Obituary for Prof. Peter Raacke
R.I.P. Prof. Peter Raacke (*27.09.1928 †20.03.2022)
Giving shape with one's hands, using them to make something out of raw material: Craft was the basis of Peter Raacke's designs, to which he gave his creative seal of approval, a nod of approval, only after the most intensive processing. We had the pleasure of getting to know him with such precision and focus in the iF jury, where he shone with his expertise and added striking interjections. As a participant in the Starnberg Talks, which in August 2008 were dedicated to the question “How much design can the climate take?” at the invitation of iF, he also emphasized his own role model function for young designers.
Born in Hanau in 1928, Peter Raacke's talent for designing things, for letting something come into being, first developed in drawing lessons and then during his training as a silver and goldsmith. What a coincidence that he assisted at the Cologne Art and Crafts Schools (“Kölner Werkschule”) from 1949 to 1961, since the proximity to the “Glaub cutlery house”, in front of whose shop window countless design students made a pilgrimage over the years to marvel at the “Mono A” cutlery at close quarters, is a stroke of luck. Because not far away, in Mettmann, the success story of this classic began, which stands for Raacke's consistent combination of quality and production like no other. Together with Herbert Seibel, the family shareholder of the company, and the graphic designer Karl Oskar Blase, the industrial designer revolutionized the idea of stainless steel cutlery.
Away from ornate reminiscence and towards simple, functional elegance “from a block”, the Mono A was ahead of its time. Hardly anyone took notice of the design in 1958, the year Raacke became a founding member of the VDID.
It was not until 1973, when it was awarded the Federal Prize for Good Design, “Gute Form“, that the cutlery became an aesthetic statement for subsequent generations, for whom Ulm meant a new design order. Raacke taught here from 1963 to 1967 and in 1966 even created a modern vision of portable “revolutionary” identity in the colour red with the “Ulmer Koffer” (Ulm Case) made of polypropylene, in which wallpapering tools were to find their place.
To call him a jack-of-all-trades is to describe the diversity of his œuvre, but not the precision that always underlies it. Whether corrugated cardboard furniture, ovens, office and rattan furniture, cooking pots - or the Mono A cutlery: Peter Raacke observed, questioned and shaped. For a liberated, natural function of things in the eye and hand of the beholder.
Prof. Peter Raacke passed away on 20 March 2022 at the age of 93.
Our thoughts are with his wife, children, family and friends.
We will cherish his memory.
Uwe Cremering, iF Managing Director and the entire iF team