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In principle, time itself is infinite. But the ability to have it at your disposal, to experience time, to create it, is not. I’m not different there from other people. Life always means life in time. And in our culture, measuring time, i.e. checking the clock constantly plays a dominant role. But you need to now when the time is ripe for something. And then time becomes space you’re able to fill. So concerning this, I have time now.
I was referring to the space that opens wide. And I mean the freedom you have, when you’re putting the responsibility for a big agency and its employees on somebody else. After such a decision you automatically do a necessary selection of things that are important to you. That leads to a considerably more focused way of living – and ideally to a new art of living. To me, that’s “new life” – for example working with John Neumeier, Kent Nagano and many other artists, for the Ernst Deutsch Theater in Hamburg or for Arzberg: it’s all so fascinating.
I’m deeply convinced that everything is connected, so nothing exists apart from each other. I think we can learn a lot from the philosophies of the Far East when it comes to the eternal circle, the emptiness and the essence of things – and first and foremost to letting go.
Living in our industrial societies, we lost our connection to nature and everything that’s natural. But we need to understand that we’re a part of it. Yearning for nature is something elementary. “Greenstyle” stands for the symbiosis between nature and design. To me this point of view isn’t new. But however you’ll call it, it’s the dawning of a new aesthetic era.
I’m neither a trend scout nor a marketing strategist. Neither do I like the word trend too much. I always kept a naïve joy for the elementary. I’m looking for the essence in design, for the core of things. That’s completely independent from actual trend. I think the trend will be, that all disposable products will be out soon, that hopefully the philosophy of being scroogy comes to an end in Germany, and that more and more people will return to value products that have a constant value.
No, design needs to be functional and should touch the people using it. I think we can assume that also the term “trend” will change. “Trend” will have other connotations than today – for example sustainable, significant or ethic. In this respect there are constant values even in design – and of course trendy shapes and colors.
Peter Schmidt – a portrait
Meeting Jil Sander, who back then in the Sixties was an unknown Hamburg fashion designer, marked the beginning of his designer career. 1972 he founded the Peter Schmidt Studios. The international breakthrough came in the early Eighties when Peter Schmidt created a logo and flacon for Jil Sander that is exhibited now in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
But Peter Schmidt didn’t limit to flacons even though his name indelibly is linked to them. Amongst others, he was in charge of the packaging and corporate design of many lifestyle and luxury brands like Strenesse, JOOP!, Hugo Boss or Davidoff and created the new designs of companies like the faucets’ manufacturer Grohe, Villeroy & Boch, Linde or Bertelsmann.
To express the essence of things, to get to the core of the matter, that’s what Peter Schmidt is striving to – in work and life likewise. He is fascinated and influenced by the philosophies of the Far East, by their values and masters like Laotse. He feels especially close to Japan. That’s one reason he created a completely new design for the Japanese company Juchheim, including a new praline shape, specially made for the Asian.
1994 Peter Schmidt created his first stage design for “Zwischenräume” (spaces), John Neumeier’s ballet adaptation of Gustav Mahler’s 9th symphony. After a few nationwide projects for theater and opera Peter Schmidt joined forces again with John Neumeier in December 2003 and created the stage design and the costumes for Neumeier’s ballet “Death in Venice” at the Hamburg State Opera, whose interior design he created as well.
2006: A “new life” – time becomes space
Leaving his “Peter Schmidt Group” 1999 and gradually selling his shares to the advertising holding BBDO until last year, Peter Schmidt started what he calls his “new life” – step by step. Time becomes space. And freedom for him applies to be devoted to his affections, talents and passions.
2003 Peter Schmidt, fancier of beautiful china, saves one of Germany’s most renowned china manufacturers from bankruptcy. He buys 50 percent of “Arzberg-Porzellan GmbH” shares to prove that “you are able to produce even in Germany”. Only three years later, Schmidt is presenting the line “2006” – a new and modern Arzberg china getting many awards.
His curiosity and creativity will always guide him to new projects and people. “Work is something fantastic. How else would I have been able to meet so many people?” Kent Nagano, the US star conductor, is one of them. With him Peter Schmidt is producing the film “Japanese folksongs”, where Japanese poetry is illustrated with music. And the next project is already waiting: Between 2008 and 2010 they will create Wagner’s “Ring des Nibelungen” in Montréal.