Pictures by Christian Holweck
Pictures by Christian Holweck

Nils Ferber was born in Hannover, Germany. He studied product design at the HFBK Hamburg and the Design Academy Eindhoven. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013 he started to work for Kram/Weisshaar and recently earned his master’s degree at the Ecole cantonale d’art Lausanne.

His works include a variety of projects, ranging from conceptual kitchen appliances to architectural-scale installations. He shows a strong interest in science, technology and the way we interact with our immediate environment. Rather than thinking in established product categories he tries to approach a new project with an open mind and seeks for the unexpected.

Nils Ferber is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland and is nominated for the Swiss Design Awards with his micro wind turbine. In our interview he quotes his former teacher on the issue of interdisciplinary design.

Is design always interdisciplinary?

It was on the first day of our master studies when a teacher told us: “The world is not about design, but design is about the world”. As designers, we are likely to forget about this, but I think this distinction is extremely important. Meaningful design must look beyond the borders of its own discipline and draw inspiration from the things that are happening around it.

Is good design invisible?

No, not always. When it comes to interaction between users and objects or affordances of an interface, good design may be invisible. But conceptually, good design can also be disruptive and unconventional.

Must design create something new?

It is a very innovation-driven approach to design, but facing the overwhelming amount of products that are already on the market I always wonder: “Is there an actual reason for a new product to exist within this market?”. Personally, I think that this question becomes very difficult to answer if a design proposal does not improve upon the existing or offers new possibilities to the user.