In 2020 Studio Manuel Raeder developed a guidance system, a display for books and ephemera, and an inflatable tent for the Klosterruine Berlin. The signage and guidance elements are made of stone and powder coating steel providing solidity and protection against extreme weather. www.manuelraeder.com/project/klosterruine


In 2021 Studio Manuel Raeder & Rodolfo Samperio were invited to develop the lobby and bookstore space for the arts nonprofit and research center CARA (Center for Art, Research and Alliances). www.manuelraeder.com/project/cara-the-center-for-art-research-and-alliances

Photos © Greg Carideo


“Together with his accomplice, Kythzia Barrera, he is the founder and director of Innovando la Tradición, a non-profit platform that offers multidisciplinary services for the revitalization of pottery in Oaxaca. He also collaborates with the pottery cooperative 1050°. He holds a Master’s degree in Typography Design from KABK in the Netherlands and a postgraduate degree in Visual Arts from Konstfack in Sweden. ” from https://www.typedrivesculture.com/multilingue/speaker/896603/diego-mier-y-ter%C3%A1n-gim%C3%A9nez-cacho

Interview with Manuel Raeder
Speaker at chapter 4: Power
September 2023
Words by Bethany Rigby
Photography by Sanni Riihimäki

After we said adeus to designer Manuel Raeder at the Tangle in Helsinki, we reconnected to learn more about his unique approach to project briefs– and his favourite furniture!

Many of your responses to briefs and commissions seem to take an opposite or alternative approach to what might be expected (for example; the heavy open-air pieces for Klosterruine, Berlin) is this an intentional process, and how/where did you learn to cultivate this approach? 

Studying in the UK influenced my approach a lot in relation to letting space for humour and fun to enter a design brief or project. Also my studies the Jan van Eyck Academy influenced a lot of the critical thinking in my praxis. 

But I think a lot is also about adapting to the limitations of a brief and basically making any project interesting for yourself as a designer. That way, you are taking an active role in reshaping and maybe even re-writing a given brief. 

You have a sensitivity and generosity in your practice towards ‘the body’ and how it exists, moves through, and experiences space, particularly in terms of accessibility – in what ways do you ensure your designs are universally welcoming, and what role do you feel exhibition designers play in shaping how art and design is accessed? 

I do believe that design can lead a visitor or reader to new sensorial experiences, thoughts and challenging confrontations of content, this can be in a more artistic or educational or even historic context of designing a display. When working on exhibitions I always think about the body moving through the space, the same as when working on a layout for a book. I think about the eyes moving along the letters or images. 

For example the interior and furniture we designed for CARA, (Center for Art, Research and Alliances) bookstore and workshop space, is based on the idea of barrier free design, the furniture literally allows different bodies to be accommodated, tall, thin, big, small, through the different sized chairs and tables

Questioning, discovery and play form a crucial part of my daily approach. 

What are the favourite pieces of furniture that you own?

Definitely my king sized hammock with very thin 100% cotton thread from Yucatan Mexico, which was made at the Merida prison where I also bought it. I rest in it and read in it almost everyday.

You hold many different roles; publisher, collaborator, exhibition/fashion/graphic designer, in many different settings, capacities and institutions. How do you structure your practice, and are there any constants, habits, or rituals that you keep?

Repetition is kind of boring, I always try to do things differently but, of course, I also always fail at it and fall into the same traps.

Under our theme of Power, is there any creative person or grassroots organisation who you’d like to share with us, to use this platform to shout about their work?

I do have a lot of respect and admiration for the work of Kythzia Barrera and Diego Mier Y Teran and what they have been doing with artisan communities in the state of Oaxaca. We published a book about their work in BOM DIA titled Fire and Clay. (Image above)

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