Together, industrial designer Hermann August Weizenegger and KPM chief designer Thomas Wenzel developed the fascinatingly versatile treasure box “Boîte de Louise”. You can find out what idea lies behind the strictly limited jewelry box, why KPM Berlin was the right partner for the realization and much more in the interesting interview with Hermann August Weizenegger...

They regularly cooperate with traditional and regional production facilities. What goal are you pursuing with this?

Weizenegger: It is very important to me personally to draw attention to people's craftsmanship and skills through contemporary designs. Many manufactories have grown over decades or even centuries and in some cases generations of families work in the companies. That's why there is a great identity to the craft and region. As an industrial designer, it is a great enrichment to immerse yourself in the respective industries, to have a dialogue and, in the best case, to develop an object that best reflects the DNA of the manufacturer. What I like about regional production is that it creates an economy of proximity, a circular culture, as I have demonstrated in examples with some Berlin and Brandenburg companies.

Do you have criteria that you use to select your cooperation partners?

Weizenegger: I have a guiding principle: What counts is what comes out of the bottom line and quality has top priority. Furthermore, production is extremely important to me. As a designer, I want to be able to get to know the production and the craftsmen personally and get a connection to the materials and production. I have long-standing friendships from many projects, which I consider a great privilege of my work.

What is the idea behind the “Boîte de Louise” treasure box?

Weizenegger: The idea was to design a jewelry box that appears formally reduced and simple. Thanks to a transparent lid and the pressed facets, the inside of the can is easy to see. There is something mystical and mysterious about it. I think the black box with the gold is perfect, it has a function, but at the same time it is also a very decorative object that can be placed anywhere. The glass lid is a little invention of mine. I came across the old and almost extinct tradition of glass stone chandelier production and had the glass lids pressed by hand using simple tools. The lid size and the glass volume are perfectly adapted to the tool and oven size. That was also the idea for the facets, which are supposed to refract the light but also require less glass mass. The lid was then steamed smoke gray to make the interior appear even more mysterious.

Was the design decided first and then KPM Berlin as a partner or vice versa?

Weizenegger : I created the design as part of my solo exhibition “Atmosim - Designed Atmospheres”, which was shown at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin from 2020 to 2021. The exhibition had 24 stations, one of which was a beauty installation. I designed a jewelry or treasure box for this without first thinking about the production partner. I then contacted KPM with my first design idea. I think it's nice that many local manufacturers are involved in a Berlin exhibition.

Why is KPM Berlin the right partner for this piece?

Weizenegger: KPM was an obvious partner for me to realize this design. I knew it was a big challenge to make an exact round porcelain cylinder so that the glass lid fits perfectly. I have to say that, thankfully, the chief designer Thomas Wenzel helped me a lot because he knew how to create a precise circle in the end. The use of diamond cutting and polishing machines was a very helpful processing method. It was clear here that dialogue with experts was needed, without whom this perfection would not have been possible.

How can one basically imagine the process of design development for you?

Weizenegger : There are two approaches that I usually use. The first is that I work with a company and look at the production in advance and create a design based on this context. In the second, the draft arises from research, such as visits to trade fairs or meetings in research institutes. This often involves a new technology or procedure. In my studio I then think about how I can transfer this innovation into a product and which company would then be considered as a partner. The jewelry box shows a symbiosis. In addition to porcelain, two other productions were used to bring such an innovative idea onto the market.

The “Boîte de Louise” treasure box is an exclusive new product limited to 100 pieces. Do you have a favorite piece from our existing range?

Weizenegger: I particularly like the URBINO service from Trude Petri. For me, the designer is a pioneer of product design. The form or the system idea of ​​this collection is a modern classic that shows how form and function come together in the most beautiful way. In my opinion, the service is the first tableware system that has been designed with incredible freedom, i.e. the lid of the bowl is also an upside down bowl, the handle becomes a foot, etc. This is simply great in its conception. This also shows that KPM has always been open not only to history but also to modernity and has always allowed innovative design approaches throughout its history. I think the design of my treasure box “Boîte de Louise” is a continuation and therefore a living tradition.