ROLF BENZ: design, comfort and quality

German high-end sofa manufacturer Rolf Benz will be part of WantedDesign next May, to launch its latest collection in the U.S. We had a chance to discuss with Stefan Russ, engineer and director of development department, Bettina Hermann, director of design and product management and Norbert & Silja Beck, designers, around the brand core values: design, comfort and quality.

WantedDesign: The company celebrated its 50th anniversary. Can you share a little bit of the history and background?
Bettina Hermann: Mr Rolf Benz has started the company in 1964 and established the brand right away in the contemporary premium segment. In these now more than 50 years we could gather experience in sofa and chair upholstery. On one hand we have always worked with well-known freelance designers. A freelance designer will work in different fields and is able to work on new creations without “RB glasses”. This ensures a different dynamic inside of the collection.
The continuous evolution and innovation of seat construction and upholstery on the other hand is the other pillar of the Rolf Benz collection until today.


Further developments in the last 50 years were the changing room layouts and open room concepts. They have initiated the engagement of Rolf Benz in the dining sector around 20 years ago and a little bit later the focus on the international markets started. The latter had tremendously influenced the design part. A total paradigm shift was necessary but had to be realized gradually in order to keep the brand’s identity and get a more significant design language at the same time.


Launch Pad 2017 and a Success Story

The fourth edition of the Launch Pad program returns to WantedDesign with a group of 35 international design studios and independent designers competing to win the Best of Launch Pad prize selected by a jury of industry professionals. This year, there will be two winners presented, one in the category of Furniture and Accessories and the other in the category of Lighting.



Launch Pad is a special annual platform at WantedDesign where up and coming designers from around the world showcase their new products and connect with potential manufacturers, retailers, or distributors. Much like the world famous Satellite at the Salone del Mobile, Launch Pad seeks to match innovative products with the right markets, leading to successful launches for a range of captivating designs.


Transatlantic Creative Exchange

Following a successful first edition in 2016, Transatlantic Creative Exchange returns to WantedDesign Brooklyn at Industry City (May 17-23, 2017) with a bold showcase of prototypes and unique pieces designed by the five selected French-American Designer + Manufacturer duos. This exhibition is accompanied by extensive multi-media documentation of the creative process. Including all phases of design, concept to completion, team interactions and exchanges and designer bios. Our participants come from various geographic regions within their countries. Through the contents of this project, audiences gain the perspective of a broader representation of both France and the US.



The goal of the Transatlantic Creative Exchanges is to push both designer and manufacturer to shift paradigms, explore technique and innovate boldly as a unified transatlantic design team. Thanks to the project’s open philosophy of freedom of expression and virtually non-existent commercial guidelines; designers, artisans, fabricators and manufacturers are all free to collaborate, exchange and interweave their personal perspectives and experience into collaborative expressions of sublime design. More


Design-driven Swiss watchmaker Rado is pleased to announce its continued sponsorship as the official watch brand of NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s official celebration of global design. As part of NYCxDESIGN, Rado will work with WantedDesign, a platform dedicated to promoting design with two showcases, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Together with WantedDesign, Rado will launch, for its second year, the U.S. edition of the Rado Star Prize, which is held internationally to promote the work of young designers.


Ten finalists and one winner of the Rado Star Prize U.S. 2017 will be selected by a specialist jury. The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money as well as a Rado watch. The winner and all finalists will have the opportunity to display their concepts at WantedDesign in Manhattan during NYCxDESIGN 2017. An additional prix du public winner, selected from among the finalists by online voting, will receive a Rado watch. The closing date for entries is April 3, 2017. ENTER NOW


Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, co-founders of WantedDesign, are thrilled to announce the selection of Studio Gorm as the 2017 recipient of the American Design Honors program, presented in conjunction with Bernhardt Design.

Studio Gorm

Studio Gorm was founded in 2007 by John Arndt and Wonhee Jeong-Arndt. They met when studying at the Design Academy of Eindhoven. After graduating they spent a year in Rotterdam before they settled down in Eugene, Oregon. As designers of functional objects, the designers draw from their background in sculpture and craft to create works that successfully balance function and aesthetic in effortless fashion.  Their methods are deeply rooted in the act of physical making where an object’s true form evolves out of an experimental constructive approach to design. Studio Gorm will create an installation at WantedDesign Manhattan that will showcase the diversity of the duo’s products, furniture and interiors.  “I’m exceptionally proud of the work that John and Wonhee are doing, as it honors a great American art form, while making it relevant in today’s design world.” Comment Bernhardt Design President Jerry Helling.
Launched in 2010, American Design Honors was created by WantedDesign and Bernhardt Design  to recognize up and coming American designers who possess a solid body of work, embody excellence in creative design and superior entrepreneurial ability. Through the American Design Honors program, Bernhardt Design and WantedDesign aim to promote exceptional American Design in the broader international arena while providing a means of support for designers seeking to amplify their impact and reach.
“We look towards the future with positivity and enthusiasm. The U.S. is known as the land of opportunity for a reason. It is a place rich with creative talent, resources, entrepreneurial spirit and opportunity for exchange. Our goal is to support young American talent so that it may achieve its utmost potential on the international stage, we are thrilled to present the third year of the American Design Honors to the world.”,  Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat. More