In 1999 German industrial designer Birgit Lohmann co-founded Designboom in Milan Italy with Massimo Mini. Designboom was the first independent web publication dedicated to architecture and design.
"Based in Milan with her family, Birgit Lohmann runs the website of her own creation, Designboom. At Designboom, people from around the world can compete in design competitions, view design jobs and share their design work.
"Having created one of the go-to websites for design knowledge, Birgit Lohmann is certainly on the cutting edge. We had the chance to speak with her about the role trend spotting plays in her work with Designboom.
"1. How did you get involved with Designboom and what motivates you to continue?
"I practiced as an industrial designer and product development manager for 15 years, I worked for a number of Italian architects and master designers which include Achille Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Bruno Munari, Enzo Mari and Renzo Piano. At that time we did not use computers, we drew by hand and made lots of models and prototypes. I was able to work on the first chair using polypropylene and developed the tools for producing it. I enjoyed the work so much, that I did not plan to work on my own, but then there was a time when the ‘eternal assistant’ aspired for more autonomy.
"Two of the things I like best - spending time in nature and figuring out how things work. I got to combine these things through Internet publishing. Massimo Mini and I founded Designboom in 1999. We left Milan with our two children (at that time 9 and 5 years old) and lived in Bali for a while. In between tropical plants in our garden we created an open air office with 4 desks, where the kids did drawings and homework (which was sent to us by email from their Italian school teachers) and we created and updated Designboom.
"1999 - we are the ‘grandparents’ of online publishing in the field of art, architecture and design. When we started there were only two other relevant sites, the American Core77.com and the Belgian DesignAddict.com. Core77 was created by students inside the university and this targeted their audience - students and young professionals. Designaddict was initially a XX century design collector’s database. Designboom, because of our work experience, always reached design professionals. The ‘real world’ is a place where things change all the time, and it is essential to be updated continuously.
"Based in Milan, our small international team is still made up of designers, not journalists. We talk about real experience, cultural intents and influences, restraints and contradictions. We stimulate a global discussion and the rapport that we’ve established with our readers and the greater design community keeps us motivated. It’s a lot of work, not exactly a typical 9-to-5 job, but we spend our days sharing ideas with people of all ages and backgrounds from more than 200 countries. Seriously - what could be better?!" (http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/birgit-lohmann-interview. accessed 01-15-2013).