Always open to new ideas
Schönbuch is a brand whose aesthetic presentation always make you stop in your tracks: The combination of intensive colors and a clear design language is easy on the eye, you feel drawn to the dynamic items of furniture and the accessories. And it is not seldom that you find a new favorite you would like to add to your own interior design. Carolin Sangha ist the mastermind behind the brand presentation and has supported the company as Creative Director since its very first steps in 2005, when Michael Ress took over as CEO and began an extensive relaunch. From its corporate identity through to the selection of the designs Sangha has shaped Schönbuch as it advanced to emerge as an unmistakable and highly modern brand. Her special flair for color is not just a matter of chance: Sangha’s career began in fashion as an editor, stylist and art director – indeed, she is the founder of "FlipFlop" and "Casa Nata". Today, she still heads the latter, a sustainable fashion and jewelry brand. In addition, with her agency "casa 57" she conceives corporate designs, provides creative consulting and product designs with a focus on fashion and interior, and not just for Schönbuch. And as if that were not enough to fill her day, under the name "Apartment 8" she designs accessories and furniture for the Schönbuch collection. The streamlined wall-mounted coatrack "Line", the round wall hooks "Dots" or the elegant mirror series "View" are all her creations – and all of them are Schönbuch product portfolio bestsellers.
Fashion for furniture
The constant switch between the design disciplines is completely natural for Sangha, while having restrictions to creativity is anathema for her. She draws a lot of inspiration from the world of fashion, because in her words "interior design is basically clothing for furniture." Evidence of this can be found in every product by Schönbuch, whether it is in the colors or the materials used. "I can’t simply sever the strong bond to fashion that I have, it’s an integral part of all the creative steps," says Sangha. And apart from producing a wow effect color is a means of lending objects their own individual character, giving them a different impact each time. And that does not require decoration: "Clear shapes allow more scope for personality and are simpler to combine," says Carolin Sangha.
The challenge in design is to create products that are both eye-catching but simultaneously sufficiently pared down to enable them to be integrated into existing settings. This is why when selecting designers for creative collaborations Sangha and Michael Ress only choose designers who share the philosophy of Schönbuch and are capable of reflecting it in their designs. It is of no consequence whether they are already established in the sector or have just come straight from university. "I generally lead the first discussion and keep in constant touch with the designer until there is a result, then choose the coloring and create the visual communication," Sangha explains. It goes without saying that details are very important to her, because as with a high-quality garment the object needs to look good from all sides, nothing must be allowed to interrupt the flowing look and feel. "It takes time until a product is finalized for Schönbuch," says Sangha. And the function is always intuitively grasped. "I have no desire to produce elite items but rather things people can relate to and that work all over the world. Classic but with a twist. Something tangible rather than some wonderful object you can never afford," says Sangha.
This combination of pragmatism and an open, curious mindset is something she was born with: She spent a large part of her childhood in India, a land characterized by diversity and intensive sensual impressions. "During this period my eyes were trained and I learned not to shy away from new challenges," says Sangha. And adds: "It was clear to me early on that I would like to work in many areas simultaneously, without restrictions, without fears." Carolin Sangha collects and visualizes her numerous impressions in photographs and drawings. "When I enter a hotel room the first thing I do is to walk around with my camera and look for attractive details," she laughs. She regularly takes time out to sort through the many little puzzle pieces and reflect on what she has seen. "Being alone helps me process my impressions, it’s like open meditation," she says. As a result, she made productive use of the lockdown occasioned by the pandemic to develop new concepts and think back over the numerous journeys she has made in recent years. She is currently planning a new product for Schönbuch, is perfecting Edition 5 for Casa Nata and looking for locations for new image photos. All at the same time, of course. "It is a lot, but when the time for a new idea is ripe you should not let the opportunity slip by unused," says Carolin Sangha.