About the Project

"Work in Process" is a collection of conversations with 16 European self-employed designers.

For her Master Thesis in Product Design at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, Lauren Walter spoke to designers who work on furniture and home accessories, to hear about events and occurrences that coined their careers.

Through her project, she aims at capturing portraits that paint images of the persons behind their body of work, their motivations, their way of working and thinking and certain character traits. The comments she collected are filled with stories and experiences. They reflect an honest answer to their design practice yet they are not to dictate any dogmatic advice.

You can browse through this website to see a preview of imagery and some selected quotes which the designers mentioned during the conversations.

Contact Lauren if you are interested in a copy of the book.


Volker Albus

Somehow, I felt like all this straight architecture wasn't enough.

Volker Albus studied architecture at the RTHW Aachen. He worked as an architect for several years, then switched over to design and has since worked on objects, installations, interiors, exhibitions and has written numerous texts for magazines, books and exhibition catalogues. Since 1994, he acts as professor for product design at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.

  • I'm not a contractor and I never wanted to become one.

    Anton Alvarez

    It's important to not put oneself in that position of simply accepting that this is what we do for love.

    Anton Alvarez graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2012. In his work he combines many disciplines: he painted graffiti for several years, studied art, cabinet making, interior architecture and design. Being of Swedish and Chilean heritage, his work is made up of contrasts just as intriguing. It embodies the clean and polished Scandinavian as well as the colorful South American influences while constantly challenging the boundaries between design and art.

  • I feel like everyone around me in this profession is very good at what they do and very quick in coming up with something.

    Sarah Böttger

    I try to make visible that this work is not only a happy process in which I could work on something forever, but that it is a profession which like any other is there for earning a living.

    After working as a cabinet maker, Sarah Böttger studied Industrial Design in Offenbach. She opened her own studio in Wiesbaden near Frankfurt in 2011 and is a part-time employee for a leading German design blog. The furniture pieces and living accessories she creates incorporate a slick aesthetic with a strong emphasis on industrial processes and the field of crafts.

  • I would advise anyone to spend some time working in a profession before studying.

    Fernando Brízio

    There are many ways to be a designer, you can be an author, collaborate in projects authored by other people or work in anonymous projects. If you work hard enough, you earn the chance of being able to choose.

    Fernando Brízio studied Equipment Design at Lisbon School of Fine Arts from 1991 to 1996. He works in his studio in Lisbon where he constantly creates new solutions for objects in our daily lives. Most of his projects, be it furniture, accessories, table wear, clothing or installations play with the movement and unknown outcome of coincidences.

  • It is up to designers to make the project interesting, we have to have the ability to problematize and generate ideas that turn any process into a motivating project.

    Matali Crasset

    There are so many possibilities to materialize our ideas.

    The French designer matali crasset learned in commercial studies and then followed up with an education in design at Ensci − Les Ateliers in Paris. She worked with Denis Santachiara in Milan for eight months and returned to Paris to work with Philippe Starck for five years, after which she decided to open her own studio. Her work is based on concepts and interactions between people and their surroundings and has therefore become renowned for the unconventional aesthetic she calls coincidental.

  • When you find your personal touch, that becomes a kind of fertile land on which you can plant seeds and make things grow your entire life.

    Martí Guixé

    My education didn't end when I graduated.

    Martí Guixé is a Spanish designer based in Barcelona and Berlin. He studied Interior Design at Elisava in Barcelona and then Industrial Design in Milan. He was a Spanish pioneer in designing with the first 3D programs and later set computers aside to work on overcoming boundaries of living matter such as for example food through design. He has also done a great amount of commercial work for companies like Alessi, Authentics, Camper and Vitra. Since 2010 he teaches the course of Food Design at Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan.

  • I don't feel constrained to work, so if I work it's because I like it, not because I have to.

    Sam Hecht

    We always experiment with different new areas that we feel are right for some investigation.

    Sam Hecht studied industrial design at the RCA in London. He worked for architect David Chipperfield, was an employee at IDEO in San Francisco and later on managed the Japan branch with Naoto Fukasawa. He and Kim Colin opened their studio Industrial Facility in London in 2002. Industrial Facility is not well-known among the general public, yet their intelligent and deliberate way of designing has attracted valuable clientele such as Muji, Herman Miller, Mattiazzi and Yamaha for cooperations.

  • If you feel passionate about something, be it design or any subject really, that tends to be the big part of your life.

    Piet Hein Eek

    Instead of working purely as a designer, we started producing, distributing and even selling our own products.

    Piet Hein Eek graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 1990 and then opened a studio with his business partner Nob Ruijgrok. The studio based in Eindhoven produces one-offs and products for the industry all marked with the designer's unique way to incorporate experimental material approaches into mass-produceable items. Today, the studio space is more than 10,000 square meters in size, including a workshop, an office space, a shop for selling many of the objects produced, an event space and a restaurant. The following text was not collected in an interview but a statement Piet Hein Eek submitted.

  • Because of the expanded possibilities the variety in work has grown. Still, the challenge remains to get the maximum out of the circumstances.

    Hilda Hellström

    Due to my background in design my way of producing sculptures is of a very contained and tangible kind, both referring to a more traditional idea of sculpture but also products.

    Hilda Hellström studied art in Barcelona, Copenhagen and Stockholm and later graduated in design at the Royal College in London. She works in her own studio in Stockholm, to where she recently moved back from London. Her hands-on way of working has lead to commissions for galleries and institutions and even though she studied design and has produced several functional objects, she prefers not being called a designer.

  • Sometimes in life everything happens at once, it's like the Ketchup-effect.


    I should be more afraid of delivering something which possibly might be stolen.

    Hans Maier-Aichen has created life-size installations made of glass as a renowned sculptor, has played a leading role in Germany's economical design landscape as the founder of Authentics and followed these experiences with the career of a designer and later a professor in design at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. He lives near Stuttgart and gives lectures and workshops on design and its responsibilities all over the globe.

  • I allow myself to combine disciplines, which seems to be an advantage because I collected experience in various areas.

    Peter Marigold

    I wouldn't recommend studying art to anyone.

    The British designer Peter Marigold studied Fine Art and Sculpture at Central St. Martins in London and Design Products under Ron Arad at the Royal College of Art. He produces and sells objects such as stools, shelves and cabinets under his own brand − all carrying a trace of arts and crafts influence − and has presented his works at MoMA New York, V&A Museum London and Design Miami.

  • I was getting old and a group of friends were up for it.

    Yael Mer

    We have a great interest in colors and materials and geometries, and our working process is to build brick upon brick.

    Yael Mer is part of the design studio Raw Edges. She and Shay Alkalay both graduated from Ron Arad's Design Products Course at the Royal College of Art London and, after jobs such as working as a freelance designer for Rolf Sachs Studio in London, decided to open their studio together. Their conceptual works include objects, installations and material experiments that have been on display at renowned institutions. Raw Edges has been commissioned to do work for galleries as well as companies such as for example cappellini or Multina, always finding new ways to interpret an object and its use.

  • We've been doing this for quite some time now and this is our reality.

    Mischer & Traxler

    In my opinion a project is never final.

    Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler have worked in their Studio Mischer'Traxler in Vienna since 2009. They both studied Design in St. Pölten Austria and at Kingston University London and graduated at Design Academy Eindhoven. The work they produce, from furniture pieces, over objects or processes to installations, is filled with influences from chemical, social, natural or hand craft processes.

  • We were lucky, well, not only lucky... We worked hard for what we have achieved and we utilized the opportunities given to us.

    Jay Osgerby

    Hopefully the things we do will last at least as long as they take to make.

    BarberOsgerby is Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. Jay studied Industrial Design and met Ed during their MA in Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. Their studio was founded in 1996 where, since then, they have worked on furniture pieces for commercial companies such as Cappellini, Vitra or Flos, created installations for museums and fairs but also decided to found two agencies to accompany their design studio with consulting activities. They are regularly invited to host workshops and lectures at conferences all over the world.

  • Design is really concerned with problem solving and one of the first problems you have as a designer is how to be a designer.

    Klemens Schillinger

    It was a good lesson for me to learn to listen to my own voice over others.

    The Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger studied Industrial Design in Graz and Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art in London. He does freelance work for various design studios and has recently moved from London to Vienna, where he is setting up his own studio. He has done commission work for Vienna Design Week or Kvadrat but also develops, produces and distributes his furniture pieces and accessories on his own account.

  • I realized how important it was to present myself. That I had to show my work in public contexts so that I could receive feedback for it.

    Hermann August Weizenegger

    I was always quite good at knowing what I was not so good at.

    Hermann August Weizenegger was part of the renowned German design studio Vogt + Weizenegger in the 1990s. He was an apprentice to tailoring, studied Fashion and then Product Design at Berlin University of the Arts and has been teaching design courses since 2004. He decided to open his own studio HAW in 2009 shortly after Vogt and him ended their cooperation after 16 years of successful work as a design agency.

  • There's no routine to any of these problems we try to solve so there's no "right" way of solving them.

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