What are spray cans, colorful adhesive tape and a giant mirror doing inside GFT’s headquarters? Artist and sculptor Tobias Rehberger, who designed the innovation hall at the first CODE_n CONTEST at CeBIT 2012, has now turned his attention to the SPACES, the latest element in the CODE_n ecosystem. In our interview, he reveals his concept for the design of the space in which startups and established companies from the Stuttgart industrial zone will network in the future. High-profile managers move into the second story of the building; the first floor is reserved for digital pioneers who may have groundbreaking ideas, but who still need space and vital contacts. The CODE_n SPACES are set to change this.
Mr. Rehberger, this isn’t the first time you’ve worked with CODE_n. For the first CONTEST, you designed a trade fair concept that was intended to stay around for a few days and draw attention. With the SPACES, you are now creating a permanent area for young companies. At the same time, the startups are only staying for a finite length of time. What was the idea behind the design of the first floor?
Rehberger: The rooms may be permanently occupied by startup companies, but it’s primarily about flexibility and improvisation; the ability to change something quickly. When I think of startups, I don’t think of carefully planned and organized workflows, in which the next step is already pre-defined. Instead, I’m creating spaces here for people for whom exactly the opposite occurs: Spaces where they can improvise, where they can invent, where they can respond quickly to different situations. This is why we also have the garage element, the unfinished feel.
In the entrance area, the slogan on the mirror is quite eye-catching: Super Duper Studio. The checked pattern on the walls spans the entire floor. What’s behind this?
Rehberger: In the 1960s and 70s, there was a group of architects from Italy called Superstudio. They developed superstructures with Utopian constructions that covered entire landscapes. These architects used the check pattern as their trademark, because their ideas came from a checked sheet, the draft pad of an architect. This superordinate thing, this superstructure that takes over everything, it matches the philosophy of a startup very nicely. When you’re founding a company, you’re ready to give some things up: The work, the passion for what you do, overtakes all other areas of your life. More…