Stockholm, Sweden | Wood: red oak
Martin Thübeck is a Swedish designer who works and lives in Stockholm. He trained in Interior Architecture and Furniture Design, taking and graduated with a masters from Konstfack (University College of Arts, Crafts and Design) in 2020. He is currently working on establishing his own studio. Martin was awarded a scholarship from the IKEA foundation in 2019 and won the Design S – Swedish Designs Awards furniture category in 2020. His work is characterised by a playful approach that results in an expansion of the general conception of function. Balancing between the quirky and the sublime.
‘I remember being in panic mode and wondering what I should do. I thought it would be impossible to find work, especially being new to the scene. It was a fun way of trying to cope with the situation.’
The design process
While confined at home with his young children, Thübeck found inspiration for his piece in the way they adapted their surroundings for play, challenging conventional ways to use furniture: ‘Limitations became possibilities,’ he comments.
The making of the final piece
Thübeck elected to use red oak. ‘Primarily I was interested in the pigmentation,’ he says. ‘Red oak soaks up pigment and gives a depth to it.’ Initially, the designer and manufacturer, WeWood, experimented with using solid wood before realising the piece was going to be too heavy. Instead, they built a frame and clad the piece, meaning it’s hollow on the inside. ‘I think we reduced its weight by 50 or 60 per cent,’ confirms WeWood’s Philipp Grundhoefer ‘It was a challenging piece. There was lots of manual work. It’s basically all handmade.’
The end result
After looking at traditional furniture and playground equipment, Thübeck developed a piece (Rå, meaning ‘pure’ in Swedish, also referring to a mythical forest creature from local folklore that can change its appearance) whose construction is informed by Swedish craft, and whose function can be interpreted either as a chair or a slide, as it is flipped upside down.