Homestory ZWEI Design

Home tour with ZWEI Design

An interview with Talitha and Michael Bainbridge

Tell us a little about yourselves...

We’re Michael and Talitha, a German-American couple with a passion for interiors and design. We live in southern Germany, directly on the Swiss-French border, or in the “border triangle” as everyone calls it here. We started our own interior design studio, ZWEI Design, a few years ago and we love what we do.

We are passionate about materials, colours, objects and furniture and are always on the lookout for new and also old objects and furniture pieces that pique our interest. Our designs are all about combining the new with the old.

We believe that longevity is an important component of sustainability, which is also one of the reasons we enjoy working with “old” furniture. We believe that every design, regardless of when it was created, can become a real visual highlight again in the right setting.

Homestory Zwei Design
Homestory Zwei Design
Homestory Zwei Design

What do you pay attention to in terms of sustainability in the interior design of your own house?

That’s a good question. In our line of work we are confronted on an almost daily basis with the negative aspects of tearing down and throwing away building materials, furniture, etc. Sometimes it’s really hard to have to throw away high-quality materials that are still good, simply because the customer wants to have something “new.” That’s why we find it important to use furniture and materials in our own home that are long-lasting rather than following specific trends. We want the rooms we design to be able to stand up to constantly changing trends. As we said before: for us, sustainability is really about longevity. Not just in terms of quality, but also in design. Our aim is to buy quality pieces right from the start and not simply follow trend after trend or use cheaply manufactured furniture that will just be discarded after a few months or years.

This philosophy also means that we try to buy second-hand furniture whenever possible. We love picking up furniture or decorative pieces in second-hand and antique shops. For us, giving a piece of furniture a second life is sustainability in practice.

Homestory Zwei Design
Homestory Zwei Design

Why did you choose Thonet furniture and where did you get hold of it?

We decided on Thonet furniture because it brings together our two pillars of sustainability: long-lasting design and quality manufacturing. Thonet chairs are truly design classics. They look every bit as good today as they did 100 years ago. We love the quality of the materials and the fact that the chairs can be restored. The eight Thonet 209 chairs in our dining room were purchased from a hotel. They are over 50 years old but they’re still in great condition and they look just as good as when they were fresh out of the Thonet factory. We just needed to get a few of the canework seats replaced, which we had done in a Caritas repair shop here in Freiburg, and now the chairs look and feel like new again.

Which Thonet pieces are still on your wish list?

Oh, there’s a lot :-) Michael especially likes Thonet’s office furniture. Since our office is next on our interior project list, we have our eyes on the S 32 cantilever chair and the S 285 desk. We love the timeless, minimalist design of this tubular steel furniture.


© Photos: Zwei Design, Adine Schweizer (Lichtspiel Fotografie)

Homestory Zwei Design
At home with ZWEI Design: a classic dining area with model 209 bentwood chairs


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Zwei Design

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