Katrin Sonnleitner is a product designer based in Karlsruhe, Germany. After graduating from Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design she received a fellowship at Designlabor Bremerhaven and worked on several design and exhibition projects for Alfred-Wegener-Institute for polar and marine research about mircro-organisms and bionics.She founded her own design studio in 2007 and works on a wide range of conceptual research, product and exhibition design and both interior design and public space for renowned clients such as Kahla Porzellan, Raumplus GmbH or Deutsche Bahn AG.Her works that often deal with the relationship between human and object and cross borders between art and design have been exhibited worldwide.Since 2008 she is also teaching in the department of product design at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design and runs design workshops.
Q : When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?A : Only during my first semesters at HfG, when I was studying product design and started to realize what the designer’s work really could be about.Q : How would you define your design style?A : Seriously playful? Everything has their story.Q : Where do you draw your ideas/inspiration from?A : Things attract my attention mainly aspect-wise. I “collect” these aspects, bits, pieces, thoughts, situations. In my mind they mix and stories start to build up about them and their surroundings.Q : Which of your projects do you consider a success / failure?A : The big Immöbel is a difficult piece. I designed it in the context of the many “multifunctional” or “mobile” pieces of furniture that actually aren’t moved again once they are put in a place and I wanted this piece to be a very mobile, changing, shifting piece.Success: The piece really got a very strong character and now finally travels alongside lots of great objects through the world with “new olds”.Failure: Try to use it…Chance: Together with kkaarrlls I built to similar but smaller units that really serve well as small storage spaces.Q : What is the first design work you can recall?A : A classic Steiff Teddy Bear. Not being perceived as a design work then, I guess…Q : To what extent do you believe that design should be functional?A : There are so many different kinds of functions; I think not everything has to be a tool. For some things it’s enough if they can just make us feel better / happier.Q : What have you learnt about design yourself?A : I learnt that everybody has to make up their mind on their own finding their proper definition of design.Q : Which materials interest/fascinate you most?A : “Authentic” materials that have not been processed too much. Material combinations that constrast each other.Q : What advice would you give a designer at the start of his career / What advice would you have liked to receive at the start of your career?A : Do what you want, what you like, what feels important to you to be done. Don’t listen too much to what the others say. Sometimes do, though.