If you’ve ever looked at our products and wondered about the people who designed them, you’re in the right place. In this new blog series, we’ll be catching up with members of the Interface Design Studio from across the world, so you can get to know the talented team behind our collections.
First up is Jennifer (or Jenny) Schwerdtfeger, who shares insight into her role within the Design & Development team.
Hi Jenny! Can you tell us what your role is at Interface?
I’m Jenny, a Product Designer based in Krefeld, Germany. I joined Interface in 2014 and I’ve since been promoted to Product Designer. I am mainly responsible for custom colour developments, especially piece dyed custom products for all EMEA customers. I also work on product refreshes and new product developments, supporting the team on trend research.
How did you start your career in design?
I’ve loved interior design since I was a teenager, and I actually started with designing rooms and different prints for textiles, from curtains and wallpaper to bed linen. Then, after a vocational education as an interior designer, I decided to specialise in Textile Engineering at Niederrhein University of Applied Science. I joined Interface as a Graduate Textile Designer and I’ve since focused my career on developing new colourways across several Interface collections, including Touch and Tones II and Heuga 727.
Tell us about the team you work with
The Product Design Team is led by Mandy Leeming, Design Director EAAA, and Natalie Makowski, Product Design Manager EMEA. Before restrictions prevented face-to-face meetings, we used to meet regularly at Interface’s design centre in Halifax, UK. Now, we’ve embraced the convenience of Teams calls and have frequent contact to present ideas, exchange images and collaborate on collections. My usual remits are piece dyed custom developments, designing new products and refreshing existing Interface collections in line with emerging trends. The trend research is another range of tasks I am working on and being an administrator of our internal Design Tribe Blog to inspire the whole Interface team.
What’s been your biggest achievement at Interface so far?
Besides the successful product refreshes in the past, I think my biggest achievement relates to my first structured product development named Dolomite. With Dolomite, we introduced a textured loop pile product in response to a regional pull requirement. In close cooperation with our yarn supplier, we used a new high lustre yarn which is unique to us and designed a collection of 12 mineral inspired colours. Dolomite captivates by its perfect broadloom effect, offering natural warmth and richness with a gentle sparkle across the floor.
What are your favourite Interface collections and why?
I really like our new transition product Woven Gradience. It can seamlessly integrate with different colours and flooring solutions, creating bold, beautiful designs. The refreshed Heuga 727 collection is one of my favourites too, especially now that we have a wider refreshed palette and the option for custom colours, which are hugely popular with our customers. In the refreshed line, we have kept our bestseller but integrated lovely trending colours to give our customers even more choice.
How important is living and working in a sustainable way to you? Has working at Interface changed your mindset on sustainability?
Living and working sustainably is really important to me. In my personal life, I make environmentally conscious decisions around my water usage, and I use biodegradable and recyclable products, such as natural cleaning materials. But it’s through working at Interface that I’ve really learnt a lot about what sustainability and real climate action mean.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of work I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, going out to restaurants and supporting Bayern München football team. Designing and crafting new things is something I love doing both in my job and free time, so I do this a lot. In the past, I’ve made all sorts of things, including dream catchers, ceramics, and candles.
Are there any projects or brands you’ve been inspired by recently?
I love to look through magazines and online design articles to find inspiration for new products. One of my favourite publications is Flow magazine. I’ve recently been inspired by an article I read on Furoshiki – beautiful Japanese wrapping cloths, made with bright, bold prints. While they were traditionally used as wrap clothes at the public baths, they’re now being used as a more sustainable, reusable solution for wrapping gifts.
If you could give advice to someone who wanted to get into design, what would you say?
Don’t be afraid to follow your vision. You’ll need to be flexible, and circumstances may force you to rethink, but it’s the art of a designer to be able to keep your vision throughout the whole design process. I also think it’s important not to fear what you don’t know – you can always learn from others.