Furniture that evokes emotions 

Nina Fischer, Thu, December 07. 2023

A conversation with Martin Bereuter about craftsmanship and his submission to Handwerk+Form 2023.

Ideas always arise from a need, a space, or a person – so believes Martin Bereuter, a carpenter with an architectural background. Because the purpose of a piece of furniture is just as relevant as the person who will use it.

Emotions are a crucial component in this process, as furniture reflects life concepts and attitudes. Perfection plays a subordinate role; the piece of furniture must fit the situation. The idea
for the “tablo” also developed through a need and a specific application in mind. In an exceptionally large team consisting of the idea originator, two architects, two craftsmen, and one
designer, the design for this versatile object with the potential for further
development was created.

For Martin Bereuter, the design never stops. While he can identify with all his furniture pieces, he also emphasizes that not all of them are finished. By reusing existing components, the design of a table can turn into a stool, and a stool can become a bench. Ideas come to him in his mind, where a car ride can provide as much inspiration as a visit to a café. There aren't always plans for his furniture, sometimes only for individual fragments. Therefore, it's not so easy to replicate them. Often, he takes the reverse approach: Once a piece of furniture is fully developed, it is analyzed, and from that, the production plans are created.

Do you see yourself as a manufacturer or designer?

MB: I am an architect and have a carpentry business, so I am certainly more of a designer than other craftsmen. The question of design always resonates with me: Is it aesthetically good? Does it suit the person? I think conceptually and enjoy being involved early in the creative process.

“Everything that works is also beautiful.”

Are you always satisfied with your objects?

MB: Yes, I can always identify with my pieces, I stand behind the furniture. However, in my opinion, not all of them are finished.

What is your most successful object and why?

MB: Basically, I would say success is what works in the concept of the commission. But I am also always amazed because there are pieces that have worked from the beginning but have never really sold.


Handwerk+Form 2023
Category: Excellence
Hardwood, chalkboard
80 x 160 x 75 cm

Submission: Tischlerei Bereuter, Martin Bereuter, Lingenau
Design: Tape Studio, Wien; architects ZT GmbH, Wien
Partners: Tischlerei Bereuter, Martin Bereuter, Lingenau; Gerola Metalltechnik GmbH, Manfred Kloser, Langenegg

What would you love to realize in the future?

MB: My own bookshelf. There have been four or five designs, but I haven’t had the time to implement it for three years. Maybe it will happen soon.

If you hadn’t become a craftsman, what would you have become?

MB: Before studying architecture, I studied social behavioral sciences for a semester and worked with Lebenshilfe. I probably would have ended up in psychology or something similar. Architecture became my choice because it just came naturally to me. I didn’t have to think too much to understand something or recognize a solution or an approach to a solution.

Is craftsmanship necessary, and what’s its purpose?

MB: Yes, of course, it is necessary. Without craftsmanship, we could not do many things, we would not understand many things at all. It is a meaningful way to shape the world and preserve our livelihoods.

What comes to your mind spontaneously when you think about the future of craftsmanship?

MB: I think about the younger generation, my employees, who are interested in craftsmanship and pursue it with joy and a beautiful sense of dedication. I wonder what will become of it in the future. Will it be niche programs or on a large scale?

Why do you participate in the design competition Handwerk+Form? What motivates you?

MB: It’s about connecting two worlds – designing and developing, but also connecting the region with my perception of the world. Handwerk+Form has made it possible that there is a place for this in the Bregenzerwald. That’s why I have always participated. Without Handwerk+Form, my professional path could have developed quite differently.

“Furniture is built as a response to needs.”

This interview is part of the series “Experience Craftsmanship”.
The award-winning object “tablo” is exhibited in the current exhibition.


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