Interview Toni Egger

02 / 04 / 2015
 
Young German product designer Toni Egger pays a special attention to traditional production processes; visible in the care he puts in the development of each of his pieces.

Where did you study design?
I did my Bachelors at the Academy of Craft and Design Gut Rosenberg in Aachen, Germany. Later, I completed a Masters degree in Basel at the Academy of Arts and Design Northern Switzerland, Institute of Integrative Design.


Why did you want to become a designer?
After high school, I did some travelling and volunteer work in Latin America. Back home, I passed a three-year apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine got me in contact with the Design Academy in Aachen and it clicked from the very beginning. All those colourful people, the positive atmosphere, the creative studios, I loved it. Initially, I did not care that much about design, but I knew I wanted to be part of this creative world. And that is where I am now.

 
How would you define your work?
My objective is to create durable and elegant furniture that communicate their construction and also their manufacturing in a straightforward way. I think that this is something that our generation demands. They want something in contrast to these more and more impersonal, short-lived products.

How is it your creative process?
At the beginning there is a presentiment, a wish or a requirement for something. In the creative design process, I try to work through my ideas step by step. I am constantly manipulating the material that I am working with in an attempt to get to the essence or the core idea. During this process, I make various sketches, models or 3D drawing and use different tools and printing techniques. I make a point right from the beginning, of getting in touch with specialists who have expertise working with certain materials or production methods. The knowledge and the inspiration that I gain from consulting these experts is essential to my work.


 
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m planning a furniture collection, together with the designer Simon Felix Tarantik, where ecological coloured leather plays an essential role. I like to get inspiration out of very special traditional handicraft techniques and the material that comes with it. In the next few days, we will meet with a traditional tanner from Austria. I am very excited to be able to watch how he works.

 "The smile of a fellow human being can be as inspiring as a handicraft technique, which has been passed on over centuries"
What are your main sources of inspiration? 
I think you can get inspiration from everywhere. By observing, for example, an insect or a skyscraper. The smile of a fellow human being can be as inspiring as a handicraft technique, which has been passed on over centuries. This is exactly what makes our profession so exciting. It´s all about curiosity, alertness and about a kind of a puerile interest in the things that surround us.