Potential for much, much more
An interview with Andreas Haug, Founder and Managing Partner of Phoenix Design, about Stuttgart and design trends. Read more in the magazine "The Creatives - People, Companies, and Projects in the creative state Baden-Wuerttemberg" by the Ministry of Economics, Labour and Housing.
Mr. Haug, you have been in business since the late 1980’s. In which respect has the work of a Product Designer changed? Of course, attention to detail still plays a big role. But the range of activities has clearly expanded in a strategic direction: brand-typical and user-centred design are cases in point. The interplay of product design and digital interfaces, i.e. surfaces for controlling and using products, represents a rapidly growing market. Today, more than a third of our team of 60 are working on Interaction Design, i.e. on designing interfaces between the user and the product. The times when pure styling was enough to set things in motion are definitely gone. Today, communication and holistic product experiences have moved into the foreground. Here, the future is in “Service Design”, especially in consumer electronics. Apple and Google are cases in point.
You design a wide range of products, from showerheads to a service robot... This wide range is not typical for the design industry, but for us it is an important precondition to deliver contemporary design. We are using the synergy effects, our designers and model makers like to work for different industries.
Will the showerhead of the future be online? Interconnectedness is the big challenge. All design disciplines need to be attuned to each other, both on the designer and the manufacturer side. There’s a big backlog in this respect. The trend towards the miniaturized computer is unstoppable. And the next showerhead may respond to voice commands.
How important are the numerous design awards Phoenix Design has won over the years? Both nationally and internationally, they are an important factor for assessing our performance capabilities. We are happy that our clients, too, present their products to international panels of jurors, and that we can both benefit from the success. But what’s even more important is that the designs are compelling in terms of longevity and measurable business success.
Phoenix is also a member of aed. This initiative was founded by architects, engineers, and designers in Stuttgart in order to provide a network for the participants and to showcase their work in public. To what extent does your company benefit from being part of this network? The aed is unique in the German design landscape. There is potential for much, much more. In terms of professional exchange, we also extend an invitation for a “Lunch talk” once a month at Phoenix Design: agencies, architects, film-makers, and designers from Stuttgart present themselves within the context of a nice luncheon for the entire team. The goal is to draw attention to the great design landscape in the greater Stuttgart area and to use synergies.
Phoenix Design has locations in Stuttgart, Munich, and Shanghai. Why there? Shanghai is China’s design metropolis and an important meeting point with Asian clients. The actual design of our products and interfaces, however, takes place in Stuttgart or Munich; many of our clients come from Southern Germany.
Is Stuttgart an attractive work place for creative people? Stuttgart is one of the design strongholds in Germany and will remain our main location. Talented students are offered – as a complement to their university studies – to do their final theses with us. They get experienced designers and model makers as mentors, and they also receive financial support.
>> Source [in German]: Plavec, J. G. (2016): „Potenzial für viel, viel mehr“ ["Potencial for much, much more], in: Die Kreativen. Menschen, Unternehmen und Projekte im Kreativland Baden-Württemberg [The Creatives. People, Companies and Projects in the creative state Baden-Wuerttemberg], 42-45. See www.wm.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/service/publikation/did/die-kreativen