8th March 2022

5 Minutes with Designer Martin Ballendat

Fl@t Chair   We recently took five minutes of Martin Ballendat‘s time to discuss his long and varied career and what advice he had for up and coming designers working in the industry today.   Since 1994, you have won over 180 international design awards, 20 of which were ‘Best of the Best’ or ‘Gold […]

Fl@t Chair


We recently took five minutes of Martin Ballendat‘s time to discuss his long and varied career and what advice he had for up and coming designers working in the industry today.


My designs have been so successful because I thrive to find innovations not only within the technicalities, but also within the design itself.

One specific point for my studio is that the 1:1 realization of prototypes is vital for our design and development process. My German studio therefore possesses over 1000m2 and accommodates work areas for construction, engineering, upholstering, metal and plastic processing. This mirrors our understanding and concept of design. 

The design of furniture hasn’t really changed very much since then. It still demonstrates classic elements through clear lines.  Due to open plan living, furniture must fulfil more functions than ever. Nowadays furniture must have a purpose, fit in well within the environment and possess multiple functions.

The designing of living room furniture is surprisingly conservative compared to the designing of office areas. There have been much more spectacular innovations, and this is why this field is one of our most important legs to stand on. It is specifically within this area where we can fully test our competencies and reach top quality products. 

I believe it is vital to be open-minded about your own surroundings. This means that I travel often and embrace other cultures and look at everything that nature has to offer. I have clients all over the world and often combine visiting their headquarters with sightseeing and attending cultural and social events.

I thrive to achieve the impossible and get a lot of my ideas from mother nature. I am a big fan of natural shapes.

One of my favourite methods is the twisting and bending of materials which can be found in a lot of my products. It combines simplicity with beauty, almost a touch erotic, so to speak.

To produce a “green“ product is a must in my opinion. It is a designer`s personal responsibility to commit to a product that can be produced economically.

My favourite design or product is the “Fl@t Chair”. The Fl@t armchair is the result of a study that has changed the canons of the upholstery, reversing the traditional process, starting with padding a flat shape and then fixing it to the structure, thus obtaining its particular shape.

As mentioned before, my customers are based in a lot of different countries. I feel inspired when I can visit unique places.

I have my main studio at the “Attersee” and embrace the most amazing views from dawn till dusk. I draw my energy from the beautiful nature that surrounds me. Please also see below for additional pictures of “Privat Studio “Attersee”.

I have lectured over 17 years at the universities in Salzburg and Graz in Austria. My main advice to students has always been “to be persistent, have patience and only thrive for the best”. A good design needs a lot of stages before it achieves perfection. A good designer must be persistent and prepared to fight for his or her design.

 I recommend amending hand-sketches to show a personal signature. 

No one else but Charles Eames and Le Corbusier. Both are famous for their creativity and designs. I possess the utmost admiration for the architect “Santiago Calatrava”. I am inspired by his unique handwriting. 

 The three P’s – Passion, Patience and Power!

I fear that we face a strong diversion from the products as we know them. Our products are in danger of losing their originality due to the influence of modern digitalized technologies. Designers need to be able to see the change, be smart and come up with an idea to combine modern technology whilst sustaining the initial functionality, to be able to work against the alienation through modern digitisation.


Thank you to Martin Ballendat and his team for their time.


Concept Chair


Martin Ballendat bio:

Martin Ballendat was born in Bochum, Germany in 1958 and now lives and works in Simbach, Germany. In 1983 he obtained his diploma for industrial design at the Folkwang Schule University, Essen. Throughout his career, Martin has worked for more than 40 well known brands in 16 countries across the world, and for over 17 years he has also lectured in design at universities in Graz and Salzburg.



For a full collection of Martin Ballendat’s products at Sandler, please explore the ‘Designers’ category in the ‘About’ section at the top of this page.

Please get in touch at graeme@sandlerseating.com if you need any further information.