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Mark Braun: unparalleled design

In 2020, Otto Hutt will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a very special anniversary edition. None other than German star designer Mark Braun has created the limited-edition fountain pen. The portrait of an extraordinary product designer.

It isn’t hard to spot the common source that inspired both Mark Braun and Otto Hutt: the design philosophy of the Bauhaus era. Company founder Karl Hutt was fascinated by the designs of his contemporary Walter Gropius in the 1920s, when the Bauhaus movement was revolutionising architecture and design. The clear lines and the principle of „form follows function“ flowed into the writing instrument designs. As a young design student, and even before then, Mark Braun was also inspired by the ideas of Bauhaus. Although you see this in his designs, both he and Otto Hutt researched new concepts over the years and developed their own approaches to design.

You grew up in a family in which design was ubiquitous. Which designs shaped you most and why?
Scandinavian design by Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto through to brands such as Iittalla or Bruno Mathsson – my father is Swedish and my grandparents were architects and artists; that was my formative influence.

If you look at your previous product designs, how would you describe your development as a designer? What accounts for this development?
I learned a trade, but I actually grew up in a more intellectual household – that combination shapes my approach as a designer. Over the last 15 years, I’ve learned to appreciate and perfect this combination of thinking and doing, the interdisciplinary diversity of design as a source of my creativity.

Originally, the Bauhaus era strongly inspired the Otto Hutt designs. What does Bauhaus mean to you today?
Bauhaus is much more of an attitude than a purely aesthetic position – you can transfer the progressive design approaches and the interdisciplinary permeability of Bauhaus to current trends and problems. That is the meaning that still inspires me today and not least also the Bauhaus classics in their logic and industrially shaped clarity.

What motivated you to create this design for Otto Hutt? Which shared aspects (or differences) do you see in your and Otto Hutt’s design philosophy?
I admire Otto Hutt’s production depth and competence in terms of quality and functions – combining these factors with contemporary and radically to-the-point design is a strong motivation for me. Not least the idea of designing a writing instrument that promotes analogue writing – after all, aside from serving as way of expressing language, it brings the character of one’s own handwriting and personality to light.

Read more about Mark Braun and the cooperation with Otto Hutt in the next journal article…

 

Foto: © Sonja Müller