New Artist at Direktorenhaus: Volker Haug

In conver­sa­tion with the German designer Volker Haug. Haug works in Melbourne, Australia.

What fasci­nates you about light?

I’ve always been a bit cranky and i like to create prod­ucts that don’t fit into every scheme. I have always been fasci­nated by the mystery of light and how it influ­ences conscious­ness.


Do you have a creative guide­line that runs through your projects?

The man-made is more impor­tant to me than nature. In the cities, iden­tity is a fleeting matter. A modern building stands next to a theatre from the 1920s. I think it’s the tension that I find attrac­tive. I want to combine mate­rials in a surprising way to create some­thing new.

What do you produce?

My team and I design lights and make them by hand. We also produce room-specific unique pieces. To achieve this, we work closely with archi­tects and inte­rior designers from our Melbourne region. We are currently working on two new collec­tions and are looking forward to presenting them at Milan Design Week.

Since the light bulb has always been the source of my inspi­ra­tion, we always try to stay as close to it as possible and ‘around’ the light source. Each idea is reduced to its most basic form and then pushed to its limits through modern manu­fac­turing and tech­no­log­ical processes.

What would you design if you had enough budget?

I would like to design the lighting concept for a club.


Are there coop­er­a­tions with certain part­ners that are partic­u­larly impor­tant to you?

As a studio, we are always very curious to discover new mate­rials and work processes. With our new selec­tion of glass parts, we have brought the exper­tise of US artist John Hogan on board.

Do you have a favourite lamp?

The most inno­v­a­tive lumi­naire I’ve ever designed is prob­ably the OMG lumi­naire. Coin­ci­den­tally, it’s also the one that’s the most fun to produce. Although it shines like a jewel, the OMG is actu­ally a “patch­work object”. Almost 200 cm in diam­eter, it is made up of 19 old aluminium lamps, flat­tened with a fork­lift truck and a sledge­hammer and finally anodised in dazzling colours. We screwed them together to create a new lamp­shade. The OMG lamp hangs in the foyer of the National Gallery of Victoria as a perma­nent instal­la­tion.

That sounds compli­cated. Do you have any role models that inspire you?

Ingo Maurer is my personal German design guru — he has a wonder­fully playful and coura­geous approach to lighting design.

How many employees do you employ?

I employ 13 very talented people. About seven of them focus on manu­fac­turing, the rest are the core design and admin­is­tra­tion team. The team is made up of many different nation­al­i­ties (Germany, Japan, Spain, Morocco, Australia) and many different orig­inal disci­plines (sculp­tors, artists, jewellery designers, project managers, psychol­o­gists, linguists, IT special­ists, elec­trical engi­neers, inte­rior designers, neuro­sci­en­tists and indus­trial designers).

What role does Australia, the place where you work, play for you?

We manu­fac­ture almost exclu­sively in Australia and work very closely with the craftsmen in the region.

Where can one buy your prod­ucts?

At the moment we mainly sell here in Australia. This works well for us and our customers because it also allows direct quality control from design to the finished product. Last year, 2018, we decided to exhibit our designs inter­na­tion­ally for the first time, exploring specialist dealers in Europe and America.