Profile | Industrial Designer Daniel Huber of Spirit Design

Design is not just a profession, it’s a way of life. Whether it’s on the runway, backstage, on the go or online, these designers both live and love what they do

Industrial Designer, Spirit Design

Daniel Huber, 49, can show his children what he does in pretty much the same way they can show him what they do. Kids bring things home from school and proudly say, “I made this!” So whether it’s a train, a tractor or a fire engine, examples of what Dad does are easy to come by – the only difference is he can’t bring them home.

At Spirit Design, the company Huber founded with his partner Georg Wagner in 1993, the physical object is just one part of a much bigger picture. For them, it is not just about designing a product, it’s also about handling an entirely integrated, “holistic” process through implementation, strategy and branding.

“A product is also a conveyor of a brand,” Huber explained. “In what we do, industrial design is always just one stone within an entire mosaic of factors.” One of these is sustainability, demonstrated by some of their most loyal clients: ÖBB Railjet and the City Airport Train. Through this integrated approach, these vehicles are “designed and branded as attractively as possible to bring people out of their cars and onto the railway.”

This message of sustainability plays a central role in his teaching of industrial design at the FH Joanneum University of Applied Arts.

“As designers, we have a huge responsibility,” he emphasized. “I always tell [my students] to think in terms of a sense of purpose, that what they’re creating makes sense.”

This is clear from the company’s motto, “We get you ready for the future,” embodying a philosophy of holistic and sustainable design. For Huber, improving the world is not just about making life more comfortable, it’s about making it better. Recently, he was asked by a student what his ideal “smart home” would be.

“I told him that, for me,” he recalled, with a furtive smile, “it would be a simple Almhütte (mountain cabin) with no electricity. Bringing us down to earth is the real luxury of our time.”

Janima Nam
Janima Nam
Janima Nam is a freelance journalist, translator, and editor living in Vienna. She has a BFA in film from New York University and a Masters degree (MA) from the London Consortium in Interdisciplinary Studies.

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