The Kufenkarl is a broad collection including a standard, lounge, counter and rocking lounge chair as well as a two-position study chair. Flat-pack and quality is all the range with Kufenkarl. With the same blueprint as Michael Thonet’s 19th-century chairs, shipped unassembled, this oak and walnut range sees new opportunities for an environmentally sound chair made at the highest standard. Inspired by knockdown furniture, danish designer Boris Berlin has created a warm, wooden, collection. Manufactured without any dowels, using sophisticated machine work that allows you to assemble and disassemble the pieces with ease. Kufenkarl is a modern take on a 50s classic, with new utility added to a tactile and friendly archetype. The rediscovering of this beauty is timely, filling our private and public rooms with a well thought through and durable construction that celebrates both leisure and productive use.
It started as a sturdy school seat in the 1950s Germany, albeit with a vision to get away from the traditional bench interiors and enter the era of individual easily accessible wooden chairs. And in the 90s, after more than six million chairs produced, collect.studio founder, Magnus Breitling found himself spending long hours in Karl Northelfer’s Kufenstuhl, or skid chair.
“Being in school in the German Black Forest, I sat on a Kufenstuhl every day. These wooden chairs had withstood use and tear for thirty years by that time, and I remember the impressive construction and a soft, beautifully aging tactility,” Breitling recalls, “the design is social, durable and safe and with a form that resembles a bird, standing sturdy on two legs. I wanted to bring that reassuring Northern European design symbolism back to this momentarily crazy world.”
Now, Breitling brought Kufenstuhl to Danish designer Boris Berlin and together they looked at the possibility of translating the fundaments of the chair into a new language. “I started studying the chair and quickly began making versions of it. We are in a different time today, which is why we are moving Karl’s skid chair into a contemporary context – adding realms of widened usability, smart flatpack and modern manufacturing,” Berlin says. What is telling is that despite being based on a former school chair, collect.studio’s Kufenkarl is designed for all aspects of modern living: dining, playing, working and relaxing. Proof perhaps that the construction of the two-legged chair lives beyond the boundaries of the school environment, entering our homes and lounges as an elegant yet practical shape. “We all depend on previous generations of designers, just like handing over a baton during the 400 m relay at the summer Olympics.” Berlin says, “However, it’s a delicate matter, and a question of not pressing too heavily on the shoulders of those before us – but acting as a ‘lifting force,’ adding something new to what has been,” Berlin concludes.
Designer Dd/Partner Boris Berlin Design
KOMPLOT Design & ISKOS-BERLIN Design
Member of Danish Design CouncilCopenhagen, Denmark
Boris began his career in 1975 as an industrial and graphic designer at VNIITE in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). In 1983 moved to Denmark, founded Boris Berlin Design, in 1987 co-founder and partner of Komplot Design, in 2010 co-founded partnership Iskos-Berlin Design