ARCH+ features 9: Clemens Weisshaar & Reed Kram
Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram pursue a technologically progressive and highly architecturally oriented design practice. The designer duo talked to the ARCH+ editorial team on the occasion of the Cologne imm in the Meiré und Meiré factory.
Editor in Chief of ARCH+ Nikolaus Kuhnert describes the work of Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram as "design on demand": The sphere of action and the limitations of the project are defined solely by the task in hand. The very first project undertaken jointly by trained locksmith and designer Weisshaar and IT specialist Kram was defined by its interdisciplinary approach: The Prada Epicentre in New York, one of the world's first flagship stores, which entailed a "steep learning curve about how the future works" for the two partners.

Picture: Clemens Weisshaar, Reed Kram, Anh-Linh Ngo, ARCH+ (unless otherwise stated, all pictures courtesy of: David von Becker)
One of the ways Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram address this issue is using "physics simulation" from the world of computer gaming technology. Using this technology, designs are created which already "work like the real world" on the computer screen, explains Weisshaar. In this way they can calculate where forces act on virtual items of furniture, and whether they will be capable of withstanding the demands of the real world (picture left). One product of this process is the "breeding tables" series, which the duo see as "defining the genome of the table", allowing different forms to evolve or breed virtually - resulting in a lot of rejects but ultimately producing some totally new and exciting results.

Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram are all about full-on contact with the material, as they put it. In many instances, companies with the capability of realizing their envisaged designs do not even exist. "You must know how to take things out of the computer again", says Kram, which calls for flexibility - and a lot of courage: "We are taking unexploited potential from technology". And he means that quite literally: "It is exciting to watch what a laser or a punch cutter is actually capable of. It is only when you move out of your comfort zone that things begin to get interesting", says Weisshaar, and he is not just talking about designers: Even if the actual physical threshold is on the retreat, virtual thresholds will always exist which have to be overcome."

Picture: Gabriele Siedle talking to Clemens Weisshaar
Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram gained a great deal of public acclaim arising from their project for the London Design Festival 2010. They installed eight industrial robots in Trafalgar Square which could be fed messages by the general public over the Internet. The robots wrote the messages in the sky by laser, where they were filmed and returned in the form of video files to the senders.

Photo: David Levene
Photo: Frank Stolle
© 2020 S. Siedle & Söhne OHG