Google produces 22 billion results for the word "design". Obviously, design has become part of our daily vocabulary. What's more, the different meanings of the word are multiplying in an inflationary manner. Historically, the word design emerged in the beginning of the 19th century and designated the process of combining art and science in the mass production of everyday household products. The term industrial design has been created to differentiate this process from other connotations of the word, such as design in architecture. All the artists featured here are trained industrial designers. Whenever the occasion occurs they try to escape economic and/or technical constraints and let their creativity run away with them. The result is a number of limited or even very limited editions of characteristically designed commodities. They appeal to a growing number of art galleries and to professional or amateur collectors such as myself.
There is an ongoing dispute among experts if these objects fall in the category of pure art or industrial design. The aim is not give a final answer, but rather to assemble the opposing arguments. It is up to the reader to come to his/her own conclusion. All the works in this book were created as limited editions or even prototypes. Often enough, the designers would invest their own craftsmanship or technological ingenuity in the entire production process. By using innovative materials and by experimenting with form, matter and process the designers have created stunning works of art. Their unconventional and new ideas also pave the way for innovations in industrial mass production.
The collector Hans-Ulrich Maurer specializes in unusual design objects from the turn of the millennium to today. Creativity and formal design are just as important to him as the use of new technologies and traditional crafts. As an amateur collector he is free from any curatorial constraints and follows his own subjective tastes. It all started with a pair of chairs. Not ordinary chairs to sit on, but chairs that can be considered objects of art.