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August 6, 2012

Hans and Franz were a pair of characters in a Saturday Night Live sketch who yodeled with fake Austrian accents while wearing Schwarzenegger-send-up body padding. German Gen Y’ers Horst Wittmann and Konstantin Landuris took this moniker as their namesake when they launched their Munich-based design studio in 2006, while still students at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts (they graduated in 2009 and 2010). With a fresh eye to tomorrow’s design challenges, and their signature upbeat humor, they took two thoughtful lamp prototypes to Milan the following year and were hailed as "Futurism from Munich." A succession of interesting design pieces and unusual cross-pollinating collaborations have ensued for the duo, who credit the magic of their Bavarian childhoods—Landuris wanted to be an astronaut, and Wittmann was a graffiti artist—as their inspiration. “I still have the same fun and challenges today in design as I had as a graffiti artist but now I’m addicted to the complexity of three-dimensional objects…and it’s all legal,” says Wittmann. Yes, there is a boyish charm to the cleverness of the work—and several winks to outer space.

Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz
After meeting in Milan in 2007, Jerry Helling, CEO of Berhardt Design, asked HANSANDFRANZ to give him some thoughts on a new piece for the company. After analyzing the Bernhardt portfolio, they decided to create a bench and a stool in a timeless shape: a light frame of two intersecting loops made of polished stainless steel with a thin cushion of alluring color. “Our thought was that they should be minimalist multifunctional seating elements for private and also public rooms, which do a little more than the usual,” says Landuris. “Cycle’s open character wants to encourage people to communicate, for example, and its generous face invites people to take a seat. Berhardt liked the idea and the collaboration began."
Courtesy of 
© Lisa Adams Photography
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Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz
This E.T. phone home-like lamp received a Special Mention from the Milan jury the first and only year HANSANDFRANZ went to Milan (2007). Italian manufacturer Kundalini took it on. “We had to make only little changes to our prototype so as to fulfill some electrical and mechanical requirements. The original name was Troja because it reminded us of the tail of the Trojan Horse but in Italian this is a very bad word, so we had to also change the name,” recalls Wittmann of their first self-generated prototype to go into manufacturing. Based on the technology of LEDs, this lamp is constructed in two bows (one aluminum, one LED) that slide against one another, giving it the ability to extend and react to the user’s individual needs. At times a reading lamp and at others a sentient creature that evokes a whole room-aura with its shape and otherworldly LED luminosity – this is a nod to tomorrow’s world.
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Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz
HANSANDFRANZ’s current inspiration with business is collaboration with unexpected clients. Lefty is a prototype lightweight chair proposed for a cycling company that didn’t go through but the concept was cool. The proposition is a basic stacking seat for indoor and outdoor use made of powder-coated aluminum profiles cut in varying lengths and angles, and welded together to form a minimalist but stable construction. With its visible welding seams, it refers to the industrial provenance of motorcycles and bikes. The polyurethane backrest and seating function as add-ons and are fixed in place to mimic a motorbike saddle. “During the development of our self-initiated Lefty project, we tried to question conventions and avoid reverting to already existing archetypes in order to experiment and explore with new ways of sitting,” say the duo. This ignited their zeal for imaginative co-creative opportunities: “Eventually, we would love to be working on the Apple chair, or the Facebook lamp.”
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Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz
This a concrete landscaping system with elements of inspiration from Hadid’s Wave (the idea of an ongoing sidewalk that becomes public space seating) born of another unusual collaboration with concrete manufacturing company Godelmann, normally in the business of manufacturing sidewalks. The system is designed to be multi-functional and user-specific. 3D concrete surfaces can combine in modules to become lounge areas, tree-beds, sandboxes or ponds, and for public spaces, have elements that provide for umbrellas, trashcans, signage and lightpoles. “Our basic premise is: let’s look into the future, guess what is there and strive for this in our products,” says Landuris. “We are constantly trying to imagine the needs of the future by thinking about what materials and technologies will be available then, how to work with these, and how these will change the demands of and reasons for how and why things are made. How will we live in 100 years or 1000 years? Will we even need furniture? Will we need kitchens? Because we think these things and work them into our designs, our work is sustainable in the sense that while some of it may not appear so useful for now, it will reveal its uses in the future. We hope people understand this and fall in love with the thoughts behind our work”. The next unusual collaboration is with Pure Cast iron melting company – on a cast, re-imagined stainless steel chess set.
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Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz
Is a high-powered LED light object manufactured by Macrolux that can expand between floor and ceiling, and using the wall as a reflector, and the transformable shade’s dexterity; create a ‘light-atmosphere’. The concept is a lamp that is integrated into its architectural surrounding, which makes a minimum use of space and a maximum emotional impact. “We are a generation that is not pioneering in design but pioneering in ideas,” reflects Wittmann. “It’s easy to say we’d like to design for unknown galaxies or imagine how to build furniture for people living on Mars – it is much more challenging to design products for Earthlings that they connect with and find useful, while also being provocative. We do what we can with this by using interesting materials, and unusual shapes, and different thinking.”
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Polar bear box by HANSUNDFRANZ
This collapsible bar, launched in the winter of 2010/2011, is an annual happening spanning December to February. The bar is lifted into place on the rooftop of the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, in the heart of Munich, every November. The construction is based on the idea of a mobile, modular polar station featuring the essential expedition boxes. These are arranged on the 120 sqm area and serve as compliments to the bar elements: barstools, tables, lights and heating poles, as well as serve as display cases for winter wear, cool drinks and giant bottles of Moët & Chandon. The expedition boxes further serve as carriers for the entirety of the bar and its equipment, so the party can be packed up as quickly as an astronaut blasting off from an Arctic getaway. In close collaboration with Italian fashion brand Stone Island, HANSANDFRANZ also designed the blankets and lounge cushions for the Polar Bar.
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Modern design by Munich, Germany's hansandfranz

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