A CONVERSATION
WITH PASCAL HIEN

THE LIGHT
AW16 COLLABORATION

After their first successful collaboration which resulted in the Caraffa collection for SS16, FRISUR and Pascal Hien decided to build on their ideas for AW16. Reminded of the nostalgic connection we have with the winter months; wrapping up warm while enjoying time by the fire or candle light became their connection point which resulted in their second collaborative effort, THE LIGHT.

We caught up with Pascal in Venice during the biennale to find out a bit more about the inspiration behind the object, what attracts him to work with a fashion brand, and how he sees the role of design today.

Could you start with introducing yourself and your design process?

I’m a german designer deeply influenced by the different cultures I have lived in over the last years. My work expresses itself through these experiences. Berlin stands for my functional side, tons of experiments, underdog aesthetics and this feeling of freedom to do anything you want. In Paris I learned more about a certain business attitude, a focus on crafts, a celebration of material and the sensibility for really shaping contours and curves. Fabrica research centre in Italy taught me to understand that there is something very irrational, something that can touch a persons soul and make him appreciate a piece of design. It’s that kind of magic that makes you really love objects, because you somehow relate to them and personally connect with them. Now that I’m starting to apply my experience to the furniture industry at Steelcase Inc I see how difficult it is to hold that balance of the above. It’s always a journey. I stay curious to learn more and really enjoy collaborations with brands like Frisur clothing along the way.

Why did you decide to collaborate with FRISUR for their AW16 collection?

Over the course of my studies in Berlin, fashion and product designers were together as one group. This connection really set the groundwork and helped me to understand the framework of this profession. It just felt very natural to collaborate with the guys for this collection. Our paths had crossed numerous times and we have been debating trends, sharing feedback and trying to forecast the future together since years. Its almost like a manifesto to our origins and what we are surrounded by. I always liked the idea of how fashion can create a sort of feeling, an atmosphere or tell a story. Often it can be hard to understand the source of inspiration for a collection as an outsider. With this object I think we managed to catch this feeling quite well.

Could you tell us a bit more about the object? Which aesthetic and conceptual choices did you make and how did this effect the outcome?

The craft of glassblowing is a very ancient one. These objects are created by the human breath, in this case, a very skilled artisan from Italy. So like in fashion we are talking about the human body here, something organic and always unique. Frisur clothing is an exclusive brand and the oil lamp is following this direction. It does not want to be ordinary or follow a current trend. It has a special shape that you won’t oversee, it’s maybe even a bit odd, but I like that way of designing things. Either you hate it or you love it. The fire of the oil lamp creates this warm atmosphere, this light that is so familiar to all of us. It’s honest, it’s calm, it’s familiar but with a strange twist.

Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

It’s everywhere, it’s in the unexpected.

What is your opinion on design in the world nowadays?

I think there is a strange disfunction between nature and us humans. Today we are highly active but we have a need to turn away from all the overwhelming input we get hit by every day. We are constantly distracted. We prefer the authentic and natural but yet we want the functionality and comfort that only synthetics and technology can provide us with. It’s a balance between opposites. In such a fast moving world I think design can help to slow us down. It can still be innovative but should somehow ground us, it should make us happy.

I want to give more value to things, reuse, refurbish or just keep as long as possible. I want to know the story behind a brand or an object. I want to know the person who made it and where it’s coming from. It’s this personal connection that is important to me because it makes us hold on to things. We need much less than we have. We need to learn to appreciate things longer and consider who is involved when we create. As designers we hold responsibility towards nature, but also towards the people who get touched in the process and who really end up using it.

With thanks to Sheck po Kwan for the analogue photography of Pascal in Venice.
www.pascalhien.com