For all gestures and stories you have to invent the right characters, as well as the right atmosphere for all the content. It seems that the whole work of Henning is to create a very personal, lateral fiction in a very unpredictable way. He sees the world of design —he is a graphic designer, after all— as a metaphor for an imaginary building where you can watch comedy, tragedies, or dramas.
Theatre is more than only an allegory, he has worked in such uncommon way, which is obvious as to why his colourful illustrations have that strong impact. Take for example “Plastic Dog” the electronic comic-strip story he designed directly in a digital medium with a rough 8bit aesthetics. What could be seen as electronic trash, now survives in a cardboard picture-book. Originally designed for downloading on pocket computers, as well as for the print version of »Zeit«. The “Tobot Blocks” project name came from merging together the words “Toy” and “Robot”, a set of more than 1300 wooden blocks which are hand painted with words, pictures, signs and so on. If you combine together the various blocks you can obtain a city or a particularly scene, for example you can produce a story. Better, infinite stories: it’s like a small diorama of how theatrical scenery works. Every time he can invent new structures, images and of course combine a set of pre-fabricated words to obtain the title of the story. Is it a toy? Is it a combinatory design tool? It’s both, and more.
He has worked with a wide range of mediums and techniques to design his adventures. Of course books, but also illustrations for book-jackets and covers (super eye-catching are the series for Editions Attila), and also typefaces! In 2000 he published the Prater type family with FontFont, designed with Steffen Sauerteig. Starting from the brilliant hand-painted design that he made for reopen of Prater, the Berlin’s oldest beer garden, Wagenbreth took care of the visual equipment of the area, last used as a Kreiskulturhaus, using a very peculiar letter shape. And last but not least, stamps. Due to arrangement of this stamps were the design flows through one surface to the next, building a more complex narration. One of the most beautiful stamp he designed was for the fivehundredth year of Till Eulenspiegel German fairy-tale, an accurate and condensed narration of the story in a small space. Probably the only stamp that he has, hase a piece of shit designed on it. Coup de théâtre!