In Werner Zemp’s eyes, design is just one of the factors that contribute to a product’s success. ‘For a product to gain widespread acceptance out there in the marketplace, it always needs a legitimate reason for existing: it must be relevant. The shell or housing in which it is enclosed has the job of transforming its inner values – its quality, in other words – into a universally understandable statement and conveying it to the outside world.’ No less important than form is the way it feels to the touch: it calls for understanding and dialogue. ‘It’s only when we hold an object that we really grasp it. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word.’ He is currently grappling with this topic intensively because he is working on the artistic design of a 40-metre-long corridor in a public building. ‘In this project, it’s all about a series of relief images, about the magic of light and shade in the interplay of sharp contours and gentle surfaces.’ Totally in keeping with the motto ‘please touch’, he believes: ‘My objects need to be handled, felt and experienced in every sense of the word.’
Intelligent operation thanks to scalpel-like precision
For Werner Zemp, a product’s benefits must be reflected both in its exterior and in the way it is operated. Here, the maxim ’straight to the point’ counts more than ever. ’Simple, self-explanatory operation has almost the same value as the actual function of a product. Why would I want to buy something if operating it is so complicated that I hardly ever use it?’ The question may sound as clear and logical as Zemp’s use of form, but is every bit as difficult to realize. ’Intelligent operation is founded on clearly structured ideas. Only if I can describe the function with scalpel-like precision and reduce it to essentials am I in a position to emulate it in a user interface.’ Zemp talks of clear, unequivocal operating elements, of intuitive operation. In the same breath, however, he warns of the dangers of too great an infatuation with technology: ‘Overly technical solutions can exclude non-digital natives and lead to generation conflicts. In any case, the central functions must be easily and quickly accessible and readily understandable for anyone.’ And here, extols the ‘father of the Z line’, JURA is absolutely on the right track.