Valentin Johannes
Pfister •

*1990 in Stuttgart, Germany


+49 178 55 88 516

2010–2018
National College of Art and Design Dublin, IE
Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, DE

Studies in
Industrial Design / Art History / Literature
up to Dipl.-Des. (Master of Fine Arts)


Designer (2014–2018)
spreng/sonntag Karlsruhe

Founding partner in 2014, responsible for ideation and concept development; clients included the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, STmicroelectronics, EnBW, Thales Alenia Space, City of Karlsruhe and others.

Industrial Designer Robotics (2016-2017)
FZI Karlsruhe

Freelance design consultant on a joint research project with DLR (German Aerospace Center). Responsibilities included concept work for a modular self-configurating satellite system as well as the creation of presentation documents.

Enterprise Industrial Design (internship, 2015-2016)
John Deere ETIC Kaiserslautern

During my stay at the European Technology Innovation Center I developed a concept for a modular semi-autonomous wood harvester. The self-levelling cabin system was proposed for patenting.

Carpentry (internship, 2012)
Holzmanufaktur Stuttgart

I got to know the different stages of solid wood furniture production; duties included CNC-machining of furniture parts, surface finishing as well as delivery and client-side assembly of furniture.


I think one of my biggest strengths is my ability to get excited over pretty much everything. I then dive into topics wholeheartedly and learn as much as I can in as little time as possible. (Okay, reading this again this might sound a little obsessive. But I think it’s a good and healthy obsession, hopefully). I am a keen learner and will get accustomed with most things very quickly. This has also allowed me to build a diverse skillset. I’ll list some things below which might be beneficial towards your business and that I would be happy to develop further.

CAD

My main CAD platform is Rhinoceros3D. I know how to quickly create mockups, but if the situation calls for curvature-continuous Bézier-surfaces, well, I’ll do that, too. I have used Grasshopper for generative/parameter driven design before, and also wrote a few extensions using IronPython.


Design sketching

From quick doodle to digital presentation, sketching, of course, is at the basis of pretty much every design project. While I prefere pen/ink in the analouge realm (full marker renderings are not really my thing), digitally I will use what ever get’s the job done, be it Photoshop, Illustrator or even using 3D renderers such as Sketch/Toon.


Graphic design / layout

While I’m no graphic designer by trade, I do know the fundamentals of typography, layout and graphic work. I can work to corporate identity standards, and InDesign is no stranger to me. So when the need arises, I’ve got all the daily graphic needs covered.


Programming

As a teenager, one of my biggest hobbies was developing websites. That got me in contact with programming at quite an earliy age, and I never left it. I still do some PHP programming for wordpress now and then, but my priorities have since then shifted to more allround languages, such as Python (also in combination with Rhino and Cinema 4D APIs) or JavaScript (node.js, but also InDesign scripts).


Rendering

Rendering is a big part of design communication. During my previous jobs I created a wide variety of renderings, including product renderings, pre-visualisations, presentations and animations for explainer videos. I’m well versed with Blender’s Cycles engine, as well as Cinema 4D’s Advanced and Sketch ’n Toon renderer.


Video

For the times when the still picture doesn’t do it any more! I have experience in shooting video with gear such as the GH4 and GH5, and know how to quickly colour grade and edit the resulting files in Premiere Pro and After Effects. In the past I delivered files for YouTube, trade fair presentations and cinema commercials.


Concept development

I love deconstructing problems. Drawing from my interest in research and personal experiences I try to embed those deconstructed particels into a new narrative that throug the process of experimentation and iteration takes on a new shape until the product finally arrives at a satisfying solution.


3D-printing

While they’re really common in rapid prototyping, 3d-printed objectes start showing up as final products more and more often. For Hans Maier-Aichens sculpture series “unpretentious objectes” (seen during salone del mobile) I was responsible both for CAD and for optimizing the models for 3D-printing; the aim was to achieve a perfectly even surface finish. The know-how gathered through that project of course carries over to my day-to-day design projects.


Improvisation

There comes a point in almost every project, when the rule book just doesn’t do it anymore and you need to find a solution outside the known scope. This is also the moment in which truly unique solutions can emerge. As a freelance Designer I’ve learnd to embrace improvisation and am excited to realise the full creative potential that lies within it.


Parametric Design

I have a strong understanding of parametric design, especially for design exploration and idea generation. My tool of choice is Grasshopper inside Rhino3D, which helps to build understandable programs and interfaces. But if the situation calls for it, I won't hesitat switching to more “classic” languages, like Python, inside the Rhino3D environment.


Software

I can start working productively in the following packages right away:

  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects
  • Rhinoceros3D
  • Cinema 4D
  • Solidworks
  • Blender Cycles
  • VS Code
  • node.js


Lecturer (2018–)
Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design

Starting with the fall semester 2018 I am responsible for a diploma colloquium, in which the students of the Industrial Design department can discuss their thesis projects. I help them with creative decision making as well as administrative questions.

Workshop series (2017)
Various high schools

Our studio spreng/sonntag was given the opportunity to hold creativity workshops at german high schools. With the pupils we developed ideas for stories and helped them to turn those ideas into short videos.


Every once in a while I feel the need to create something outside my usual practice. This helps me to refocus on what is important and more often than not leads to new impulses, which in turn find their way back into my design work. I call these projects lab projects.

Lab projects

Moon Landing

What started out as a challenge (“What can one build with just a couple 2×4s and a few rescue blankets?”) ended up as a surprisingly truthful recreation of the original moon landing. Huge subwoofers under the little construction made for quite a believable take off sequence, and an old DV camera transmitted a video live feed from the moon’s surface right to the control center in front of the shuttle.


Moped Simulator

The topic of simulation has been thoroughly discussed in philosophy and media theroy (Baudrillard immediately comes to mind), but this little simulator drew it’s inspiration from somewhere else: what is the bare minimum of materiality that can create the same sensations felt during motorbike tours? Turns out, you don’t need that much: A YouTube video, a little moped held by a couple slats, a fan and a power drill with an offcentered weight to add a little bumpiness to the ride.


Gefährde die Arbeit

Gefährde die Arbeit (“Endanger Your Work”) started out as a small experiment and later on became my masters thesis. In recent years neural networks became more and more popular, a lot of code is freely available to start experimenting. While Google’s Deep Dream shaped a certain aesthetic of AI-art, I wanted to look into what else this technology might have to offer. This experimentation soon led down a rabbit hole, where the borders between creativity, self, and also believe started disappearing. I designed a neural network, that would encode all the photos I took with my mobile phone during the last 6 years, into more and more abstract images, which in turn should interact with my creative output. But instead they lead me deeper and deeper into abstraction, until the only output generated by the network was a single solid colour. I then build an exhibition, in which the photographs mentioned earlier would be displayed in several slideshows, and the relationships between those photos would prompt the network to generate a specific colour every time a visitor entered or left the exhibition. Read the whole story here: (unfortunately at the moment only available in german.)
Gefährde die Arbeit


DynamicWallpapers.Club

MacOS Mojave brought us the dynamic wallpaper, a desktop background, that would either change with the sun’s position or at specified hours. Some friends and I quickly realised, that there was no option available to easily create such backgorunds yourself. So we decided to build a little web tool, that would allow basically everyone to create their own dynamic wallpaper. My main contribution was to code the server backend in SWIFT that would do the actual conversion. I also implemented a JS gateway between the SWIFT backend and Vue frontend, that is powering the generator on the client side.
www.dynamicwallpapers.club


Cups

Can technology breath new life into old traditions? Seems like it can! I used 3d-printing to make moulds for the traditional slipcasting process. Usually you would have to handmodel a positive and then create a plaster mould from there, which requires quite some handicraft. I designed a cup in CAD, generated the necessary mould pieces on the computer and printed the master forms for the plaster mould. So the traditional technique became more accessible, and the turnaround much quicker.


Exhibitions (selection)

Unpretentious objects (2018)

3d-printed miniature sculptures
(Modeling, Printing, Technical Supervision for Hans Maier-Aichen)
Salone del Mobile Milan


Geburt/Betrug (2017)

Light installation, using polarisation films
art.poetry.space, Ursula-Blicke-Stiftung Kraichtal


Translation (2016)

Video 1:58
Zebra Poetry Film Festival (Münster/Berlin)


Echtwald (2016)

Wooden toy
Badisches Landesmuseum Kalrsuhe


Placidity of Technology (2012)

Publication (Workshop with Sam Hecht)
London Design Week