werner aisslinger: A&W designer of the year 2014
image © wolfgang burat




berlin-based werner aisslinger has been given the A&W designer of the year 2014. hosted by german magazine A&W (architektur & wohnen), an exhibition designed by aisslinger presents a cross-section of his work on show at the kölnischer kunstverein as part of the passagen program, during the IMM cologne 2014. ‘aisslinger is a ‘visionary rounder’. he designs visions – such as a kitchen that produces its own energy supply –, as well as innovative products and avant-garde furniture.’ elucidated A&W editor-in-chief barbara friedrich on the choice. the exhibition is divided into themes that present works of different fields and production areas, showing aisslinger’s wide-ranging interest: up-cycling & tuning, storytelling, farming, utopia, nature, materials, modules, etc. for the A&W mentor prize for up-and-coming designers aisslinger has nominated german-danish designer gesa hansen.


modular ‘bikini island’ sofa for moroso, italy
image © designboom



after ‘form follows function’ and ‘form follows emotion’, design has finally reached the narrative age. products need to incorporate poetry and stories to warrant its existence and practicality. the sofa, as the epicenter of a modern home, has been transformed into an island with various zones for all kinds of family activity. the brief for the design of the ‘bikini-island’ comes from society itself, as recent technological advancements have changes our behavior on sofas — families and children are reading, downloading files, writing emails, gaming, chatting with friends, watching movies on a pad, relaxing, talking, thinking, meditating all at once. this evolution of daily life needs a new design approach to the furniture typology. the basis of the modular design of ‘bikini-island’ into an in-house landscape stems from the belief in life as an overall collage.


textile cover of a sports car, using hallingdal 65 – kvadrat, denmark
image © designboom



up-cycling & tuning:
the textile cover is designed for a sports car from the 1970s. the car’s tactile and vibrant outfit is a colorful reminder of the possible uses of old cars, if they are freshened up aesthetically and given a new skin. upcycling & tuning are used as a tool for prolonging the life cycles of products. after all, the CO2 footprint of a newly manufactured car is hard to justify, despite its lower fuel and energy consumption.


exhibition view / front: ‘bikini island’ sofa for moroso
image © designboom 


‘kitchen farming’ project
image © designboom



the project ‘kitchen farming’ exhibits a new concept for the home, which become a domestic laboratory in which fish farming, the cultivation of vegetables and mushroom growing are part of a cyclical system. the kitchen of the future is less of a spaceship but rather a place for the production of food. trends like ‘urban farming’ and ‘integrated farming’ are not just ecotopias of an urban bohemia but are actually tested in paris or berlin, surpassing industrial agricultural efficiency standards fifteen-fold.


kitchen with integrated micro-farming
image © designboom


berlin based ‘topfarmers‘ implemented into the modular kitchen farming-installation created by flötotto‘s ADD the kitchen laboratory that is all about production: in the aquaponic cycle of the fish provide the manure for the plants, just like the mushrooms growing on coffee grounds.


modular kitchen farming installation by flötotto (right)
image © designboom


chair farm – ongoing experiment by studio aisslinger (2012-2014)
image © designboom


the ‘chair farm’ — one of aisslinger’s most forward-thinking ideas — is based on the search for different, advanced as well as realistic visions that break away from the conventions of current industrial manufacturing. what would it be like if we could grow and harvest our own furniture? how can you plant products in plantations? here in a hollow frame in the shape of a chair, plants have been allowed to grow. man designs the furniture, nature then takes over the implementation. fantasy? werner aisslinger already sees the next step – plants which without any additional assistance form to the shape of a piece of furniture because is has been engineered into their DNA.


growing chair / ‘planted product’ of the ‘chair farm’
image © designboom



this vision of a textile bathroom-biotope integrates plants into a natural water cycle that requires no additional resources. the inspiration for the material comes from the namib desert beetle. this beetle collects and stores the morning mists, is utilised as a wall covering in the shower absorbing the steam from the hot water and passing it on to the plants integrated into the installation. these microfarming plantations invented by berlin-based INfarm-group produce through a indoor hydroponic growing system an efficient food technology production with various soja plants.


textile bathroom-biotope
image © designboom


the bathroom is turned into a textile environment, countering the hard materials that dominate traditional bathrooms with a soft, nature-oriented vision. the textile washbasin is designed to change its volume when their exteriors are ‘rolled up’ – adjusting the amount of water to the respective usage.


bathroom-biotope with textile washbasins and bathroom interior by axor hansgrohe, germany
image © designboom



modules and material sections with furniture pieces and prototypes
image © designboom



about the A&W award
the editors of A&W architektur & wohnen, german’s magazine for architecture, design, living and gardening, has annually been presenting the A&W designer of the year award since 1997, with achille castiglioni as the first prize winner. the award is given to designers, who through their life and work have decisively shaped the style of the the times, specifically in the realm of design. the award ceremony takes place on the eve of the cologne furniture fair imm cologne during the festive opening of an exhibition personally staged by the award-winner providing an overview of his work. the exhibition is then part of the passagen interior design week program during the fair and is open to public. next to the even and exhibition, the prize also includes a multi-page special feature about the designer in the january issue of A&W architektur & wohnen. in addition, the A&W designer of the year himself awards a young, talented designer. this award is named A&W mentor prize.