Sometimes to find the right inspiration, the right approach to a project you have to investigate the past. You have to travel around and through archetypes, myths of your predecessors who were able to provide new ways to express their inner creativity. Discovering old and ancient rituals and how they can be applied to the modern world. A long process that can lead to craft intuitive images, pure reflections of an unconscious world that, once on the surface, can shape poetic design objects. This is the poetical analysis method created by EOOS design, a studio based in Vienna, Austria, brain child of three talented designers: Gernot Bohmann, Harald Gründl and Martin Bergmann. The metaphoric formula conceived by the artists helped them to merge the archaic universe with a more contemporary high-tech point of view to solve complex design problems related to our daily life. Founded in 1995 the firm has been working with several International companies like Giorgio Armani, Adidas, Alessi, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Walter Knoll. For Walter Knoll they designed Jaan Living, a sofa which is one of the master pieces available at DSEGNARE.
They took time off from their work to reply to our questions.
D: How did you come up with the idea of the Jaan Living sofa system?
EOOS: We thought about designing a seating system with a floating base like a second level in the room. On these platforms the upholstered elements are generating some islands with different zones, conceived in a kind of “broken linearity”. All individual elements could be arranged like a collage and the result is something which is united and separated at the same time.
D: What was your inspiration?
EOOS: Jaan is clearly part of our work to invent a certain language for Walter Knoll. It is more about evolution and less about invention. We started the project thinking about a “Living Landscape” where you can turn off elements to activate the space behind the sofa and Jaan has no real back side. This led us to the Jaan bench and also to design the Jaan bed with the same kind of floating platform.
D: Who were or still are your role models? Those who have been crucial in your training?
EOOS: The futurist Fortunato Depero, for example, who worked with his radical artistic view for Campari and designed the most beautiful bottle ever. The designer Bill Stumpf, who designed the internationally renowned Aeron chair together with Don Chadwick for Herman Miller, who made a design checklist consisting of questions like: “Does it advance the Arts of living and working?”,” Is it original and artful?” ,”Does it truly satisfy?”, “Is there a wow?”, “Does it advance technology?”…..Very hard to say yes to all those questions, and we never could.
D: When you have to start a project, what do you do?
EOOS: We need to find a kind of gravitation field where we can stand on our feet. Thus we need our poetic analysis to find this ground. Images, rituals, myths help us a lot in this process. Finding the poetic DNA of a company is crucial for us. As soon as we have found this field where our identity and the one of the company overlaps, we have the chance to develop a certain language. Our ultimate goal is always to have a result where we can say this is 100% EOOS and our client says this is 100% him/herself.
D: Are you working on a new project for Walter Knoll right now?
We strongly believe in the continuity of relationships. It is all about having a good communication and respect for each other. Next year we'll celebrate our 20th anniversary with Walter Knoll. For Walter Knoll we design about 10 to 20 new projects at the same time, all of them having different timelines, with a mix of short and long term projects. We try to keep the flow, to stay in motion. Our next projects for Walter Knoll will be launched at Orgatec this year and the IMM in Cologne and the Salone del Mobile in Milan next year.
D: What's design for you?
EOOS: For us design is a poetic discipline that gives an orientation to people and society. We think that everything always happens in between getting burned and getting lost. Design is about finding the balance. Moreover, the width in our work is very important for us. We designed products like tableware for Fürstenberg and sofas for Walter Knoll but also a toilet for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation dedicated to the third world and right now a social furniture program for refugees in Austria, which will be shown in the Austrian pavilion in the Venice Biennale of Architecture. We believe that there are a lot of different ways to use the power of design.