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'Gilbert' allows you to look each other in the eye

An alumnus of the HfG Offenbach University of Art and Design, Sebastian Herkner (1981) founded his own studio in 2006, aged just 25. Since then, his designs have earned him numerous awards, including Maison&Objet’s ‘Designer of the Year’(2019). And the list of international brands that feature his work, reads like a veritable Who’s Who? of international designAmong them LINTELOO, of course.

After his voluptuous ‘Arp’ sofa and armchair and ingenious ‘Terrace’ coffee and side tables, Sebastian’s latest design for LINTELOO - the 'Gilbert' sofa -  has a geometric, even cubist feel. ‘The Gilbert sofa is reminiscent of the Tetris computer game,’ says Sebastian. ‘Building blocks, with simple shapes, that allow you to create different scenarios.’ Interestingly, where the average modular sofa strives towards ultimately achieving a ‘one-piece’ look, in the case of ‘Gilbert’, the visible separation of the various ‘blocks’ has become a strong design feature. ‘This way, the back rest, for instance, becomes a decorative element in itself, not simply a vertical extension of the seat.’ Invisible legs, which makes ‘Gilbert’ appear to float, add to the airiness achieved by the varied gaps between the various backrests. Seen from the back, the effect is equally striking. ‘I wanted to design a sofa that would allow you to place it anywhere in a space. And this design, thanks to its beautiful backside, works extremely well as a freestanding sofa.

 Obviously, this emphasizes the importance of perfection in the details, such as the piping. And despite its geometry, it has become a very tactile sofa, a sofa that you want to touch.’ Talking about touching, when asked if he is a ‘fabric sofa’ man or a ‘leather sofa’ man, Sebastian replies ‘My own sofa at home is upholstered in fabric, but just imagine the Gilbert in a soft nubuck, or a combination of leather and fabric…’ His own sofa has had a lot of use in recent times, as Sebastian confesses that, during the pandemic ‘I became a real couch potato’. Our perception of what was important in life was recalibrated. Small pleasures, such as an evening spent with friends talking about everything or nothing, proved invaluable. Which is why the angled corner element of ‘Gilbert’ is such a masterstroke: in a nod to 19th century vis à vis sofas, ‘Gilbert’ allows you to look each other in the eye, even when sitting next to one another. And also, COVID made life slow down. Sebastian: ‘The world is full of ‘fast’ things – fast food, fast fashion, fast furniture. But suddenly, mainly when imports from China stagnated, people became more aware of and interested in the story behind what they buy. It became an opportunity to educate people. They needed to learn that good design is an investment, but then you have something to pass on. You cannot pass rubbish on.’ We, at LINTELOO, could not agree more.


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Sebastian Herkner

‘There is a sensitivity and identity to my work that emphasizes the function, the material and the detail.’ Sebastian Herkner (1981) studied Product Design at Offenbach Design Academy. He interned at Stella McCartney in London where he developed a liking and true flair for colour, material and their connection; a characteristic that has never left him.

As early as 2006 Sebastian established his own studio and has since been involved in projects for a wide range of companies and institutes, increasingly gaining international acclaim. By now, his trophy cabinet must be bursting at the seams and Maison&Objet even elected him “2019 – Designer of the Year”.

Sebastian pairs an unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship with a feel for new technologies, a combination resulting in refined shapes and tactile surfaces—the perfect match with Linteloo.

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