Hi Manuel! Are you answering this interview from your office or at home? In any case, are you sitting comfortably on one of your designs?
Hi there, I am back at the studio. We are working remotely (again), and most of the time, I am working from home, but today I drove to the studio and enjoy the change, to be honest. Yes, I am sitting on one of our Standard Sofas right now. It is comfy but still firm enough to get work done focused.
Maybe you can explain to our readers what NEW TENDENCY is and how it started, what your background is, and the purpose of your practice.
I started NEW TENDENCY with some friends during my studies at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. We worked on an exhibition in Milan where we displayed various design objects. The show turned into the company eventually.
I am responsible for the Creative Direction mainly. I am working on the brand and products for our collection with internal and external designers. My brother and business partner Christoph is responsible for the business side of things.
Did you start running while studying at BAUHAUS University in Weimar or when you moved to Berlin? Even though a smaller city or countryside might be more suitable for running, the need for outdoors and sports grows when we are in huge cities!
That is so true! I was into sports in my childhood and youth, but to be honest, I was not very active in this field during my early twenties. I focused on developing my work and enjoying time with friends at dinners and parties in Weimar, New York, and Berlin.
When I realized that I became a bit too obsessive with work, I started running to balance myself. I choose running because you can start it without much preparation and equipment. You just put on your shoes, step outside, and get active!
Functionality is at the core of our business, especially for running shoes, sometimes it can result in unusual designs (at first sight). Do you think the form should only follow function ?
I believe that you must feel comfortable in the shoes you are running with. If the shoes make you feel good, everything is allowed unless the shoe causes an injury, of course.
In which pair of shoes are you running yourself?
I am currently running on Arc'teryx Norvan LD 2. A perfect example of what I just described above. Usually, it takes me some weeks to get used to new shoes. But with the Norvan LD 2, I felt right from day 1. It is so lightweight that you almost do not feel the shoes. At the same time, it gives me enough stability and grip. Quite important for me since I usually run-on dirt surfaces, which are very muddy these days :).
Speaking of functionality as a theme could describe your process when starting a completely new design. What is the starting point?
We usually start with a simple idea, which triggers a dialog/conversation with the team. The concept behind the product is essential. Even though you do not see it in the end, I believe that customers can feel and experience the thought process we invest in our products.
What brands are you most excited about in the running and activewear field.
Honestly, I am mostly wearing Arc'teryx these days. There is a german saying, "Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, nur schlechte Kleidung" which translates to "there is no bad weather, just bad clothing." For me, that's where Arc'teryx works the best. A perfect crossover between performance and outdoor gear. I would like to try some Adidas or On running equipment someday, though. Just for reference.
Any kind of design or furniture piece applicable to running or the world of athletics that would you love to see differently or design one day? Old odd things that you think could need a fresh look?
I am just working on designs for a performance home collection. I will move in a couple of weeks and integrate some simple equipment like a pullup bar in the new flat. However, I feel that most of the equipment out there is slight too technical, so I decided to work on my products. I will keep you updated!
We met during a Berlin Marathon weekend. Have you ever run a marathon yourself?
Not yet! I just ran a half marathon so far, but I am training for a marathon and hope to accomplish this life goal this year.
A common question that I ask during these interviews is what impact do you think running can have on your work if there is one for you?
For me, running is a bit like meditation. As a creative, my mind is always on producing ideas. During running, I can reset my mind and focus on the next step and my breathing. After exercising, I can start thinking about new ideas on a blank canvas, which increased my productivity and the quality of my ideas a lot.