What is graft? The English word ‘graft’ provokes a variety of meanings and multiple readings. It stands for transplants in the field of medicine, for cheating, but also for hard work. In the terminology of botany, grafting is described as the addition of one shoot onto a genetically different host. The positive properties of two genetically different cultures are combined in the new biological hybrid.
What is graft in Design? Using this example in botany as a point of departure we understand it at graft as a phenomenon in human culture and examine its implications for the built environment. We live in an age where the identity of the individual becomes displaced from his original physical context and has to continually find new identities by engaging with local and global environments, enriching new definitions through changed locations and media. How can we define ‘identity in motion’? What is fixed and what is mutable? How can the two conditions in varying state of equilibrium continue to support and benefit one another? The traditional boundaries of the Design Profession must be increasingly questioned to include interdisciplinary methods and techniques that as a matter of practice expand the quest for meaning and enrichment. Typically, our research spans a wide variety of archetypes from different sources: high culture, low culture, philosophy, banality, architecture, movies, literature, sports etc. Analysis, communication and thereby the creation of relationships between and across these entities is graft. Our product refuses to accept the exclusive limitations of artificial borders between disciplines and elements and opens new possibilities for the creation of expansive results. Unexpected and surprising misunderstandings, global transfer of spatial quality, and the production of robust crossbreeds – a product derived out of circumstances, which can only be created through the grafting of different realities. Spread across continents, multiple disciplines and experience levels there is a mix of native and foreign at all locations and in all phases of a graft project. The consequential connections and adjacencies produced and mutated out of this richness of process both inspire and drive graft and its body of work.
GRAFT is a full service design firm located in Los Angeles, Berlin, and Beijing. Our collective professional experience encompasses a wide array of design types including Hospitality Design, Fine Arts, Educational, Institutional, Commercial and Residential facilities. The firm has won numerous awards in Europe as well as in the United States.
GRAFT was established in 1998 in Los Angeles, California by Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit. Alejandra Lillo became a partner at Graft LA in 2007. Graft later opened offices in Berlin, Germany in 2001 as well as in Beijing, China in 2005 with Gregor Hoheisel as a partner.
GRAFT was conceived as a ‘Label’ for Design, Urban Planning, Exhibition Design, Music and the “pursuit of happiness”. Since the firm was established, it has been commissioned to design and manage a wide range of projects in multiple disciplines and locations. With the core of the firm’s enterprises gravitating around the field of the built environment, GRAFT has always maintained an interest in crossing the boundaries between disciplines and “grafting” the creative potentials and methodologies of different realities. This is reflected in the firm’s expansion into the fields of music, car design, art installations, academic projects and “eventings” as well as in the variety of project locations in Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, France and in the U.S. and Mexico.
With a staff of talented professionals and administrators, GRAFT has the resources and technology necessary to execute a project from programming to design and the supervision of the finished product. GRAFT has rigorously undertaken an increasing role in programming, master-planning and urban design. Additionally, our firm maintains successful relationships, as needed, with associate architectural and engineering firms and specialty consultants.