What a pleasure to have design maverick Sebastian Herkner, European Designer of the Year at this years Maison et Objet Paris show, as the guest speaker for DESIGN MINDS – the new Masterclass Series event concept from Ultimo Interiors.  Celebrating 20 years of Ultimo Interiors, Sebastian’s Masterclass for Architects and Interior Designers was a brilliant foray in to both the mind of a globally sought after designer and the mindfulness that is now a prerequisite for designing products and homewares in todays age.

Sebastian Herkner (born 1981) studied Product Design at HfG Offenbach University of Art and Design. During his studies he began to focus on designing objects and furniture, honing his keen sense for materials, colours and textures. For a short while he then worked for Stella McCartney in London. In 2006 Sebastian Herkner founded his own design studio. Since that time, he has designed furniture, lamps and smaller items for manufacturers such as Ames Living, &Tradition, Cappellini, ClassiCon, Dedon, Ex.t, Fontana Arte, Gubi, Linteloo, Moroso, Pulpo, Rosenthal, Schramm Werkstätten, Thonet, Wittmann and Zanotta.

Herkner also realizes interior architecture projects and museum and exhibition design. His works have won numerous accolades – among others the IF Award, the Iconic Award and the Elle Deco International Design Award (EDIDA). As Guest of Honour to IMM Cologne 2016, Sebastian Herkner provided the design for “Das Haus”. Maison&Objet has elected him 2019 “Designer of the Year” in January this year.

An unconditional love for traditional craftsmanship paired with a good feel for new technologies, a true flair for colour, authentic materials and textures, an unadulterated curiosity for different cultures, for embracing and integrating them, and a commitment to taking responsibility for the things and people one works with, not to mention consideration and respect for all of the details and steps necessary to create an extraordinary object…:

Since the success of the Bell Table for ClassiCon in 2012, Sebastian Herkner has never looked back, while remaining true to his word – and himself. Balance and intuition are important and enduring factors in his work, which he sees as a continuous dialogue that straddles disciplines. It takes him to the far corners of the world in search of almost forgotten crafts techniques, of manufacturers that have a tradition going back centuries, to the crafts.  He aims to find Sleeping Beauties that he can awaken from their slumber. In the process he creates not just chairs, sofas, lamps, tables, vases and carpets, but an entire cosmos that shines a new light on how objects can appeal to the senses, and where beauty is cultivated from within the process itself and his empathy towards the people making such objects.

“There is a sensitivity and identity to my work that emphasizes the function, the material and the detail. I transport and interpret characteristics from various contexts of society and culture and implement them in new artifacts. This character infuses the most everyday objects with respect and personality. In this manner, seemingly contrary things can experience esteem.“

During his internship at Stella McCartney in London he developed a particular liking for colour, material and their connection. Since graduating from Offenbach in 2007 he has worked in the Product Design Faculty and is in charge of projects in the realm of integrated design. Since establishing his own studio he has been involved in freelance projects for various companies and institutes. Alongside the design of exhibitions and trade fair presentations his second focus is on designing everyday objects. He is influenced in this by his observations of people and their actions. In this context it is important to look beyond personal disciplines in order to achieve a value-add for the user. Sebastian Herkner is not so much influenced by trends or current consumer criteria, because what interests him is a collage of simple techniques and traditional materials coupled with a simple mechanical principle and an unambiguous function.

His idea of sustainability consists of employing traditional manufacturing techniques and their unique characteristics. He then combines and interprets this by employing new technologies and finishing methods. In spring 2010 his occasional table, the Bell-Table, was presented in New York in the collection of Spanish manufacturer ABR, which also received the Red Dot Award in 2010.

ULTIMO INTERIORS currently have a Sebastian Herkner Studio Open to view his works. 4 Hutton St ,Osborne Park  Open Monday to Saturday 9-5pm

 Work Life

since 2007 Freelance projects
2007 – 2012 Teaching assistance at the Academy of Art and Design Offenbach am Main Germany, Department of Industrial Design
Diploma at the Academy of Art and Design Offenbach am Main Germany, Department of Industrial Design
2003 – 2004 Internship at Stella McCartney Ltd. London, UK
2001 – 2007 Academy of Art and Design Offenbach am Main Germany, Department of Industrial Design
1981 Born in Bad Mergentheim, Germany


Recent Awards

2019 Designer of the Year 2019 _ Maison&Objet _ Paris _ France
Iconic Award – Innovative Interior _ Best of Best _ Dune for Gloster
Prix Franco-Allemand des Secteurs culturels et créatifs 2019
Deutsch-Französischer Preis der Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft 2019
Coveted Award – Product Designer _ Winner
Stylepark Selected imm Cologne _ Winner _ Maraca for Ames
Stylepark Selected Salone _ Winner _ Bent table for Pulpo
2018 Designers´ Saturday Grand Prix _ Winner _ Helden Installation for ClassiCon
Stylepark Selected Salone _ Winner _ Dune for Gloster
Wallpaper* Design Award _ Best Ripping _ Cord 2.0 for Nya Nordiska
Stylepark Selected imm Cologne _ Winner _ 118 chair for Thonet
Stylepark Selected imm Cologne _ Winner _ Grace for Schönbuch
Iconic Award – Innovative Interior _ Best of Best _ Fold for Schramm Werkstätten
Iconic Award – Innovative Interior _ Winner _ Loon for Dedon
Iconic Award – Innovative Interior _ Selection _ Bay for Rosenthal
2017 Wallpaper* Design Award _ Best Piercings _ Lou for Nya Nordiska
2016 Guest of Honor 2016 _ imm Cologne
Iconic Award – Innovative Interior _ Best of Best _ Mbrace for Dedon
IF Award _ Meta, Mitis and Domo for Rosenthal
German Design Award _ Winner _ Meta, Mitis and Domo for Rosenthal
2015 Interior Innovation Award _ Winner _ Heim for Sitzfeldt
German Design Award _ Special Mention _ Heim for Sitzfeldt
Interior Innovation Award _ Winner _ Collana for Rosenthal
German Design Award _ Special Mention _ Collana for Rosenthal
Interior Innovation Award _ Selection 2015 _ Falda for Rosenthal
EDIDA Elle Deco International Design Award _ Best International Newcomer
Arredativo Design Magazine Selection _ Best of 2015

Recent lectures, talks & workshops

2019 DESIGN MINDS_Ultimo Interiors_Perth_Australia
Designer of the Year 2019 _ Maison&Objet _ Paris _ France
Dialogue _ Burg Giebichenstein _ Halle
+ Teo Jakob _ Art Geneva _ Geneva _ Switzerland
Wittmann _ Aarau _ Switzerland
2018 IDD Shanghai by imm Cologne _ Shanghai _ China
Dialogue _ Hauser Living _ Zürich _ Switzerland
Glas-Symposium Zwiesel _ Zwiesel _ Germany
Beijing Design Week _ Beijing _ China
IDS West _ Vancouver _ Canada
Budapest Design Week _ Moholy Nagy University _ Budapest _ Hungary
Dialogue _ Reiter _ Rankweil _ Austria
Dialogue _ HOME Depot _ Vienna _ Austria
Traveling designer, a plural approach _ Maison & Objet _ Paris
2017 Pure Talents Stage _ imm Cologne _ Cologne
Dialogue _ Haworth Showroom _ Bangalore, India
2016 Das Haus 2016 _ imm Cologne _ Cologne
Dialogue _ Istituto Marangoni _ Milan
Dialogue _ Wood.BE _ Brussels
Dialogue _ Arkitektura _ San Francisco
Visionary Design for all Senses with Yana Peel _ DLD _ New York
Dialogue _ Dedon Showroom HK _ HongKong
Dialogue _ Rihootim _ Tel Aviv
Mbrace for Dedon _ Aufschnaiter _ St. Johann Tirol
Moroso & Sebastian Herkner _ ITC _ Istanbul
Dialogue _ Zeichanakademie Hanau _ Hanau
2015 BMW Talk _ Langen Foundation
Azure Talk _ IDS Toronto, Canada
AmbienteDirect _ München
Design Shanghai _ Shanghai, China
Wallpaper* In Conversation _ Avenue Road, New York
ReFraming Danish Design _ DanishTM _ Copenhagen _ Denmark
Cologne Design Lounge _ DesignPost _ Cologne
Scholastika _ Prague _ Czech Republic

References / clients

AgapeLa Cividina

and tradition
Avenue Road
Kaufmann Keramik
La Cividina
La Chance
Nya Nordiska
Schramm Werkstätten
The Rug Company
Very Wood