The two German designers Blasius Osko and Oliver Deichmann have been working as a team for over ten years now. They first attracted international attention with their ‘Pebble’ sofa at Salone Satellite in 2005. A lot has happened since then. ‘Pebble’ is finally in production and osko+deichman have impressed a number of prestigious manufacturers with their reduced and minimalist designs. We met them at their studio in Berlin.
You got to know each other while you were studying in Berlin and started your first company as early as 1998. How did this early cooperation come about?
Deichmann: Yes, everything actually started during an integrative course of study which was taking place in this form for the last time. We worked very hard in a group of 10 students. As soon as we received our preliminary diploma we decided to set up our own company — in the late 90s there was a feeling that everything was possible and in this spirit we launched ‘Wunschforscher’.
Osko: during the period of the New Economy everything was very dynamic and you could take risks.
Last year you started a cooperation with the Swedish manufacturer Blå Station. Your ‘Pebble’ sofa, which you presented in 2005 at the Salone Satellite, is now finally in production. It was actually ready for production back then — why was it mothballed for so long?
In fact it wasn’t mothballed for so long, at least not by us but rather by a number of manufacturers. The original response to the sofa was great and a number of prestigious companies were interested in it. However, the first manufacturer we came to an agreement with simply took too long for us, and the next one withdrew from the project – I no longer know how many hands ‘Pebble’ went through. Blå Station got in touch with us almost 4 years after they had seen the sofa in Milan.
In view of the current economic situation, designers of consumer goods are coming in for a certain amount of criticism. How do you think designers should and could react to this situation?
Osko: I believe that the keyword is reduction. Quite apart from the crisis, we have always tried to design things at a low level of complexity. Our products are intended to have a clear concept and be as simple to create as possible. It would be nice if the kind of transparency which is being demanded at the political level also managed to to trickle down to the design level. The result would be ‘honest’ products.
Our design always involves the challenge of saying as much as possible while using the minimum amount of resources. I believe that this type of design will be very much in demand in the years to come, for both economic and ecological reasons.