Philipp Käfer

Berlin, Germany

Designer Philipp Käfer was born in Neuburg an der Donau, in Bavaria, Germany in 1982. Between 2002 and 2008, he studied integrated product design at Germany’s Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts (commonly called Hochschule Coburg), graduating with a diploma (Dipl-Designer FH). In 2008, he interned at Blue Sky Design Group in Sydney, Australia. While there, he worked on various industrial design projects, though the bulk of his attention was focused on conceiving affordable housing options for indigenous Australians in remote areas. In 2009, Käfer moved to Amsterdam, where he divided his time between roles at two highly respected designers’ studios: Gijs Bakker Design and Joris Laarman Studio. He began as a design intern for Bakker, ultimately being promoted to a freelance designer position. In his work for Laarman, he built prototypes and gallery pieces. Looking back, Käfer notes, “This was a very important period for me; it expanded my entire perception of design.”

In 2011, Käfer moved to Berlin. There he worked for Vorschub, an art and prototyping workshop that serves illustrious art world clientele, and as a freelance designer at Hella Jongerius’s studio. Two years later, in 2013, he established his eponymous design studio in Berlin. He focuses on experimental and material-driven furniture, lighting, and product designs, and works both on self-driven projects as well as freelance assignments for the likes of Bakker, Jongerius, and various production companies.

As of this writing, standout projects include the 2015 ReTree furniture series, composed of molded wooden chips; as well as the 2013 No Cardboard! Project, a minimalist furniture series that makes use of a lightweight aluminum technology more commonly associated with aircraft and maritime construction; the latter series combines the cleverness of corrugated cardboard with the durability and aesthetic of metal. Käfer’s 2012 Reading Lamp wittily comments on the concept of conservation. The lamp stands on a base with multiple electrical sockets, encouraging users to plug additional appliances directly into it. However, as more electricity is needed for the added appliances, the weaker the Reading Lamp’s light becomes. Finally, Käfer’s 2011 Merging Bodies silicone beaded necklace, which was made for Gijs Bakker’s conceptual jewelry project, Chp…?, is included in the Chi ha paura…? collection of the Stedelijk Museum 's-Hertogenbosch.