My first week at Fundamental Berlin is almost over and so it’s time to give a first impression! First of all, what is Fundamental Berlin? Of course you could just click on the link and see it for yourself, but essentially it is a small design company, with roots in architecture, focusing on furniture and tableware design. All of their designs follow a short but effective 5-point manifesto, which describes their love for geometric patterns in ‘honest’ materials such as brass, coper and wood.
The driving forces behind Fundamental are Gunnar Rönsch and Steve Molloy, the founders, and since about a year ago Tenzin Heatherbell (what a great name) as the production manager. Gunnar is a really awesome, in my eyes typically German, and in his own words a “complicated” guy. I don’t know that much about him yet, as he usually escapes the deep conversations at the lunch break by meeting with friends elsewhere. Sometimes it is entirely unclear what he is doing during lunch. Nevertheless, what I do know about him is that he doesn’t eat or drink anything with added sugar in it, that according to Tenzin he used to be into Punk, and therefore must still be into Punk (news flash, today, Friday 17 February, he denied his love for Punk) and that he dresses a little bit like one of the New Kids, but stylish.
“For all I know Gunnar turns into a bloodthirsty werewolf outside of the office hours”
Steve I haven’t met yet, as he is currently in China for a holiday/ business trip. These holiday/ business, or private/ work relationships are, by the way, completely mixed up at Fundamental. The office of Fundamental is also the home of Gunnar. When I make coffee in the office’s kitchen I’m making coffee in Gunnar’s kitchen; when I go to the only toilet in the office I go to Gunnar’s bathroom. But it gets even crazier, namely, the whole building belongs to Steve and he lives on the floor above the office. Incest of private life and work is abound. As the office is also Gunnar’s home I am not allowed to come before 9 and am expected to leave around 6. For all I know Gunnar turns into a bloodthirsty werewolf outside of the office hours, which I really do not find too far-fetched.
Tenzin is my office mate from New Zealand. We usually spend lunch together in a small park nearby (the weather was that great this week). For four years he lives in Germany now together with his wife Susi, who met each other while rock climbing, what is, next to Susi, the love of his life. He’s a super kind, funny guy.
“It’s only the first week, but I really feel that I’m in the right place”
The best thing about Fundamental, until now, is the creative freedom they give me in the stuff that I work on. I feel like Gunnar, Tenzin and I are on the same page, that we have a mutual understanding, which makes it easy to be open and vulnerable to each other. The latter is one of the most important things in doing creative work, I think. Creative work is always uncertain and can even be said to thrive on mistakes. In order to pick the best fruit from a creative effort one needs to feel comfortable enough to take risks and follow inspiration as it comes. This happens to be point two of their manifesto, “Pardon Your Mistakes Freely”. It’s only the first week, but I really feel that I’m in the right place.