Kerstin Pfleger

How would you describe your style of design ( in one sentence or 3 words ?)

flexible - (multi)functional - efficient

My personal ambition for my projects lies clearly in the detail solutions: it should work well technically, but also be aesthetically pleasing.

What initially lead you to design?

I don‘t remember exactly what the actual impulse for me was to occupy myself more with design and architecture, because that was actually quite a while ago. Already at the age of ten I started to search all my parents‘ real estate magazines for articles about design and looked at all the different types of floor plans, which I then took as inspiration to plan homes myself and furnish them in my imagination. When I first found out about the "Wohnen&Interieur" trade fair (furniture and design fair) in Vienna, I kept nagging my parents until we finally went to the fair for the first time. As we strolled through the huge exhibition halls and all the booths of famous design brands, my enthusiasm for design was awakened to the fullest. Also at this fair I learned that there are even higher technical colleges (kind of Austrian high schools?) for interior design in Austria. When I finished my compulsory schooling, I decided to go to the HTBLA in Hallstatt, which is exactly like that a higher technical college for interior design and furniture construction. In Hallstatt, my interest in design grew steadily, as I received very good theoretical and practical training in this field. I have extremely enjoyed both the workshop lessons and the drawing and design lessons in this 5 years at the higher technical college, and therefore it was still clear to me that this is exactly what I want to do in the future. So I applied to the University of Applied Arts for a degree in Industrial Design during my graduation year and since then I can continue to follow my ambition. As you can already read here (as this has become a very long answer, whoops haha) there is not one exact origin of my passion for design, but many things on my way that brought me to design. What design process do you find most enjoyable and/or helpful?

For me it is always important to „roll up“ a project from the very beginning and think about a consistent concept. However, there is often the danger here of getting stuck in this very search for a perfect concept and not even getting to the design. So it is actually a good combination of a convincing concept that can then be linked to an idea for an object. The most enjoyable part of the design process for me is the real design work: finding detailed solutions, thinking about the functions and then putting them into practice with models and prototypes.

Where did your inspiration and the idea for your product PRIVATE/SHARED come from? For me the initial question I wanted to deal with for this project was „How living and living conditions (especially in urban space) are changing nowadays?“ People are on the move more and more and are not in one place for their whole life. Due to this movement in our society more people move into the cities. The implication of this is therefore: living space is getting less, and it is getting more and more difficult to find apartments anyway. Additional burdens to this space problem are services like AirBnb, which was originally founded under the motto „finding private accommodation worldwide“, but to an increasing degree whole apartments are rented and offered 365 days a year on the platform. Even AirBnb itself states that by 2018, 27% of the accommodation offered are already professionally rented.

So I asked myself the question: What can be done, created or designed to counteract the problem of ever decreasing and smaller living space without playing into the cards of services like AirBnb and supporting commercial rentals and the resulting growing shortage of housing? The logical answer to this problem was that living space must be used as efficiently as possible, which in turn quickly lead me to the conclusion: MULTIPLE USE of our own living space. There are several possibilities to multi use your own space e.g. by day times, by activities, by sharing with other people or by seasons. The most exciting aspect for me was the „Sharing with other people“- aspect: „Private / Shared“. I personally think that the idea to share a space, which sort of came with our „moving societies“ is quite new. And then I asked myself how could such a multiple use look like? Out of these considerations the idea for „Private/Shared“ was born. So just to briefly introduce the concept of the object. PRIVATE / SHARED is a multifunctional piece of furniture, which helps people to share their apartments without endangering their privacy and most private spaces: their bed(rooms). An integrated scissors pull-out mechanism in three axial directions enables the extension from a compact unit to a resilient support surface for a mattress of mat.

Where to you draw inspiration from?

The greatest source of inspiration for me is the exchange with other people. I am inspired both by my fellow students, whose thinking parallels mine, and above all by conversations with people from completely different educational backgrounds and fields. From them I can learn a different view of things such as development processes and can therefore view my own projects from a different perspective. This input from other „bubbles“ and subject areas often opens up new paths that lead me and my projects further or in completely new directions. In your work you focus on the product being multi-functional, do you think multifunctional products have an important role to play in the future of design?

I am strongly convinced that multifunctional design will have an important role to play in the future of design! As already mentioned before, our living space in urban areas will become smaller and smaller in the future. Exactly for this reason it is even more important to use the space available to you as efficiently and as best as possible. It is also a question of how we use resources, what we want and should produce. From this aspect, too, I think it is important to think about how an object for which good materials and raw materials ( that are not infinitely available to us) is used. For this reason we should aim to get as much functionality and usability as possible in the design of an object. So I think it is not only important to design multifunctional aspects out of an obvious future lack of space, but also out of a general idea of how we want to deal with our environment and our planet.

Compressed, compact and folded products run throughout your body work. What interests you about this concept?

The solutions in detail that make these movements possible are what fascinate me. The work on, for example, a small fitting that changes the complete use of what at first glance appears to be a „standard“ table (like my project „Living Surface“) inspires me. I think (often complex) mechanisms that e.g. make it possible to make the use of space as efficient as possible, are a really interesting consequence.

What concepts and ideas do you want to explore in future projects?

Of course you can never predict what will happen in the future and how my motivations will change, but at the moment I‘m certainly not finished designing new solutions for the most flexible or multifunctional usage possible, because I just really love doing it right now. I‘m also always looking for projects that allow me to learn as much new things as possible. Such new knowledge often comes from friends and fellow students with whom I enjoy working on different projects at times and thinking in different directions.

What does the term art mean to you?

Uff that‘s a tough question. Art can be so many things and is in my opinion always a question of the observer. I personally like it when a piece of art has an ulterior motive, but at the same time it‘s also perfectly fine if it‘s „only“ beautiful and nice to look at. It is also about training the eye for art, perhaps also sometimes outside of museums (although I love to spend hours browsing through art museums in foreign cities haha).

What’s next?

Semester holidays, it has been a though semester working form home. Just kidding! Somehow there are many different projects I‘m w