Peter Schmidt is one of the most influential designers in Germany. He has made a reputation for himself all over the world. It is through his clear approach that he has become an integral part of the leading design elite. His scope of work extends from packaging design to corporate design and all the way to architecture. The fulcrum of his life has been the Hanseatic City of Hamburg for the last fifty years. Here, in the advertising capital of the Federal Republic of Germany is where Schmidt, who was born in Bayreuth, came in 1967 after completing his degree at the Werkkunstschule in Kassel. In Hamburg, he first worked as the Creative Director at the advertising agency of Verclas + Böltz. Then, in 1972, he founded the Peter Schmidt Studios and made his debut as an independent designer with his design of a tea tin for the “White Elephant” brand. In 2006, he sold his shares to the Peter Schmidt Group and is presently the Managing Director at Peter Schmidt, Belliero & Zandée GmbH. This is a design and branding agency in Hamburg which operates all over the world.
Peter Schmidt today
Since 2012, Peter Schmidt has collaborated with Daniel Belliero and Marcel Zandée as PSBZ (Peter Schmidt, Belliero and Zandée GmbH). In 2006 Peter Schmidt sold the Peter Schmidt Group and since then he is no longer operating the group. 12 people are working in the PSBZ studio today, which is based in Hamburg’s HafenCity. PSBZ works successfully for a renowned and international clientele and sees itself as a holistic, modern design studio for brand identity. PSBZ sees itself as a holistic, modern design studio for brand identity. The spectrum ranges from corporate design, packaging and product design to UX and brand spaces. True to Schmidt’s conviction that “only the sum of the whole is purposeful and not a conglomeration of individual solutions”. The works submitted by PSBZ impresses the jury of the Red Dot Design Award on a regular basis. In 2016, for example, the PRANA + workplace floor lamp has convinced the international jury with the combination of high quality of light together with an intelligent control technology and a high-tech sensor.
Breakthrough with Jil Sander
He got his breakthrough through the design of the logo for the fashion designer, Jil Sander, who is a resident of Hamburg. This and the creation of the flacon for her first woman’s perfume “Woman Pure”, which was introduced to the market in 1979 were the accomplishments that aided his ascent to becoming an internationally renowned designer. The perfume and the cubic flacon, made of frosted glass, went on to become legends themselves. “Woman Pure” has already been exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art and can also be seen at the currently running exhibition, Jil Sander. Präsens at the Museum Angewandte Kunst (Museum for Applied Arts) in Frankfurt am Main.
Iconic perfume flacons
The creation of unmistakable packaging designs was to become a trade mark for Peter Schmidt. Aside from other flacons for Jil Sander, Schmidt also worked for brands such as Joop, Hugo Boss, Strellson and Laura Biagiotti, among others. His efforts helped to a large extent in building those brands. How important good packaging is, is explained by the example of “4711”. For many years, this well-established Eau de Cologne was taboo for the younger target group. In 2011, that suddenly changed after Peter Schmidt redesigned the flacon and, in that way, brought the perfume back into the present. Thanks to these successes, it is hardly surprising that many of his perfume flacons have achieved the status of classics and are still available in shops even after many years. Ones that are particularly iconic and popular include the flacons for “Cool Water” by Davidoff and “Roma” by Laura Biagiotti. But Schmidt did not only make a success of perfumes. In 1994 he created the Apollinaris mineral water bottle, another icon – a simple bottle that fascinates you through the use of a minimum of design elements.
Corporate design for companies and institutions
Aside from the design of packaging materials, Peter Schmidt also made his mark in the development of corporate design for companies and institutions. His reference list is a Who’s Who and extends from Beiersdorf to Henkel and over to Weleda. In 2000, Peter Schmidt also gave the Red Dot Design Awards an internationally recognisable and coherent brand image. And he gave a new logo to the Hanseatic City of Hamburg and also to the German Federal Armed Forces. The latter was a particularly challenging task – as he disclosed in an interview with the magazine of the Süddeutschen Zeitung. This was because he had to succeed in changing the emblem in such a way that it had to be suited to an army for peace.
Peter Schmidt as a stage designer and architect
Right from the 1990s, Peter Schmidt has dedicated himself, more and more, to stage design for ballet, opera and the theatre. Amongst others, he worked with John Neumeier’s ballet production of “Death in Venice”, which continues to be staged internationally and this from 2003 onwards. Further, Schmidt’s stage designs and costumes gave Ichirô Nodairo’s “Madrugada” opera a unique look. This opera was performed for the first time at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in 2005 under the musical direction of Kent Nagano. Schmidt’s restrained and elegant design language has helped the Hamburger Staatsoper (Hamburg State Opera) and the Konzerthalle Bamberg (Bamberg Concert Hall) to climb to new heights; he is responsible for the renovation of the foyer there.
What is common to his varied works is a certain formal rigour, which has become his trade mark and, in particular, has made a lasting impact on the look of his consumer products.
Posted on 10.12.2017