Heavy Hitters

A profile of the designers 45 Kilo

The Bauhaus-inspired functionalist designs of Weimar- and Berlin-based duo 45 Kilo are anything but lightweight
Wallpaper* magazine issue 157

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Philipp Schöpfer und Daniel Klapsing met as students at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany and formed their own design studio together in 2007. They called their company 45 Kilo as a sort of metric reference to the archetype of the “seven stone weakling” boy at the beach, but their growing body of muscular and well-toned work shows them to be anything but puny and unattractive when it comes to quality design.

45 Kilo’s early work first caught our eye at DMY in Berlin in 2008, then as part of the self-initiated platform My Bauhaus is Better than Yours at the Carwan gallery in Milan last year and again at Meet My Project at the Maison et Objet in Paris this January. Over that time they have put together a collection of products that are functional without being severe and exhibit a lot of consideration towards both production and the user “We try,” they say, “to make things that are simple and well-balanced, work well and long, are easy to make, and are fun”: All qualities that we have come to expect of good German design, but with a touch of lightheartedness thrown in.

45 Kilo’s furniture reflects a conflation of their early influences and experiences: Daniel felt himself initially drawn to the easy-going Dutch design scene and spent time doing internships with Bertjan Pot and Chris Kabel, whilst Phillip on the other hand took the architecture track and work for a while in the office of his uncle H G Merz who is renowned in Germany for the powerful understatement of his museum and exhibition architecture. But interestingly it is the word “Bauhaus” that one finds writ large along their path to date. They not only studied at the legendary school (albeit much changed from how it was back in the day) but have taken much of what it stands for to heart: “The school now is very different to the historic Bauhaus, of course, but it keeps the tradition in the sense of encouraging its students to work both manually and conceptually, or in other words: to bring together form and meaning”. “The nice thing about the Bauhaus,” they add, “is that on the one hand it is linked to a certain strictness and effectiveness, on the other hand it stands for experiments and a very playful creativity. We think both aspects are important to our way of designing and they fit to our personal profile quite well”…