Storms are events involving strong winds, with speeds of at least 21 meters per second. When we sneeze, the air travels twice as fast as in a hurricane. Despite this, the following project involves neither speed nor the destructive power of storms. On the contrary, wind energy is used to create something new. The fundamental idea behind Frankfurt-based Johannes Hemann’s project, called “The calm before the storm – the calm after the storm”, is to “transform what we see as chaos, as a waste of energy, into a positive experience.” As a young designer, he is exhibiting his work at The Design Annual from July 4 – 7, 2008 in the Festhalle in Frankfurt. He is not only interested in the finished product, but the entire process, “for this is a decisive factor in my design, knowing how a product is made.”
Johannes Hemann built a storm chamber, a closed box, in which he generates wind currents by feeding in compressed air. He hung certain shapes in this box, such as a cylinder and the behind of a mannequin. With the different, small, light materials, the wind force in the box created “images” of the storm. He avoided constant winds and observed above all the effect of chaotic currents. This is because a constant flow of air creates “only” streamline-shaped figures. Thus it is precisely those objects “which are unusual, which have asymmetrical shapes and therefore increase the tension.”
The artist combined the materials, consisting of small particles, either using adhesive or the effects of heat from a heat gun. Alongside free, experimental sculptures, he created above all useful objects such as the luminaire “Paula”, made of Plexiglas granulate, the chair “Geoffrey”, made of foam and the table “Fridtjof”, made of cork granulate. Altogether, they attest to the formal power of nature, each one is unique and cannot be reproduced. “The material has survived the storm, it has absorbed the wind energy, the energy has created a form, it is bound into the form as energy,” says Johannes Hemann in summary.