Published on 21.07.2022

Hunters and Collectors

Artist Talk with Thies Wulf, multidisciplinary designer and creative director from Berlin and first pop-up resident in POP KUDAMM's Creative Village. About collecting as a neurosis, one's own living room as a museum, the maximum fun of designing, POP KUDAMM as a Gallic village and creating "real" places.

Thies Wulf is a real hunter and collector. At least when it comes to art and all kinds of creative curiosities. Above all, however, he is a lover of details, which he stages with ever new enthusiasm. He can, it seems, when you watch him, never quite put his hands in his lap and must somehow always ensure with small smart moves here and there that things in a room are staged better, more interesting ergo more beautiful. Suddenly a sculpture stands somewhere else, a carpet or cushion lies there, a plant blossoms and shines in neon-retro a “Disco” – illuminated sign on the wall. An affectionate quality that shows in his various works as a designer for fashion brands such as Stone Island, Eduard Dressler, Dorothee Schumacher, as well as in store design for various brands in Osaka, Milan, London, New York, Seoul, Rome and Munich, among others. Currently, this is reflected in his new design manufactory venture called “Holyprop” with the first product family of glass hood holders: the love of detail and the staging of beautiful things.

It was precisely this label – Holyprop – with which he recently moved into the Creative Village of POP KUDAMM as one of the very first pop-up residents, thereby also wanting to write a piece of prehistory of this new exciting place. A story to be told – in the middle of Berlin’s City West.

At the end of his time at POP KUDAMM, we did the same for his visitors and met Thies on the straw mats in front of his showroom, where he had daily conversations with design-savvy Berliners, onlooking flaneurs, students, tourists, party people, and so on. To chat about design and art, personal favorite pieces and his own living room as a museum.

Pop Kudamm:You have been at POP KUDAMM for the past two months to present Holyprop. Your current design series with which each:r of us can transform their own home into a museum, a gallery. Briefly summarized in one sentence: What is Holyprop?
Thies Wulf:The name Holyprop already contains the basic idea of the company. HOLYPROP is a design manufactory that takes care of the favorite (holy) pieces (props) of a person with collecting or simply beauty enthusiasm. Our team designs, develops, produces and distributes innovative presentation showcases. In the end, the objects to be presented can be anything: Art, jewelry, heirlooms, flea market items, collectibles and and and... Even a crumpled concert ticket from your pocket, like the one I recently got from the band "Editors", looks like a sculpture underneath.
Pop Kudamm:Behind all designs is the vision of the designer. What was your inspiration behind Holyprop and how did you come up with this particular design idea?
Thies Wulf:I myself am for many years excessive collector of curious things and objects - mainly art and generally curiosities such as root sepps, collectible plates of places from the USA, 7" vinyl with crazy covers, vintage jewelry, vintage photography, pins from Japan and others. At some point I wanted to "display" the objects altar-like at home and didn't find any suitable products in the furnishings section. So why shouldn't there be "frame systems" for three-dimensional objects when there are picture frames for two-dimensional artworks, was my question.
Pop Kudamm:With the Holyprop Mounterfamily you have created a product line with which everyone can stage their own art objects at home or in other personal spaces. Unlike a museum, however, this tends to escape the view of others, unless you are a guest in such spaces. Have you had opportunities to see your products showcase art in private spaces? And if so, what are some of your favorite pieces that show up under your glass domes?
Thies Wulf:Yes, I was actually very lucky to see the "Mounter" filled at customers. For example, my first customer is a design-savvy woman who had always wanted a permanent place for 3 of her favorite miniature sculptures and found it with the so-called "Wall Mounts" in neon yellow. My personal favorite at her home is a very delicate, gold-colored metal wire sculpture - a real eye-catcher. Another customer is a well-known art collector who now has 3 fuchsia "wall mounts" and a custom piece hanging in his bathroom. Below them are white porcelain sculptures by an exceptional artist.

After all, collecting can sometimes – probably very often – be a neurotic act.

Pop Kudamm:In your work, and especially in Holyprop, you can see Thies Wulf's view of the everyday. The view of a real collector. What does collecting mean to you and what fascinates you about staging everyday objects, for example with Holyprop?
Thies Wulf:Good question! Collecting can sometimes - probably even very often - be a neurotic act: One can't help having to buy this or that to further enrich one's collection. I personally love curiosities, among other things, and came across this subject through literature like THE KEEPER or John Soane's Museum in London and other Cabinets of Curiosities. In our home in Berlin we have the luxury to have a lot of Holyprops standing and hanging and these are continuously refilled and scenographically-artfully maintained. I am my own curator, so to speak, and organize small exhibitions at home. Funnily enough, the objects on display always provide an occasion for communication - our guests always want to know exactly what the things on display are about. Also interesting for me are my so-called "Sample Sculptures", which I assemble from a wide variety of objects, materials, etc. to new entities (sculptures) - like a DJ - only visual-material sample - and thus always create new cases.
Pop Kudamm:For Saul Bass, design was visual thinking. How does Thies Wulf sum up design in one sentence when asked about it? And how does this understanding of design flow into your work?
Thies Wulf:I believe that visual design work engages its own thought patterns and brain regions, and over the years of experience and design activity strengthens them "brain-mass-muscularly".

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