(adam štěch) Hannes Grebin found inspiration for his extraordinary Cozy furniture collection in a typical German living room from the 1970s. He ponders the meaning of the word “coziness” – i.e. luxury and comfort – by means of a chair, sofa, wall unit, and a lighting fixture.
Thus, completely ordinary furniture and accessories that probably everybody knows and considers to be almost trashy were turned into a contemporary hybrid memory of the recent socio-cultural past of Germany – a memory of the “cozy” living rooms of a socialist consumer generation. However, the designer created a brand new and surprising work of art within this visual and aesthetical rhetoric. His design makes use of traditional attributes such as floral patterns from fabrics and glass, copies of Persian rugs, and pseudo-historical furniture to create five new twisted objects of furniture.
“I did not want to create mere furniture. The collection is interdisciplinary as it offers new inputs for the discussion on design theory and new perspectives,” explains Grebin.
All objects are shaped into somewhat cubist forms that emphasize the applied clichés and their relation to contemporary forms. Even though the collection represents, rather, as its author clarifies, a reflection upon new contents of design and art, it is worthwhile for our exploration of the geographical exceptionality of design because it deals with an issue typical for a specific region and time. However, the East German consumer style can provide several links to our culture and recent past.
The Ohrenvessel upholstered wing chair and the four-meter long Spiesser sofa are probably the most striking parts of the collection. The sharp angular forms of these furniture pieces are covered with kitsch upholstery. This contrast arouses new views of traditional terms such as “luxury” or “kitsch.” The Perser oriental rug is also a “cubisizing” form of a Persian rug or its cheap imitations. The Schrankwand – a haphazardly assembled unit of cupboards from various specimens from this popular furniture type – strives to parody the classical low-quality wall units of pseudo-historical style. The last individual piece in the collection is the Deckenleuchte lighting fixture, which consists of irregular glass fragments that refer to the familiar aesthetics of the 1970s.
The collection updates the socialist perception of luxury and comfort. Its significance also sparks the debate on the contemporary perspective of this issue. Apart from other things, it congenially proves that globalization in design is not omnipotent. Thanks to similar projects, design with a clear position in its place of residence will always be created in the future.