Will Hunter Before becoming a product designer you studied mechatronics. What is that?
Moritz Waldemeyer It's a combination of mechanics and electronics. There is no real pure mechanical engineering anymore because whenever you see something mechanical it almost always has electronics attached. It's a very dry, scientific subject. Most graduates move on to straightforward engineering careers. I started at Philips but, even then, our research was a decade in advance. I also worked at Ford for a year, which is where most people will go; for years and years they will be responsible for a single engine component.
Will Hunter And you would rather design the whole car?
Moritz Waldemeyer I think the car industry is the most boring thing at the moment. There's nothing inspirational. Using light materials saves fuel and is environmentally friendly. Lotus and a few small niche manufacturers are looking at weight reduction, but everybody else produces these bloated monstrosities that fill our streets. For me it would be the ultimate project: I would try to achieve a very lightweight, high-performance, electric hybrid in a small package - but also with a fun factor.
Will Hunter What did you do for Philips?
Moritz Waldemeyer Research and development for wearable electronic garments, particularly on sportswear concepts, because Philips had an alliance with Nike at the time.
We were looking at athlete-enhancing clothing for women, with heart-rate sensors woven into running tops. Recently I've worked for Hussein Chalayan on a number of dresses that showed how fashion has changed through history: each would go through two transformations covering the period between 1900 and now. The energy is totally different in fashion to design or architecture because everything happens in the moment - you've got the show, and either it works or you've failed.
Will Hunter Your own design work also seems to be very playful and rich in associations.
Moritz Waldemeyer Definitely, I don't want it to be too serious; only if people enjoy themselves will they get more curious about my work and what's behind it. So, for the Pong and Roulette tables [shown at the Rabih Hage Gallery in September 2006] the innovation is the interactive aspects with the Corian material.
I created a few games, so people can have fun with the interface. I would love the Roulette table to go to Las Vegas, so people can get excited about it. I don't think it's a topic that has really been touched upon in design - I have never seen a 'designed' roulette table. There's a James Bond casino factor to it.
Will Hunter The Roulette table seems to employ a similar technique to Zaha Hadid's Z. Island kitchen.
Moritz Waldemeyer Yes, that was the first time we showed it. In the kitchen, we integrated the lighting, aroma dispensers, heating panels and Mac computers. Touch control panels were built into the material, so when you switch it off you can't see anything - just a piece of Corian - but through the surface you get the visual feedback and user input. You can create almost any user interface you like.
Will Hunter So does Zaha deserve her diva reputation?
Moritz Waldemeyer I only met Zaha at the opening. I haven't worked with her personally - I'm not sure what that would be like. I worked with another German guy in her office, which was really good fun. She has got some very cool and capable people working for her. I'm doing another project with people in her office right now. They're great.
NAME: Moritz Waldemeyer
EDUCATION: MSc mechatronics, King's College, London
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY: Philips, Ford, freelance for Ron Arad, Philippe Starck, Zaha Hadid, Tord Boontje, Yves Behar, Swarovski and Corian
KEY PIECES: Roulette table, Pong table and bar; Lolita chandelier (Ron Arad), Z. Island kitchen (Zaha Hadid)
MOST ADMIRED ARTISTS: Ron Arad, Ingo Maurer, Gordon Murray