Following his apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker and his studies in Industrial Design, Felix Stark has been running the design studio “Formstark” (Eng: “powerful design”) in Cologne since 2004. His products captivate with their functional yet elegant form, which fully embodies the principle that “form follows function”. His designs have received numerous awards, including the "Red Dot Award" and the Germany-wide prize “Die Gute Form”. We had a chat with the designer about his collaboration with Müller Small Living and about new projects:
Mr Stark, you’ve been working very successfully with Müller Small Living for many years. In your view, what makes for good furniture design and what is particularly important to you in your work?
Felix Stark: I believe that good design always results from the practical demands placed on a product. To me, creating something “functional” doesn’t mean having to sacrifice anything, but instead taking all aspects of a product into account when designing it. So, design isn't something you add on later, but is inseparable from functionality. By this token, a product shouldn’t just be practical but also have lasting aesthetic appeal.
You work particularly often with birch plywood, which is of course a hallmark of Müller Small Living. What properties make this material special for you?
Felix Stark: Birch plywood is sustainable in many different respects: for one thing, wood is a renewable raw material while also being durable: the material doesn’t lose any of its stability even after years of use and multiple moves, and the visible wooden edge fits into a wide variety of home styles. Sustainability also means that you still like a piece of furniture even after years of use: otherwise, it hasn’t fulfilled its function.
Most recently, you developed an unusual tent system - the "Sphere emergency shelter concept". What’s that all about?
Felix Stark: With “Sphere”, I’ve developed a system that can be used to build emergency shelters in crisis regions. Based on the social and societal specifics of such a situation, I’ve created a protected space in which social togetherness becomes possible.
What other projects are you working on at the moment?
Felix Stark: I’m currently working on a product range for NEWDES – a new lighting brand that pursues the same concept as Müller Small Living: innovative products that embody a clear design language for modern living!