Hamburg couple Vincent Schwenk and Pia Scheiber work together to explore the boundaries of colour and surface through their respective mediums: a magical meeting of real and virtual worlds.
A creative couple treading two seemingly separate paths, 3D designer Vincent Schwenk and textile artist Pia Scheiber have found the ideal balance, combining digital and analogue worlds to striking effect. Pia’s love of textiles is a foregone conclusion from an early age, having grown up in a household of skilled makers, where everything from clothing to soft furnishing was crafted by hand in her mountain village home in Tyrol, Austria.
Vincent’s journey into the world of digital design came through photography, capturing daily life in Munich, and weekends spent snowboarding in the nearby alps as a teen. The couple’s early years backdropped by idyllic snow-capped scenes clearly sharpened their visual sensibilities.
We sat down with the pair at their Hamburg home to find out more about their backgrounds and their work, and how they’re settling in with their new Tone Wardrobe.
Tell us about your backgrounds, where did you both grow up and what did you study?
Pia: I grew up in a small mountain village in Tyrol, Austria. There wasn’t much to do, except spending time in nature. It’s beautiful and very idyllic but at some point I had “mountain-overdose”, so I moved to Vienna. I studied Media Communication and afterwards I worked as a fashion and interior editor. A few years ago I decided to make a change and started studying Textile Design in Hamburg.
Vincent: I grew up in a small town close to Munich, where I also had mountains in my backyard. I went snowboarding every single weekend. That‘s when I started photographing my friends, which led me to study Communication Design in Augsburg. A few years ago I started getting into 3D and motion design. It was the logical conclusion as I was making stop motion films as a kid.
How would you describe your individual design aesthetics?
Vincent: I prefer a playful, experimental and a little bit of a weird and unexpected approach. But the most important thing for me is to have fun. I‘m not trend-driven, I just feel a creative urge that needs to come out through my brain and onto the computer screen.
Pia: My aesthetic relies on contrast-heavy color combinations and materials, so I would say it changes a lot. When I see a special kind of material, sometimes an idea instantly pops into my head. I often think about how I can defamiliarize ordinary materials, so something new is created. I have about 20 unfinished projects in my head.
Pia, what first attracted you to textile work?
Pia: I always had a strong connection with textiles. My grandmother was a seamstress and my aunt is a hand weaver. I remember sitting on the loom with her weaving linen. My dad made carpets and in the winter he made felt slippers for everyone. My mum is also multi-talented when it comes to textile work. We’ve always been a DIY-family, so I always appreciated the fabric from our clothes and interiors because I knew the hard work behind it.
When working together, how do you combine both your analogue and digital skills?
Vincent: Working from home the past year or so has allowed us to take a closer look at each other’s work. When Pia was working on something, I was like: ’Oh, that looks cool, I wanna build that in 3D’, and for Pia it was the same. Working together just came about quite organically. We like to blur the boundaries of digital and analogue: what is real and what isn‘t?
There‘s a tangible sense of humor behind both your creative styles. Is it important for you to create this light feeling in your work?
Pia: We love to make each other laugh, so if that comes through our work, it’s just great. We don‘t take ourselves too seriously — we love what we do but in the end we‘re not saving lives. We don’t feel any pressure, maybe that transfers this light feeling into our work. We just love to sit around and play ping-pong with ideas without any specific goal.
What is the creative scene like in Hamburg?
Vincent: Hamburg is very big in advertising, so I would say that the art and design scene is quite small – there are quite a few illustrators here but only few 3D/textile artists. Also, there aren’t that many events happening on the scene.
How would you describe your interior design aesthetic?
Pia: We like it simple and clean. Despite the fact that we use a lot of color in our work, we rarely use it in our furnishings. When it comes to interiors we like soft tones with a touch of color in the accessoires. The world outside is stressful enough so we want our home to transmit calm. It also helps us to keep a fresh eye. We’re big fans of Japan and have a lot of Scandinavian Designer brands in our home, so I would say our interior style fits in the world of “Japandi”.
Do you share a sense of style or is compromise key when it comes to your home interiors?
Pia: I must say Vincent is a bit lazy when it comes to interiors, he’s a typical minimalist. If it was up to him, he’d have one chair, one set of cutlery, a working desk and a bed on the floor! But I think deep down he enjoys having a cozy home with furniture and a few decorative elements. So our compromise is not having much: if one thing comes in, one has to go as well.
On your days off, where do you like to spend time in Hamburg? Any specific spots you’d recommend?
Hamburg is super diverse. We love to cycle around or outside the city. Dove Elbe, for example, is a great spot for swimming in the summer. The best harbor experience is a pizza from Pizza Bande eaten at Park Fiction, where you have the best spot to watch the container ships pass by. Later you can grab a drink at “Standard”, it comes with super delicious vegan tapas.
Tell us a little about the Tone Wardrobe you chose and why you picked this specific layout and colour?
Pia: It’s a mirrored layout, so we both have the same space. The color of the closet is Cashmere Beige on the inside and outside. We like the color a lot, it suits our bedroom perfectly, also the surface feels so soft. We chose to have the drawers underneath because I store my materials there, but it also offers enough space to hide some smaller stuff. I must say I’m feeling much more grown-up having such a high end wardrobe. It’s practical and good-looking, what more do you want?
What does “home” mean to you?
Vincent: Home is where we are all together, Pia, me and our dog, Brezel.