Bernhard Osann graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and has been a freelance industrial designer since 2016. Based on his work, which includes minimalist lamps and shelving, he was selected as one of 5 finalists for the endowed prize “German Design Awards Newcomer 2020”.
We asked Bernhard Osann about his filigree-style BIRD lamp, which is self-balancing thanks to the precision with which it was built.
Mr Osann, your works, such as your BIRD lamp, combine a minimalist design with innovative elements. Could you tell us a little bit about the project?
The lamp can be positioned any way you like on the edge of a table, sideboard or something similar. If it is moved, it always goes back into a horizontal position after rocking for a bit. Two weights made of solid brass keep it balanced on one spot. So it does not need a base or mechanical fastening to keep it in place.
This innovation has facilitated this kind of minimalist design. I also use LED technology to reduce the design to just a few lines. The minimalist design draws attention to the innovative design elements, and clears the way for the lamp to do its job: to give out light, anywhere you want to put it.
Why are you interested in this approach to design?
I like exploring objects, so I play around with them, removing elements or cutting down on the materials used.
For example, if I remove the base, I still have to make sure the lamp works. With BIRD, this meant I had to find another way to attach the lamp or stand it up. If I succeed, I create something unexpected. I believe radical simplification to be a process at the end of which the essence of an object remains intact, and in the course of which new things can arise.
For me, pushing simplification to the extreme means minimising the materials required while finding beauty in simplicity.
In your opinion, what is the current relevance of your approach to design?
I counteract abundance and speed with a timeless design that is reduced to the essentials. When I combine this clarity with lightness and dynamism, it breaks down the rigidity of a geometric, graphic-style construction, allowing something more light-hearted to emerge.
For me, pushing simplification to the extreme means minimising the materials required while finding beauty in simplicity. Good design and sustainability are closely linked, because we only use things for a long time if they continue to please us.
Bernhard Osann was born in Augsburg on 10 January 1979. Before studying industrial design in Hamburg, he trained as a carpenter at the School of Wood and Design in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. He finished training as a journeyman in 2000. After several years of working as a freelance carpenter, Osann completed his studies in sculpture at the Wilhelm Wagenfeld School in Bremen in 2005.
In 2008 he moved to Hamburg to study at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg, where he graduated with a diploma in 2016. Bernhard Osan has been working as a freelance industrial designer since 2016. His most important works to date have been in the field of interior design, including his WATN BLECH wall shelf for Moormann, from 2013, and various lamps produced for Nemo Lighting, such as BIRD (2018), FRAME (2019) and UNTITLED (2010/2019).
Article picture: © Martin Diepold/Grand Visions