Moritz Waldemeyer is an internationally renowned designer based in London. His work occupies a diverse range of creative spaces, from art and product design through to fashion and entertainment. Following his early collaborative work for the likes of Hussein Chalayan and Zaha Hadid, Moritz soon established himself as an independent designer. He held his first two exhibitions in 2006 and 2007 and he participated in MoMA’s Design & the Elastic Mind exhibition in 2008. In 2013 his lighting product ‘My New Flame’, developed for Ingo Maurer, was unveiled as part of MoMA’s permanent collection. Studio Moritz Waldemeyer, founded in 2004, was built on a philosophy of playful experimentation by forging links between technology, art, fashion and design. This approach has resulted in a number of bespoke installations for Audi, Bombay Sapphire and Microsoft, as well as light-studded costumes for the likes of U2, Rihanna, and the London Olympics Handover Ceremony performers. Moritz acts as head designer in everything the studio undertakes, crafting his signature aesthetic into each piece. Recently, Modelo had the opportunity to learn more about Moritz’s unique approach and design philosophy.
On becoming a designer
I got into a few unusual corners. After school I actually did banking and then I thought it wasn’t that interesting, so I went into business. It was a wider scope. Then I started studying business and I did an internship in the US in Charleston, South Carolina in a manufacturing place. Then I thought business is cool but if I did engineering, my scope would open even more. I came back to London and I studied engineering. After that, I worked for Philips in research and development- it was science- but I got into half design. That’s where the design thing kicked in. After working at Philips I started working on my own and I started doing design- still using all the other things somehow that I picked up along the line. It gravitated towards design in the end.
On discovering his voice as a designer
It started out at university, we had a course that was microcontrollers- programming embedded systems. I really liked that- it’s a geeky side of me. I think I was the only one in the class. At Philips, I started using some different microcontrollers together with LEDs and it was kind of like the beginning of the development of LED becoming an actual means of lighting. We’re talking more than ten years ago. The combination of the two for me was this incredible creative medium. That’s a line that goes through all of the work- using embedded systems and lighting to create artistic work. That’s what defines the work that I do a little bit.
On starting his own firm
Initially, it was a logical conclusion. I was at Philips and that was during the dot-com bubble. All of the sudden all of the cool activity was frozen and I was looking for other things to do. I came across Swarovski at the time- who were very strong in sponsoring design-related projects to promote their business. I stumbled upon that activity and then I started participating. It was like a match made in heaven. They would do all of the crystal things and I would come in with the technology and lighting. It worked out well. To go freelance was the logical thing to do and participating a lot in those projects. As my network grew, I expanded out.
On principles he strives to adhere to
The thing that’s really enjoyable about this type of work is the variety because you never get bored. But also, you can bring inspiration from one area into the other. We’re trying to channel it a little bit now and be more structured about the approach. There are a couple of areas that I’m interested in. One is to work with brands and do interesting communication for brands- anything that’s out of the norm. Another area we’re looking into now is the gallery market to create objects within the gallery space. We always do some work in fashion and wearables so it’s a sideline to the studio.
On projects that represent his unique approach
The projects that happened within the music industry were very interesting because we got to work with some of the top people in the music world. At the same time, we did something for the laRinascente in Milan, which is a big department store. They gave us the entire front to play with for the Christmas period and that felt like a bit of a milestone because of the sheer scale of it. Also because they had never given the entire front to a single artist before. To be the first one to be allowed to work on that scale for them in that location which is right next to the Duomo. It’s super central and doesn’t really get any better than that. It felt like there was some appreciation coming back for the hard work that we’ve done so far. It’s 60 meters- so the entire front of the building with 8 big windows and the whole area in front of the windows as well. We did this thing within the window spaces and then it breaks out. Talking about 3D design, that was quite a challenge and worked a lot of parametric design in there. Especially when we started to get into that, which is something I’m really interested in. We use it on every project now. For installations, we try to outsource as much as we can on the actual physical building site. We try to keep things relatively small here because we’re in London in a cool area. It’s expensive. We have a core team here that’s small and then we take it out to manufacturers, especially in Italy. There’s a strong link between us and Italy. Currently we’re working on something that’s really exciting: there’s a new glass museum going up in Prague. That initiative is being headed Lasvit, which is a big glass company that works with handmade glass but on a large scale. They’re running that initiative there and invited us to do a permanent installation in the museum. It’s in the absolute prime position in Prague- it will be one of the three things to see on your trip to Prague. It’s a very ambitious project.
On aspirations for the firm
We want to grow quite a bit, which is something that we haven’t actually concentrated on in the past. So far it’s been a roller coaster ride with so many different things coming in and now we’re trying to be a lot more focused on who we are, where we want to go and what kind of clients we want to work for. It’s the entrepreneurial side- that’s the next challenge.
On the future of design in the next 5–10 years
Parametric design for me is the new thing. I can see that people are slow to adopt it because there’s a bit of a learning curve involved. For me, it allows completely new things to be built and shaped and formed. It’s like an ocean of knowledge out there that needs to be acquired and needs to be mastered. I’m very excited about that.
On advice he would give to his younger self
I’d probably try to arrive at the point where I knew what I wanted to do earlier because I got quite a late start. I only started doing this when I was 30 so I don’t know if you can say I’ve wasted about 10 years of my life. It’s quite hard to understand where you fit in. The finding myself period was a way to condense it a little bit, but I’m not complaining I’m quite happy where I am and how it turned out.