“We strive to break away from Conventions”
The valet stand JAMES is a prime example of the latest furniture design combined with outstanding quality and unique character. The design of this special wardrobe, which replaces the "chair", was developed by the renowned design studio BUDDE from Cologne, Germany. The work of Johannes Budde and Meike Papenfuß, who founded the studio in 2019, is characterized by a consistently innovative approach. The valet stand JAMES also represents the design philosophy of the creative duo. In an interview, the duo revealed exactly what this philosophy is based on and what role JAMES plays in it.
Photo: Benni Janzen
How did the collaboration with Metallbude come about?
Meike: "As a young design studio, we are always interested in working with exciting, up-and-coming furniture brands. Shared values and a similar business philosophy play a central role in our choice of partners. After an initial exchange, it quickly became clear that this was a match made in heaven! We bring different strengths and expertise to the partnership. While our focus at BUDDE is on design, we value Metallbude's expertise in sourcing, manufacturing and logistics. We quickly had a common vision - for the product, the presentation and the storytelling.
Johannes, how would you describe your own design philosophy?
Johannes: "Clear and calm. Subtle, but anything but conventional. - This is how the trade press describes our designs. BUDDE's design philosophy is based on the fact that a design is always characterized by a single basic idea. Our signature is consistent in the sense that we avoid anything superficial. We always design furniture in an integrative and holistic way, with an eye on the future use or where the design should take place. We strive to break away from conventions and question how a piece of furniture will actually be used and lived in the long term. In addition, our designs are characterized by a certain degree of interaction. They should be tactile and functional for the user and, in the best case, not only fulfill a practical function, but also surprise and inspire.
How or where do you find the ideas and inspiration for your designs?
Johannes: "Inspiration and ideas can be found everywhere - on journeys, in nature, in conversations, in music, but also in everyday life. For me personally, silence is also very important. The best ideas often come to me just before I fall asleep. When I'm working on a new design, I try to incorporate short naps, which feels wrong at first because you want to be productive. But I think that this letting go is important in order to really be able to perceive and reflect on your own thoughts. In everyday life there is often a kind of mental "noise", where everyday problems are often louder than a subconsciously sleeping design idea.
How did JAMES design come about?
Meike: "JAMES was born out of the observation that almost everyone has that one chair in the corner of their bedroom or dressing room on which worn clothes are piled up. Actually, nobody ever sits on this chair. Not only is it not an eye-catcher, it is also impractical, and we wanted to change that. We asked ourselves what an object should look like that was meant to be used and at the same time be a modern eye-catcher in the interior design. We optimized the shape and reduced it to its essentials, reinterpreting the classic valet. With a humorous association to the "wardrobe chair in the corner", JAMES is an exciting one-line sculpture and a practical piece of furniture at the same time".
Speaking of which: Is JAMES still a piece of furniture or is it already a work of art?
Johannes: "You could say that modern furniture design is art with functionality. While classical art often creates a distance from the viewer, for example because it is behind glass and cannot be touched, our design is meant to be actively used in everyday life. Good design is accessible, useful and invites interaction. That's why we would say: JAMES is both a piece of furniture and a work of art."