Photo by Lauris Aizupietis

Until May 28, the exhibition Gradual by the internationally recognised Latvian designer Germans Ermičs is on view at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga. It is the first solo show of the Amsterdam-based designer in Latvia, and it features Germans’ most significant work since the founding of his studio in 2014, shedding light on his work process and philosophy.

Stories Editorial May 9, 2023

By combining design and art, Germans Ermičs creates outstanding work, acknowledged and highly acclaimed across the world. «The exhibition includes both the key objects of Germans Ermičs’ career — his graduation project Isometric Mirrors and the Ombré Glass Chair — and works that reveal the diversity of the designer’s ideas, such as the marble side table Pele de Tigre, which demonstrates an innovative stone processing technique. The Shaping Colour installation, created for the exhibition Design Miami/ Basel in 2021, has also been built inside the museum. Most importantly, the exhibition shows Germans’ purposeful flow of thoughts and actions, through which these works are created,» says Evelīna Ozola, the curator of the exhibition.


Germans’ approach to design can be described as a gradual, determined movement towards the final aesthetic result, striving to give materiality to intangible phenomena, transforming two-dimensional shapes into spatial objects and lifting the limitations of visual perception.The designer’s works are permeated by his heightened sensitivity to the properties of materials and passion for optical illusions. He ingeniously applies the laws of perspective to construct space-bending mirrors, and works painterly with colour, saturating glass surfaces with gently flowing tonal transitions.

Germans Ermičs was born in Riga in 1985. He learned the basics of design and art in Denmark, later studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. In 2007, together with friends in Riga, he founded the culture, music and fashion magazine Veto. Germans created the design concept of the printed publication and continued as its artistic director until 2018.


Having started his career as a graphic designer, during his studies in Eindhoven Germans gradually turned to making three-dimensional objects. This is the beginning of Germans’ fascination with colour and its ability to influence the form of objects, surrounding environment and viewers’ perception. Germans graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2011 with the diploma work Isometric Mirrors, in which he makes use of his interest in optical illusions. His project was picked up by Frame magazine, and at the graduation exhibition Germans was approached by the influential Milan gallerist Rossana Orlandi, with whom the designer continues to collaborate to this day.


Having accumulated experience in a number of design offices, in 2014, Germans founded his own studio in Amsterdam. A year later, at Salone del Mobile in Milan, the designer presented his first collection, Shaping Colour, which he continued to develop over the following years. In 2016, The New York Times Style Magazine ranked Germans among the 15 most promising young designers, he was one of the finalists of the Design Parade Hyères and earned his first award from the Wallpaper* magazine.


The 2017 Salone del Mobile in Milan saw the debut of Germans’ Ombré Glass Chair — a contemporary interpretation of the Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata’s iconic Glass Chair. This work has become an important turning point in Germans’ career — the visually appealing chair toured the world’s most respected design publications and exhibitions. The well-known designers Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh have selected Ombré chair among the world’s most beautiful objects. Ombré Glass Chair is also part of the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design collection.


Germans has also completed works in interior design and architecture, among them, the interior design of an underground station in Seoul, South Korea, installations for the London and Amsterdam stores of fashion brands Raf Simons and Wandler, and, in collaboration with the social media company Instagram, he created the pavilion Where The Rainbow Ends in Cannes, France.

The exhibition Gradual at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga will be on display until May 28. The curator of the exhibition is architect, urbanist, and publicist Evelīna Ozola. The graphic design was created by Alexey Murashko. The exhibition will be complemented by original works of photographer Filips Šmits and musician Artūrs Liepiņš, created in collaboration with Germans Ermičs. The exhibition is organised by the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Latvian Design Centre and FOLD, financially supported by Creative Industries Fund NL, State Culture Capital Foundation and the Future Support Fund.