sebastian herkner

Stammtisch for AHEC (2020)

Nine imaginative and original tables and seating designs, created by nine leading international designers and beautifully made in one of Europe’s top craft workshops, will be on show in an installation called Connected at the Design Museum in London.

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Benchmark Furniture and the Design Museum challenged these designers to create a table and seating for their personal use, to suit their new ways of living and working from home. The designers had a choice of three sustainable American hardwoods to work with – red oak, maple or cherry. They were also invited to record their creative journeys to demonstrate how they approached the brief and developed their designs at a time of limited physical contact. This extraordinary installation showcases the results of a unique experiment that sets out to push the boundaries of what is possible with these timbers and to explore how designers and craftspeople adapted their working practices during lockdown. The project demanded that both the designers and craftspeople at Benchmark work innovatively, by relying solely on digital communication and video conferencing, to bring the designers’ visions to life. This approach required a new level of trust in the makers, since the designers had no physical contact with their pieces whilst they were being made at Benchmark’s Berkshire workshop during the summer.

The designers involved in Connected are: Ini Archibong (Switzerland), Maria Bruun (Denmark), Jaime Hayon (Spain), Heatherwick Studio (UK), Sebastian Herkner (Germany), Maria Jeglinska-Adamczewska (Poland), Sabine Marcelis (Netherlands), Studiopepe (Italy) and Studio Swine (UK / Japan).

With an organic and modular form, studio Sebastian Herkner wanted to create a landscape where the various elements of his day meet. The name Stammtisch translates as the ‘regulars table’ – a space for friends and family to gather every week. Using a thoughtfully selected choice of materials, the table is made from red oak, bleached, with a white matt natural oil finish. The large tray is made from American maple, ammonia fumed with a clear matt natural oil finish. His stools and small tray are made from scorched red oak.

The timber for the tabletop and other components is spindle-moulded to achieve the characteristic shape that is key to Sebastian’s design. Components were carefully jointed and glued up, with the design playing with contrasting grain directions from the tabletop and the movable trays, which can run along the length of the top within skived tracks.