Alexa Stevenson | September 04, 2012
Alfred Stadler, previous director of Vitra Home North America, recently launched his own lifestyle brand focusing on bags, accessories, and small home furnishings. The now head designer and creative director of Alfred Stadler Life Style talks to us about his varied past and what he’s focusing on for the future.
Interior Design: You have quite a varied resume—at one point were a competitive speed skater. Were you always interested in design?
AS: I am a maker. Accomplishments and living life to its fullest are key, whether it’s sports, designing, cooking, raising a family, etc. I did not want to be a spectator; I wanted to be a creator.
ID: You were also a saddle maker, how does this play out in your design life now?
AS: As an Olympic dressage saddle maker, I mastered highly refined, old-world, master craftsman leather working, felt working skills, and special precision stitching. I am amazed how important it is in my work today, and how it even forms my style.
ID: What are you working on at the moment?
AS: Besides the new collection, eating all the Swiss chocolate I brought home recently from my last trip there!
ID: Has your style changed since you began your career?
AS: Yes, my style has evolved with the changes in my lifestyle. However my standards for quality and functionality have remained the same: very high!
ID: What or who has most influenced your work?
AS: My life's experiences. Traveling and experiencing different cultures and, later on, having exciting job assignments in various countries.
ID: Tell me, how do you go from Director of Vitra Home to your own lifestyle brand?
AS: It was the next step in my life--becoming more true and honest to myself! It was time to create my own pieces. Modernity became too cold for me. I wanted to add a more tactile and warm feeling to products.
ID: Do you prefer product or interior design?
AS: For me there's no separation. I even include architecture and fashion into the group. Today I always love to say: my work and interests are inspired by my client’s lifestyles.
ID: What’s the most satisfying moment of any project?
AS: Seeing someone use and enjoy what I've created. My work should make people happy!
ID: Any guilty design pleasures?
AS: Once in a while I love to let go and not design actual products, but, instead, take huge pieces of vegetable tanned leather and mold them into fantastic sculptures and create with all the emotion I feel inside and have no boundaries.
ID: What’s next for you?
AS: Building an apprenticeship program to teach people the skills and strengthen our New York production. Keeping production local and ethical are very important to me. Right now nearly everything from the line is made in Red Hook, Brooklyn!