Franco-American Elisabeth Hertzfeld worked in Berlin after her studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) but moved back to the French capital for good several years later. Confident in her own adaptability and with a passion for self reinvention, this designer conceives furniture and other objects in her own image as invitations to travel and renewal.
Having graduated from ENSAD in scenography, Hertzfeld worked with directors as prestigious as Bob Wilson, Klaus Michael Grüber and even Martin Wuttke before dedicating herself to museography and then to design. That’s undoubtedly why, today, she always conceives of her furniture in relation to space.
« I like pared-down interiors that allow for fluidity and freedom of movement
So when one comes across a piece of furniture, it has to absolutely grab one’s interest.’ Repelled by gratuitousness in design – that is, by purely decorative objects Hertzfeld creates narrative pieces that don’t ‘talk for the sake of talking’! It was a contemporary art project, the aim of which was to critique the absurdity of certain habits of modern-day society through installations and expressive furniture, that made her switch from museography to design in the early 2000s. If her aim is no longer to critique but to suggest solutions, Elizabeth Hertzfeld continues to observe and study the way of life of her peers to inspire her creations and endow them with meaning."What’s wonderful in furniture design is creating situations or even describing behaviour", she enthuses.
In 2003, the creation of her own firm, Remake Design, marked – as the name implies a desire by Hertzfeld to reinvent the everyday. Accordingly, this small company specialised in the conception, manufacture and sale of luminous blocks of a new type – ones that allow us to perceive of lighting as a completely separate architectural element. The Remake Light parallelepipeds – which stack and interlock to become simple columns, shelves or even luminous partitions – offer a surprising variety of uses due to their modular design, which recurs frequently in Hertzfeld’s work.
On the strength of her entrepreneurial experience, which ended in 2012, Elisabeth Hertzfeld went on to collaborate with classic design houses such as Harto, Kann Design and even Serax, bringing to the mix her ability to integrate solutions she’d encountered when running her own firm, from the very earliest stages of a project.‘I know what it is to have to justify a product’, she explains. Versatility and modularity: this is a designer who likes to conceive objects that will be as useful as humanly possible. Hence her tendency to play with ideas of multiplication. ‘I may fight it, but I have a weakness for transformation!’ she smiles. A jewellery case/mirror for Y’a Pas le Feu au Lac, a stool/magazine-holder or even a storage tray/mirror for Harto: Elisabeth Hertzfeld’s objects and furniture expand the possibilities of modern life.
« There’s always a certain dynamism in my designs.’Not yet in production, the burette a small kids’ work-table halfway between a cart and a desk – was specially conceived to accompany young children in their creative activities.‘The idea is to allow the child to follow the light or its parents into all the rooms of the house, and to move around while still having all their tools within easy reach.’ Freedom of movement within interiors is not restricted to kids the carry-around mirror created for designerbox was conceived with the same concern for portability. If with its elegant shape and lustre it resembles an XXL ring, this jewel of the table with its practical handle is first and foremost a nomadic object designed to move between the bathroom and the living room.
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