Michael Lysemose and Nicolai de Gier design furniture for everyday use that reflects their passion for craftsmanship and responsible use of materials. They met at the Royal Danish Academy, where Michael was trained as an architect and Nicolai is a professor and head of MA in Furniture Design. Both have hands-on trade experience; with Michael as a boat builder and Nicolai a cabinetmaker. Together, they have exhibited several times at Snedkernes Autumn exhibition and designed furniture and fittings for churches, museums and restaurants. They work together at TAKT where Michael Lysemose is product developer and Nicolai de Gier is design director.
Hey, guys! We appreciate your focus on craft and responsible manufacturing. Tell us more about your philosophy.
In many ways, now is the most difficult time to be a designer. We are living in a transition period where we know we must consume less and learn to produce in new ways. What we, as designers, bring into this world must last longer – both physically and emotionally – and we must use resources wisely, with respect for the planet’s symbiosis.
Everyone tries to create their own recipe for good design, of course, but we start with a focus on familiar forms that people will recognise and feel like they already know. It must have a surprising twist: a new detail or refinement that catches your curiosity and evolves the typology. But it’s important that the furniture we design, which we hope is handed down to future generations, does not go out of fashion. It must have emotional durability.
Emotional durability is so important. Our goal is that TAKT furniture becomes so familiar that it’s part of the family. Could you describe the character of the new Turn Chair and Turn Table?
As designers we are constantly thinking about how people live and what problems we could solve for them. We design products to improve life.
We noticed that people were increasingly living in smaller spaces and that the furniture industry wasn’t designing for them much. Dining tables and chairs were often too big and angular for a compact space. So we started thinking about how to evolve the forms of familiar dining furniture to make a compact chair more comfortable, improve circulation around the tables and stack a bunch of chairs in the corner for a spontaneous feast! We designed Turn Chair and Turn Table so that TAKT customers can always squeeze another friend around the table.
The first design was exhibited at Snedkernes Autumn Exhibition in 2021. We had wonderful conversations with visitors who responded well to the rounded shape and the friendly and practical character of Turn Chair. Afterwards we designed a complimentary table that is perfect in apartments, small homes or cafés. Turn Table seats four people comfortably, despite only measuring 89 cm wide. The superellipse table top allows you to seat even more if you’re happy to sit close!
The superellipse makes such a difference. Could you explain why you designed that shape?
The superellipse is neither round nor rectangle, but something in-between. Its flowing lines invite movement and conversation without the rigid hierarchy of an angular setting. Without the corners of a square, it creates more places to sit and brings people together. Although angular tables work well in larger spaces, they can be quite obstructive in small spaces.
Designers are so passionate about chairs. Why do you think that is?
Chairs are like little creatures that occupy our everyday spaces. They are helpful and faithful creatures that set the mood of your home.
We think of the Turn collection as a little family of fun, unpretentious and useful companions for your dining room or kitchen. Always there, ready for your daily gatherings, but up for a party, too!
How did you find working with TAKT’s Eco System Design Principles?
TAKT’s Eco System Design Principles are a very important checklist to work with. We think more designers should reference them.
As mentioned earlier there is no clear recipe for good design, but paying attention to these principles will help you design for longer life and careful use of resources.
The Turn collection is made of laminated and moulded wood, which ensures a minimum consumption of resources, and the production is optimised so that, for example, you can press several chair legs at the same time and afterwards cut them out. The chair and table are of course component-based, so they can be sent flat-packed and parts can be replaced so that the furniture has as long a lifetime as possible – TAKT calls this Perpetual Sustainable Design.
And finally, within this project what are you most proud of?
Designing a product that responds to both a specific user need and all of the different demands TAKT’s ethos has, of course, been very motivating for us. Designers like to solve problems because they ensure that the product has a purpose. If you’re designing something that doesn’t solve a problem, it probably shouldn’t exist. Besides the product, we are most proud of the collaboration between us, the rest of the team at TAKT and the manufacturers. Making things together with other people means the most to us.