Gunther Kleinert on fine design and the questioning of consumption

The esthete and product designer is the winner of the German Design Award

Gunther Kleinert
Gunther Kleinert product designer & photographer

Product and Interior Designer, Gunther Kleinert is winner of the German Design Award 2020 together with Ateliergemeinschaft Labsdesign Studio Hamburg for the design of the modular sofa range “Volo” for Rolf Benz. His photographs are also award-winning and he always has a sense and an eye for something special.


Gunther Kleinert speaks to us about good design and questioning consumption

My personal style is basically reduced, but with occasional and deliberate outbursts, sometimes a little louder, sometimes more subtle, often humorous.

For me, aesthetics is a similarly subjective category as humor. I find everything aesthetic that excites my senses and stimulates my mind to think. The commonly used concept of "beautiful" does not necessarily have room here. For me, luxury is also not material, but rather at the highest level of Maslow's pyramid of needs, self-actualization.

So I am grateful to have a profession that is both a calling and a passion, in which I can think freely and create in an advertising-oriented manner, where there is also space for developing and pursuing my own art projects.

"I make sure to enjoy the real luxury goods time and leisure with all the hectic everyday life"

The importance of sustainability in product design

Ideally, product design and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. Product / industrial design must take a path at an early stage of product creation that is sustainable, for example through the use of materials that conserve and use resources.

A small and less complex example may serve here to demonstrate what I mean: My “Tavo” side table was created in Studio Labs. The main focus of the planning was on a craft that is unfortunately slowly dying out, turning. As wonderfully poetic as the idea of ​​turning a table completely out of a tree trunk may be, such a realization on the other hand would be so nonsensical.

Apart from the fact that the table would then not be able to hold its shape due to the nature of the wood and would crack, it would also be a great waste of material. The table looks like it is made of one piece, but it is not. The shelf is turned separately and placed on the base. If the shelf is damaged, it can be replaced without having to make the entire table. It is also the task of designers to provide impulses, for example for the development and research of new, sustainable materials.

Gunther Kleinert

Design of the modular “Volo” sofa range for Rolf Benz

Sustainability is lived by the permanent questioning of my consumption

I shop more consciously and avoid unnecessarily packaged goods. I am a big fan of repairing valuable items. That is why I prefer manufacturing companies that not only pursue sustainable concepts with regard to the materials used, material procurement, production and efficient logistics (short delivery routes), but also design their products in such a way that wear parts can be replaced.

Good industrial design is characterized by simplicity and repairability

2 years ago I bought a plotter that was over 30 years old and used to create artistic projects. These plotters have not been built since the early 90s. At that time they were replaced by the inkjet printers. My acquisition for very little money is still going "like clockwork" after more than 30 years and has a fascinatingly simple structure. It took a few weeks until I was able to control the "old" plotter with a PC from today, but in the end it worked.

I've never owned a car and I can easily get around Hamburg by public transport or by bike. If I do need a car, I rent one or use car sharing offers. I also enjoy traveling by train, not least because I can use the luxury item “time” that is given as a gift for good thoughts, and most importantly: for notes and sketches. It goes without saying that a notebook for applied design and one for art always travel with you.

The special thing about my product design is that I prefer to leave it to others to evaluate or judge it

I draw my inspiration from all areas of the applied and liberal arts, but also from everyday life. I find the exchange with colleagues, some of whom have a different background and career, very fruitful. I always want to keep my senses open in many ways, even for what would initially not arouse my interest on the surface. I also get inspiration when I design different things at the same time and get involved in them in various ways. This automatically creates synergies.

My tips for a minimalist decor:

It is of course difficult to give specific tips in general, because everyone may have a different understanding of minimalist furnishings and space conditions are always different.

"Only the master shows himself in the limitation". JWGoethe. So when less is more, this little needs more attention

  1. Details become more apparent: when it comes to reduced or minimalist furnishings, what is (still) available becomes more and more essential.
  2. High quality and real materials: That's why we always use high quality or let's say "real" basic materials and no replicas. Real wood parquet or high-quality textiles, for example, come into their own much more visually and haptically in a reduced environment.
  3. White is not always white: With wall colors, you can work with slight gradations.
  4. The visual references are always important: What do I see when I walk through rooms? What happens to daylight, how does it work? Can things be staged and highlighted with natural light or shadow? I make sure to refer to John Pawson here.

Trends arise for me, on the one hand from social developments, e.g. how we will live and work in the future. The trend as a term is ambivalent and often used inflationarily. You should always ask yourself how far you want to swim on trend waves. In the abundance of “trendy” things, I often find the “unruly” or the less noticed as much more exciting.

Gunther Kleinert

Gunther Kleinert, The Fabrics Series

2020 holds some surprises by Gunther Kleinert

My next step are new product and interior design projects in Studio Labs. In addition, I will continue to work on my artistic projects and series "I can see music" and "The sound of ...", in which I am concerned with making audible things (music, noise, sound) visible and looking for ways to use them to transfer the third dimension.

Gunther Kleinert

Gunther Kleinert_Bohemian Rhapsody



Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

[ninja_form id = 3]

Related topics
5 Questions to Next Gen Designer Sep Verboom "If we as designers and consumers don't know anything about the product, we can't evaluate it" AN INTERVIEW...
Bast Fiber Boom: Is Biomaterial the Next Normal in the Design Process? Eco & slow design are en vogue. But what does sustainable design actually consist of? Everything about functional...
Interior design trend
Inspiration & ideas for home trends and design 5 This year, too, there is a breath of fresh air when it comes to furnishings. Here are the top 5 interior design trends ...