What Aristotle already knew

Logic, Morals, Magic. Strong words with great meaning, easy to speak, though. Phoenix Design has been active as a design and innovation consultancy for 30 years according to the philosophy of “Logic, Morals and Magic” – today, for tomorrow. It’s a philosophy as unique as it is idiosyncratic, since these terms are rather unusual in a design context. So where does it come from?

The inspiration comes from the triad of logos, ethos, and pathos – from Aristotle’s rhetoric. We believe that not only a good speech, but also good design has to consist of these three elements in order to be convincing. So far, so good. But how do we put this into practice?

Joon-Mo Lee, Design Strategy Manager at Phoenix Design, in the project.

LOGIC is our performance. It speaks from the mind to the mind. For design only has substance when it is clever and compelling, well thought-through to the last detail. So we understand logic as the art to penetrate the complexity of variables and to draw the right conclusions for our customers. It’s about the rational elements in the process, functionality, ergonomics, material appropriateness. The results of our work are always realistic, realisable and pragmatic. They speak for themselves; their construction, function and benefit can be comprehended intuitively.

Senior Designer Felix Mattes designs the overlap of products with sustainability.

MORALS is our attitude – the respect towards the client, the product, and the user. It determines our motivation and the consequences of our actions. For design comes with obligations and a high degree of social responsibility that we have to face anew with each project. Our designs are sometimes replicated millions of times and use up incredible amounts of raw materials – both in their production and in their usage. So Morals represents our attitude towards solutions characterised by honesty and a sense of responsibility: towards ourselves, and towards others.

The term “Morals” also reminds us of our societal and cultural role as designers. We want to design meaningful innovations that serve humanity and that make eminent sense. That’s why economical use of materials, longevity, sustainability, and recyclability have an important influence on our design.

Phoenix Designerin Laura Somaglino designing the SUMMERA luminaire by Shapes.

MAGIC … is inexplicable. It’s the emotional within the functional you cannot copy – meaningful, touching, unique. It is the art to enthuse, the “wow” effect in each product. Magic is more than just the sum of all parts, and it stands for wonderful products and experiences, touching people and making their lives richer. Magical experiences have life-long repercussions, and magical products are loved by their owners their whole life long. We want to fill the world with things that are being loved and that rise above mediocrity.

In our team, we live these values, too. We inspire each other, we are curious, and we are working with passion and courage in order to convey our enthusiasm for useful design.

Tom Schönherr & Andreas Haug
Tom Schönherr & Andreas Haug

Founders, Managing Partners

Andreas Haug (left) and Tom Schönherr (right), today both of them Phoenix Design Managing Partners, founded the design studio Phoenix Design in Stuttgart back in 1987. Their career is linked most closely to the rise of modern German design. Andreas Haug and Tom Schönherr have already received the Lucky Strike Designer Award as well as the German Design Award Personality for their overall achievements.