ANTE UP: Design as part of the solution
The design studio ANTE UP, the brainchild of Benedikt Stonawski and Hauke Unterburg, combines traditional craftsmanship with modern production techniques to identify sustainable solutions. The two designers’ COLUMN concept won a €7,000 prize in the Creatives for Vienna: Future Communities competition in 2021.
You founded the product design studio ANTE UP in Vienna in 2020. Was it particularly challenging to start a business during the coronavirus pandemic?
We decided to found our own design studio before the onset of the pandemic. This meant we were getting started in what was a highly uncertain time for us all. Although we weren’t directly affected by the measures put in place by the government, some of our orders from the hospitality and events sectors disappeared overnight. That showed us how useful it is to have more than more than one string to our bow.
The Founders Lab – Creative Industries helped us a lot with numerous entrepreneurial challenges. Following a holistic approach, we were able to discuss all important areas of starting a company with industry experts and learned a great deal. We also had the opportunity to get to know other young entrepreneurs in the same situation and exchange ideas with them. We found the structured hypothesis testing particularly helpful and have now integrated it in our day-to-day work. At the moment, we are developing our first recyclable furniture and accessory collection, which has been supported by funding from the creative_pioneer programme.
What impact do you hope your “COLUMN” project, which was recognised in the Creatives for Vienna competition, will have on future communities in Vienna?
Public spaces have become increasingly important for communities over the last pandemic-dominated year, as they provided a fall-back for many encounters and interactions. In future, the city should also look to create consumption-free spaces and services outside of living rooms and cafés so that people can eat, work and meet safely. Given that public spaces often serve different functions in different seasons, we regard temporary outdoor furniture as a useful option.
Which are your favourite public spaces in Vienna and why?
Weghuberpark is a short distance from our studio in the 7th district. It’s right beside the ring road but is still surprisingly peaceful. We often spend a little while there at lunchtime and enjoy our breaks surrounded by greenery.