Jonathan Radetz, a talented Frankfurt-based designer, is a true example of a multidisciplinary creator that transitions his skills as a master carpenter into ceramics, glass and jewellery design and vice versa. We love how each of his pieces can be broken down into the most essential basic elements of timeless beauty. Let's peek into his world in the following interview.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
I first got into real contact with product design while I was working on my master degree in cabinet making. Soon after my studies, I decided to start working in development & purchasing at a well known and recognized furniture design brand, e15. Here I was able to learn a lot about the industry and design in general and I realised that I really want to become a designer myself and so I went on to study product design to realise this dream.
HOW HAS YOUR JEWELLERY BRAND STARTED?
At a time when I was studying product design, I was doing an internship at Stefan Diez Office. This is how I met Saskia Diez, Stefan Diez’s wife, who owns her namesake jewellery brand. Soon I began to work as a freelancer for her as well. This experience really affected my work and I naturally started to design jewellery myself. To see if my ideas might be successful I decided to test some of my concepts at different furniture exhibitions and fairs. People seem to like my minimal approach, especially coming from a male product designer, and so my jewellery brand Jonathan Radetz Jewellery started soon after this at the beginning of 2015.
WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION?
My designs can be characterised by their receptiveness to unusual sources of inspiration and their aspiration to convey meaningful contents. I come up with my best ideas when I am surrounded by nature or while travelling.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS?
The collections I create are straightforward and timeless jewellery designs, hand-made in single unit production in Germany. With its clear details, my jewellery does not seek to dominate but rather embodies artistic craftsmanship and discreet style. There are only very few designers who skillfully cover the entire gamut from jewellery and furniture all the way through to ceramics and glass objects. I try to do my best to become one of them. I am also fascinated by breaking every idea down to its essential elements so I methodically work with materials and forms to create my design pieces. I also like working with other designers. My current collection builds on the very first collection and it has been developed in collaboration with Rita Botelho.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST CHALLENGING?
I don’t understand today's rushed world… that I have to deliver things so fast. I think people should not expect to get everything right now, right at any given moment, we need to slow down.
HOW DO YOU SELECT THE MATERIALS YOU WORK WITH?
To create products I use a wide variety of high-quality materials to create exquisite objects featuring clear-cut, geometrical shapes and compellingly straightforward elegance. With jewellery I really like pure materials like silver and gold, nothing coated.
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND’S MOTTO?
Well, that is something we have to work on. How about: “What remains is a pure expression with notable subtlety and simple beauty”?
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
I felt a special affinity for Istanbul ever since we co-initiated the “Istanbul’dan” project. This project is all about minimalist products that have an exciting story behind them and are much more than mere three-dimensional objects.
FAVOURITE DESIGN ITEM/OBJECT?
I really like chairs a lot. I feel I could become a collector. Maybe I already am one. I collect used design classics. I think my favourite chair right now is a black Ant Chair from Arne Jacobsen. I guess because I found it on the streets of Frankfurt in a mint condition.
WHAT’S FRANKFURT LIKE FOR YOU AS A DESIGNER?
I like Frankfurt. It is a small city with a big reputation. I guess the airport and the skyline helps a lot. But if you get to know Frankfurt you must love it. In terms of its design scene, it’s similar to other cities, there are big institutions but in the end, it is about the people you meet and start working with.
ANY MUST-SEE PLACE?
When in Frankfurt you should definitely go to the Freitagsküche. Make sure you go on Friday night and you have time to enjoy some food. As you never know who is preparing the meal, so you will always be surprised by the concept. If you are into more traditional venues, I’d recommend Museum für Angewandte Kunst von Richard Maier.
WHAT DOES MINIMALISM MEAN TO YOU?
I like minimalism because it makes sense to reduce and organize objects when dealing with design. This rule can be applied to all creative disciplines. But in the end, it should be still fun and not too serious.