The Sculptural Minimalist
Since graduating from the Royal Danish Institute of Design, Danish designer Maria Bruun has been creating objects and furniture that push the boundaries between the aesthetic and the functional, the artistic and the commercial.
Working within the tradition of sculptural minimalism, her work brings simple constructions in which everything superfluous has been removed into tight harmony, producing objects that are distinguished by their clean, intentional silhouette. Always focused on the perfection of crafted details, Bruun has a playful, experimental relationship to material, and her work often seeks to explore the potential for engagement between a product and the space it will occupy.
Looking ahead, what do you see as the biggest challenges or invitations for you in your work?
- My focus in recent years has been to transform a subjective artistic practice into more commercially available products. I have been working in the field of tension between design, art, and craft, and seeking to create objects that are not only useful, but also meaningful. From where I stand, I see consumers being increasingly aware and informed, with high demands for the objects they surround themselves with. They want products with longevity, both when it comes to materials and design, and that naturally creates an emphasis on sustainability, both in terms of materials and design quality.
Are there certain themes or motifs, materials, colors, or styles that remain constant for you, no matter the project?
- I mainly work with wood; I feel that the quality of wood is fantastic. The fascination of receiving a log, knowing its time and place in the world. Sawing, cutting, trimming, and planing the wood - controlling the forces by studying its grain and structure, refining its curves and reconstructing it. And that's why I add all that value to a single piece of furniture or object - it fascinates me every time! For me, wood is a material with superpowers, a material that lasts for generations if you repair and maintain it. It contains stories, both emotional, but also in its veins and knobs. It creates a warm atmosphere and it is a living material that moves and changes over time; it has a soulfulness. It has a smell, the wood is a tactile material that contains softness and has a warm touch. It is a material available to all of us - children, adults, skilled, unskilled - and in that way I see wood as a very democratic material.
How did your collaboration with Reform evolve?
- When Reform reached out to me, I was intrigued by their ambition to create a series of handles by a group of female designers. I related to the idea of personalizing your kitchen, and I found it quite interesting to scale for the hand, aiming for a soft touch and a hands-on connection with the wood or material. In the process, we came up with various designs, but essentially we narrowed it down and decided on a design that drew inspiration from classic kitchen knives, where the steel blade is fixed in the rounded wooden shaft with 2-3 steel dowels. This detail is small but iconic, and I think it's beautifully translated in classic woodwork.
What upcoming projects, collaborations, or innovations are you most excited about?
- Besides my collaboration with Reform, I am excited to launch a series of stools, counter stools, and barstools, titled 'Pioneer', with the renowned Danish furniture house Fredericia.