It was important to my wife and me that the interior space was closely interwoven with the exterior space, so that we could experience the times of the day and the seasons while we went about our daily lives. The ground floor was thus opened up using extensive glazing, making it appear very extroverted. The dining area on this floor, together with the terrace directly in front of it, really serve as a hub for our family. Upstairs, there are private rooms with more introverted space for retreat and the entire floor has a cosier, less open feel to it.
The building was primarily developed from the inside out. It was designed with our family’s needs in mind and not necessarily to fit a specific exterior look. Creating a sharp contrast with our surroundings was not the intent. Starting from this approach, together with the possibilities of modern construction, the house’s structure and thus its aesthetics were developed. A traditional gable roof was not structurally necessary and we did not want a sloped roof in the upper floor.
Our goal was to create an interpretation of the elements already existing in the surroundings: we deliberately choose raw, natural materials that would create a connection to the rural surroundings. Instead of white, high-gloss surfaces, we used “imperfect” exposed concrete and traditional clinker brickwork, though in a darker colour.
The materials we selected are very minimalist in character: the structure is made of concrete, the façade is clinker brickwork and concrete, for the flooring we chose oak parquet, the exterior is defined by the extensive glazing and the doors are covered with linoleum. My wife and I intended to reduce it to the essentials, without being dogmatic about it. For the materials, it was important to us to choose authentic or “honest” materials whenever possible. We wanted to show the materials in their raw form – without plastering or painting over them.
Originally, my wife and I had both wanted to live in a loft apartment in Hamburg. In a sense, we were able to recreate that same kind of style in the surfaces and the linear structure of our newbuild. The reasons for building our house out of concrete were twofold: first, that as an architect I have a personal affinity towards the material, and second, that my previous job working for a construction company shaped me and my designs, and now I work with this material on a daily basis.
These chairs are timeless classics and they fit our idea of successful minimalist design: form follows function. Moreover, comfort was a big factor for us, and these chairs are unbelievably comfortable. And, in the end, that is what really matters when it comes to seating.
The timeless design, which means not relying on aesthetic trends, as well as the high-quality manufacture make these chairs a sustainable choice with lasting value, far removed from our modern throw-away society and fast consumption habits. Then there is also the fact that the chairs can be repaired if need be and that it is possible to replace individual parts.
We wanted the chairs to fit subtly into the overall house concept without distracting from it. The chrome-coloured tubular steel, for example, glistens in the sunlight creating reflections of light that we deliberately incorporated into the design.
We enjoy the comfort of these chairs every single day and love their design. Over time they have seen a bit of wear and tear from daily use. Though it was initially quite painful to see, this also shows just how long-lasting the products are. When you consider how the chairs have been used, the wear and tear is really quite minimal. It’s quite a lot of fun to use them on a daily basis and we are very happy with our decision to acquire these “heirloom” pieces, which we will someday pass on to our children.
© Photos: Arnt Haug