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Neues Design: Germany's Stijlmarkt

Neues Design: Germany's Stijlmarkt

My friend Lissie and I make it our annual tradition to meet at Nuremberg's Stijlmarkt, drink a craft Helles beer and see what is happening with Germany's up-and-coming product designers.

This year, the relentless rain and grey of November (Germans only have to give you a look that says, "I am deeply sorry for this crap weather. Hopefully it snows in December!") didn't keep us or thousands of other Nürnbergers away from Das Ofenwerk, a 1920s historical factory turned-event space and Oldtimer garage with, what else would you expect in Bavaria, mint condition Volkswagens and Fiats from the '30s on up.

Ofenwerk  Nürnberg

Ofenwerk Nürnberg

Stijlmarkt's tagline reads: Markt für junges Design, Fashion und guten GeschmackA market for emerging design and style.

Founded in Mainz, it has become a traveling affair, from Freiburg, Luxembourg, Cologne, southward to Munich, to Leipzig in the east, passing through the city in which I live, Nuremberg.

Bewooden  from Bad Vilbil

Bewooden from Bad Vilbil

Upon entry, I purchased that craft Helles beer for a few euro at the espresso bar from a 20-something guy who spoke English with me. "Is my accent really that bad?" I asked, both of us knowing full well my German accent is terrible. He reminded me, auf Englisch, to bring the bottle back for the Pfand, refund. (Glass bottles always have a deposit- Germany puts an astute emphasis on waste and recycling). 

Lissie motioned to the line of vintage VWs and Fiats and said, "Look at that one, Sam. Our family had one growing up. They are called Beetles!"


We made our way to the cornucopia of makers and artisans, all who were excited to regale their backstories ("in English or German?" they asked. Again... accent?) with hopes we would make off with a few Weihnachtsgeschenke, Christmas presents, from their booths.

There was Bauhaus and post-wall Berlin but also some solid borrows from Scandinavian design and the American pop aesthetic, giving glimpses that Germany is still pushing through a determination for creative self-identity in the 21st century on a mainstream level, past Berlin, past Cologne, past its history, into the deeper pockets of the country. 

There was Dariusch Rafizada, a German-Afghan from Ulm and his Bauhausian concrete tablet holders, a barber with a handlebar mustache giving (a little too close to the 1930s style) undercuts in the corner, a dapper pair of gentlemen from Bad Vilbil selling laser-cut wooden bow ties and cuff links. Meticulous illustrations of forest animalsfunctional backpacks from Berlin, punk rock concrete jewelry from Frankfurt. A plant protein food truck. A Hamburger (yes, Hamburger) artisan making Origami meets Heavy Metal jewelry. A fair-trade vegan sweatshirt line- I contemplated buying one for my sister for her Weihnachtsgeschenk.

Gabriela Schneider of  Canvas Atlas , Nürnberg.

Gabriela Schneider of Canvas Atlas, Nürnberg.

Canvas Atlas  Leather Coasters

Canvas Atlas Leather Coasters

I ran into Gabriela Schneider of Canvas Atlas, who I had discovered on Instagram a few days earlier. I loved her clean and saturated product shots. Like me, she came from North America (but the other one, with universal health insurance and French) and moved here, like me, for love. She makes beautiful fabric and leather crafts. I picked up a few stamped leather coasters for our house.

Photo Credit  Lena Beigel Design

Photo Credit Lena Beigel Design

I am rooting for Germany: oftentimes it has sacrificed its pursuit of individuality to keep the ship afloat here in Europe. Its emphasis on excellence, function and dependability is sewn into the fabric of society. It is nice to see this ethos, what Germany is known for, extending into creative expression for young designers.

Lissie looked at me and said, "Sam. I like our annual tradition." 

"Yeah", I replied, finishing my Helles and walking toward the bottle deposit. "It's a good tradition."

Fraulein Tapir , Handmade in Nürnberg

Fraulein Tapir, Handmade in Nürnberg

Hecna  fair trade & vegan clothing line, Nürnberg

Hecna fair trade & vegan clothing line, Nürnberg

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