In conversation - Hauke Odendahl

 Hauke Odendahl
Age: 31
Origin: born in Hamburg, Germany / based in Berlin, Germany
Occupation: Designer / Student

Brand Instagram: @union_chair_project / @hauke_o

Who are you?

I am a Berlin based designer currently busy with the Union Chair and my masters degree at the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) in the field of „Communication in Social and Economic Contexts“. Before finishing my BA in industrial design at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle, Germany, I did an apprenticeship as a carpenter. So to sum it up, my career so far is a journey from craft to theory. My goal is it to find ways to connect those fields with each other – to integrate the theoretical discourse with my creative practice.

How did you get to start doing what you do?

At the beginning of my education I was pretty much focussed on product design and interior as the core element of design as a discipline. During my bachelor studies I soon had to notice, that design is much, much more than that. So I dived into conceptual ideas, experiments and theory and I started to question the role of design in our modern world.

Have you always been interested in designing and creating?

I would say yes. Since I was a young boy, building and doing things with my own hands was a pretty crucial part of my free time. The aspect of „designing“ and the profession of the designer came to my attention a bit later but finally made me decide, that I want to go into this direction myself.

What was your thoughts on your creations?

»What can design contribute to a political or societal discussion?« This question was one of the starting points of my project. I wanted to find out how far product design can go – not exclusively looking at the effects of production conditions and resources-supply, but as a physical object.

I think that design obtains a great chance to support discussions on issues that effect us all, because it is able to open up new perspectives through its physical presence. Design can uncover connections in a direct and literal way.

Is there a deeper meaning behind your work?

Well, I hope so! My aim is it, that the Union Chair represents such an object that opens up discussions about the society we are living in. Because progress can only happen through personal engagement. In the end every designed object has a deeper meaning, wether or not the designer sees it our not. Design is always saying something about its creator and its user.

What is creativity to you?

Creativity to me is the ability to find alternative pathways and solutions for daily challenges and to add new perspectives to topics that matter. Everyone can be creative – it is not exclusively the artists who are.

Form or function?

Let’s say concept.

Where do you go to get inspired?

I think our daily life has the best potential to inspire us. To walk through our world with active senses – as pathetic as it may sound

Who inspires you the most?

I love to study the work of Charlotte Perriand and Marcel Breuer who both understood very well how to reflect the times they are living in and how to react to it with creative tools.


What's your dream project?

I would love to design and curate exhibitions one day. Exhibitions which appreciate the potential of the discipline but also ask critical questions about the interconnections between design and society.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Try to argue less with yourself and your teachers.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Even the best concept or theory needs good design to be understood.

Explore Hauke's Union Chair here.