News December 2019

The object has to serve the person. The human factor and its interactions are the foundation. I don’t like ostentatious objects and superfluous details.


When we asked Michael Geldmacher for the three adjectives he would define himself with, he replied that it should be up to others to answer. So here are our answers: talented, intriguing, genuine. The German designer, creator of icons such as “Random shelf” and “Elephant”, in 2018 came up with Layer.

How was Layer born?

I wanted to create a chair with its own internal logic, in which aesthetics logically followed the structural element and vice versa. The original idea was the plywood backrest, which is joined to the armrests, everything else came by itself, as a logical consequence. I wanted a seat that seemed to have always existed, despite being new.

When I started working on a wooden chair project, my friend Paolo Lucidi suggested I contact Billiani. Luigi immediately showed himself enthusiastic about my idea, but as the project took shape, changes and changes of direction started to crop up. With Luigi we confronted constructive improvements, solved small problems, and brought to the prototype all the modifications necessary to achieve the desired result.

Tell us about the collection expansion. Would you like to see it more numerous?

The variations that Layer’s first design underwent opened the way to the possibility of expanding the collection, which otherwise would have been impractical. The stool design process, in particular, was surprisingly spontaneous. This is exactly what I mean when I talk about the product’s internal logic: the stool developed from the initial concept of Layer almost independently, I consider myself only an instrument.

I would like to continue to expand the Layer family, perhaps with the addition of a sofa or a completely unupholstered wooden version … obviously commercial and strategic considerations will come into play.

Is there a philosophy behind your design? Are there any guidelines that you tend to follow when you design?

What distinguishes my work is perhaps the absence of any common thread. Each project has its particularities, each customer is different. The common factor is in my approach: I start looking for the soul of the project, which helps me to develop a concept. From there, the form develops.

How would you describe your style?

My style is invisible to the eye, but it is most certainly there, and it is inherent in all the projects I have designed. My products show decided minimalism, we see that they do not suffer under the weight of superfluous decoration and ornaments. It is in my nature to propose the essential, without adding anything. I remember a client once saying “Michael would remove the legs from a table if he could!”. Never was a truer word said.”

What is good design for you?

Good design takes the form of something useful, modest and silent. Good design does not emerge at first sight, but in everyday use. Good design is an honest object that does not pretend.