges with important creative minds of our time. The most recent collaboration brought her together with the design studio New Tendency: a conversation from our customer magazine WEISS No. 3 about Bauhaus, plates and creative processes

The design studio in a Kreuzberg backyard at Kottbusser Tor is not easy to find. Only an inconspicuous sign reveals that one of the city's hottest design labels is located here: New Tendency. Behind it are the designers Manuel Goller and Sebastian Schöne, who have known each other since their studies, as well as Manuel's brother Christoph Goller, who is responsible for operational and financial business. The three of them work with two other employees on a light-flooded factory floor, fine-tuning their designs in a concentrated and calm manner. They are manufactured by their partners, because all of their design objects are created in close cooperation with artists, architects and manufacturers. New Tendency mainly develops furniture. One of his most famous products is the “Meta” side table made of folded steel. It stands for a design that plays with perspectives and proportions, with delicate and solid shapes. New Tendency has now made a name for itself internationally and sells its furniture from New York to Tokyo.

They stand in the tradition of the Bauhaus and translate it brilliantly into the now: Sebastian Schöne, Manuel Goller and Christoph Goller from the Berlin design collective New Tendency (from left to right) (Photo: Jonas Lindstroem)

Occasionally, the design trio also ventures into other areas. The collaboration with KPM Berlin began a year and a half ago and “it clicked immediately,” as Manuel Goller says. The 34-year-old has always been fascinated by the eventful history of the porcelain manufacturer and its current efforts to enrich the traditional brand with contemporary influences. Together with KPM chief designer Thomas Wenzel, they got to work - with the aim of not shying away from any challenge and pushing the limits of what is possible when it comes to porcelain. The result? Floating beautiful!

Mr. Goller, you studied at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. How did the Bauhaus influence you?

For me, the idea of ​​Bauhaus was the greater inspiration than the design language. On the one hand, this includes collaboration as a collective: in the 1920s, very different actors came together in Weimar and worked together on a larger idea. On the other hand, it was about questioning the status quo: the Bauhauslers were not satisfied with what was. People saw themselves as pioneers, tried out new things, broke with old things and developed them further.

Are these the reasons why the Bauhaus still seems so relevant after 100 years?

The actors were way ahead of their time. I don't know whether we are as avant-garde in design today as we were back then. Today people tend to quote or refer to what already exists, but not to redesign it so radically.

Keyword: collective collaboration. How did the cooperation with KPM come about?

The KPM has always fascinated us. It is a manufactory, comparable to the Bauhaus workshops, a place where people produce beautiful things.

They say that design can create cultural values. What do you mean?

Our aim is to create timeless life companions that people can identify with. Objects that, in addition to their pure function, inspire and bring joy through aesthetics and feel.

Colossally simple: New Tendency has the “Rien” glass made from borosilicate glass. It is often used in laboratories because of its temperature resistance
A piece of furniture with character: The “Meta” side table from the limited “Truth to materials” series is one of New Tendency’s signature pieces

How do you go about your designs?

We don't want to create purely functional design objects, but rather lively products with an expressive character. This is also the basis for deciding whether we publish a particular product or not. It may work in terms of design or handling, but if it lacks personality then we'd rather take our time and develop the design further.

The KPM also creates cultural assets. . . Yes, the KPM has this claim. That's why the collaboration was right from the start. The exciting thing is that people immediately understand the character of an object, even non-verbally. When you see a product from us or KPM, you immediately develop a relationship with the object.

You often talk about poetry. How much poetry is there in porcelain?

Porcelain is a very poetic material. It changes within the creative process. The history of porcelain is like a biography: the first state is almost liquid, then it becomes almost leathery but still malleable, then it is pre-fired and suddenly shrinks. And in the end it gets that strength, that unique feel that we love porcelain for. A very lively material - and each object is unique.

Is porcelain a new material for you?

Yes, it contrasts with the materials we usually work with: aluminum and steel. That's exactly why porcelain is so exciting for us.

KPM and New Tendency have jointly developed a design study for a plate that is going into production. Why a plate?

We want to design things that you use every day, that are self-evident and enrich everyday life. The plate is a good example: you don't just use it once a day, but probably three times.

What design idea is behind this plate?

We tried to rethink the plate and combine it with Japanese influences. It was about creating a stage or a setting – for example for a beautiful dish prepared with love – and honoring the culinary creation.

How did you implement the idea?

We have developed an exceptionally high foot. This creates a shadow under the plate - and the plate appears to float. Its shape is delicate and flat. From the front it almost looks like a Japanese serving tray in a double T shape, very transparent. If you turn the plate, it is completely closed. And from above you can see the perfect circle.

If you stack the plates on top of each other, they form their own shape, almost like a sculpture. . . Yes, the object should not only work alone, but also in large numbers. We made a very precise cut in the middle of the round base of the plate to emphasize the lightness of the plate. This is a design element that we play with almost all objects: the contrast between very delicate and very solid shapes.

The “2020 Edition” of the collaboration is limited to 20 highly exclusive sets of five plates each and can now be pre-ordered at Price on request.

Text: Heike Glasses

Images: Jonas Lindstroem, PR, New Tendency