Morten Stenbæk, Aries Chair Black, 2023
Self-taught designer and furniture maker Morten Stenbæk believes that success lies in achieving a perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality, blending elegance with ergonomic design. In Stenbæk’s workshop, his creative concepts materialize from hand sketches, gaining substance through his profound comprehension of the inherent potential of materials and his meticulous attention to proportion and measurement. While Stenbæk begins with drawings for each creation, he describes his process as “eye-to-hand.” Working intuitively, he possesses a profound awareness of both the finest details and the ultimate silhouette of the furniture. This approach combines a sense of control with improvisation, a technique honed through his years as a blues musician. The craftsmanship invested in each piece yields furniture meant to evoke an emotional response.
Stressing that his primary inspiration derives from the materials themselves and their associated techniques, Stenbæk currently focuses on mastering free-form lamination—an intricate technique involving the molding of three-dimensional shapes, in contrast to the conventional two-dimensional approach. Throughout the process, his ideas often arise during experiments with various bends and twists. By utilizing the process of stack laminated wood, Stenbæk explores the almost boundless possibilities of bending and shaping, allowing him to produce extraordinary forms. He ingeniously infuses the organic material with a newfound plasticity, constantly refining and challenging the design without compromising comfort and functionality. According to Stenbæk, there is no conflict between high sculptural value and practical use. In 2010, he created his first chair—a Scandinavian-inspired armchair with a molded back—which sold successfully. He reinvested the profit into his workshop, acquiring better machinery and tools.
Stenbæk is presently shaping his visual identity and openly acknowledges the impact of notable figures such as Wendell Castle, an American furniture artist renowned for revolutionizing furniture art. Additionally, he draws inspiration from Zaha Hadid, an Iranian architect and designer celebrated for her fluid and organic designs. Stenbæk affirms, “We operate within the same realm of organic aesthetics, where sculptural forms reign supreme. Just as I derive inspiration from others, I now find fellow artists crediting me on Instagram. Ultimately, it’s about embracing the opportunities afforded by these highly specialized techniques.” Stenbæk actively embraces novel approaches and designs while striving to forge his own unique style—a fusion of organic and sculptural design language characterized by elegant lines. Nature serves as a profound muse, with elements such as leaves, stems, branches, grasses, water, waves, and animals subconsciously influencing his work as guiding design principles. He relentlessly pursues beauty, appreciating shapes that please the eye and possess an inherent sense of harmony.
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