With a deep fascination for food, microbes, smell and taste, Philipp's work delves into the connectedness of our surroundings. Food has the possibility to reflect culture - its site specific biospheres envelop all of our senses. This interest brought Philipp to the Edinburgh food studio in Scotland in 2016. Here he gleaned a deep insight in a kitchen that reflects its nearby terroir, collaborating with local producers and supporting research that looks at food beyond the edge of the plate. He then graduated from the Food Non Food department at the Design Academy Eindhoven and has since explored the culinary traditions of the Swiss Alps while working as a shepherd.
Through the project 'Therianthropie' in 2017, Philipp interrogates how bodily smells are perceived as 'dirty', yet how these very scents are what bind us to our families, homes and the world around us. By injecting animal smells into soaps, he looked to contemporary hygienic rituals as a questioning of bodily scents and whether perceptions of smells change once separated from their source.
This fascination for scent wove into Philipp's work in the Alps, through the Archive of Alpine Olfactory Memories, which is collecting scent-related local stories told by alpine environments and its people. In distilling and materialising smell and taste, the archive hopes to reveal to a broad public how smell connects us sensually to our environments.
Philipp continues to investigate the identity of place as a sensory experience. Cheese is a medium that connects the land, animal and human and represents the relationships and interdependencies between them. ‘Cosmopolitan Cheese’ looks at how the local identity of the cheese is constructed through the interaction with bacteria. The installation is an assembly of tools and materials that are seen as touchpoints between cheese and bacteria. In every location the travelling exhibition goes to, a cheese is created by local craftsmen and then placed in the speculative cheese cellar for ripening. The cheeses and the whey are applied on the walls of the mobile cellar contribute to the bacterial culture each time the cellar is moved. Like that, truly cosmopolitan conditions develop – and influence the cheese ripening process.
In 2021, Kolmann ran the workshop 'Architecture for Microbes' in the WATERSCHOOL M4H+ at Studio Makking&Bey, investigating possible ways of peacefully interacting with microbes within our domestic environments. This followed the circular journey of making sourdough bread - from the soil to the crops and the process of fermentation into our foods. Microbiological communities help us to get the most out of our foods, nutrients and flavour. This workshop centred around care-giving as a practice, sharing local microbes in the form of fermented foods.
Currently, Kolmann is based in Amsterdam as part of the 3Package deal, and is working in collaboration with Mediamatic. Taking the 'embodied landscape' as a starting point, he will look for ways to express sensory connection to our surroundings, from the micro to the macro scale.