We mentioned Veronika Wildgruber earlier this week and were lucky enough to get a full interview with her for this week’s Friday Feature. Her newest work, Soft Wood was exhibited during Berlin’s DMY International Design Festival and has received quite a bit of attention – deservingly!

An important part of upcycling and reusing old materials is the process of re-contextualizing. We love how Veronika does just that with her project. Soft Wood experiments with the separation of materials and their characteristics. Projects like this teach us about our preconceived perceptions and that things can be reinvented and given new characteristics or tactility, often with the use of old materials or techniques.

Please start by telling us a little about yourself and what you think sparked your passion for this type of art in the first place?
I’m 28 and was born near Munich. I studied product design in Bolzano, Italy after which I moved to Paris to begin an internship. I planned to be in Paris for 4 months but ended up staying close to 4 years. While there, I collaborated with different design studios and started to realize my own projects. I moved to London in January this year to pursue new challenges and projects.

These chairs were something I’ve wanted to produce for some time. I was inspired by the work of my sister Elisabeth, who is a professional wood sculptor and I wanted to combine our disciplines and individual skills.

Why do you think it’s important to not always rely on your perception?
Perception is relative to what we have seen and experienced so far. It is never objective and easily tricked in to seeing what we expect.

What are the key aspects of your life that motivate you?
I like to create products and objects that become integral parts of peoples’ lives. This is very challenging!

What comes first – the materials or the design idea?
For me it’s usually the design idea but sometimes it is a specific material that gives me the idea to create something or that makes me want to use it in a different way.

How do you choose your materials?
The material has to be part of the concept and at the same time fulfill its task. There are materials I like more than others for example; wood or porcelain, but it always needs to have a reason to be part of the design.

What part of the creative process excites you the most?
The moment you hold the first sample or model in your hands. It’s the moment your design becomes a tangible three-dimensional object, very exciting.

What types of traditional craft methods do you use and why?
I’ve always loved using a turning lathe; I wish I had one in my living room.

Why do you think it is important to create long-lasting relationships with objects?
The most obvious is the environmental aspect; sustainability and ecology should always be considered. But also because the objects that surround us should be integral parts of our lives and in the best-case scenario make our lives better.

How do you spend the free time you have?
I like to travel and I like to spend time with my friends.

What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years, in terms of your work?
I’d like to have my own studio and workshop, somewhere with lots of space and light and be able to work independently on interesting projects and collaborate with interesting companies.

You can find out more about Veronika and see other projects on her website: veronikawildgruber.com.