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Traveling nourishes Sebastian Herkner's creativity

German top designer Sebastian Herkner (1981) pairs an unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship with a feel for new technologies, a combination resulting in refined shapes and tactile surfaces. The inspiration for many of his designs comes from the impressions and experiences he gains during his travels. 

‘I feel so privileged, being able to travel, to see the world and draw on those experiences in various designs. Traveling nourishes creativity. During the Covid lockdown my memories of trips around the globe kept me sketching. Years ago, my husband and I traveled to Bali, riding a scooter along the rice paddies. The layering of the landscape, with its terraces in various shapes and sizes, subsequently inspired me to design the Terrace tables for LINTELOO. The ceramic tabletops are made by a small manufacturer in Bavaria, and, together, these side and coffee tables illustrate the different characters of those rice paddies.

In fact, my career started with traveling. I became interested in design at a young age, while traveling with my parents. They loved visiting churches which we came across on our journeys. Being exposed to the architecture of these churches, triggered my interest in design.

In my designs, I emphasize traditional craftsmanship. I find that there is a certain purity to it. Traveling allows me to discover traditional crafts of the various countries I visit, and to explore new ways of creating similar products. Craftsmanship crosses boundaries, quite literally. There is a tradition of rug making in Colombia, but also in India. But you might see a difference in technique, patterns, or the use of color, driven by differences in culture. And wherever I go, I take hundreds of pictures. Of a stool, a chair, a rug, interesting architecture—there is so much to see that is different. And I want to bring all those memories back home with me.

My travels have led me around the world, exploring different cultures and meeting all kinds of creative people. In the end, we all have the same notion of creativity, but coming from different backgrounds and cultures, and that is what makes it so interesting. Whenever I go abroad, I want to listen to the local music. When in India, I want to have an Indian breakfast and not my American-style breakfast in the hotel. I really want to experience all perspectives. Every day is different. When I travel, I ask people, ‘Show me your favorite places, your favorite shops. Not the ones for tourists, show me where you go to buy your sponge or fabric.’ Because I don’t want to see touristy things.

I think the most important thing in life, is to be curious and to keep an open mind. Because then you can understand the beauty of the whole planet and the amazing variety of cultures, religions, food, music—all of it.’

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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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