Designers Magnus Thy & Laurits Gersbøll are a design duo based in Aarhus, Denmark. Meeting at university, the pair focus on producing innovative designs influenced by their Nordic traditions. Their shared curiosity for sustainable design, craftsmanship and experimenting with new materials laid the foundation for their collaboration.
The Katla chair, named after the Icelandic volcano is a product based on timeless style but contemporary construction. Inspired by the splitting of tectonic plates during seismic activity, the wood of the chairs back is split into two parts, creating a comfortable contour and unique design.
Laurits: “When we started to conceptualise Katla, we wanted to design a chair that fits into many different contexts and is not bound by one environment or situation. We wanted the chair to be used in a casual meeting and dining setting.”
Magnus: “And this is where the materials came into consideration. The seat can be upholstered to make it more comfortable or suitable for a meeting context. Or for a dining setting, you would leave the seat as wood so that it is easier to maintain and clean.”
L: “Yes, it’s super easy to choose the seat or to choose the finish of the chair. It’s as you say, Jesper, architects for the workplace have very specific environments to work furniture into, so having this adaptability to choose different materials and fabrics is very useful.
We also specifically chose materials that are durable and familiar – wood and steel. There is a lot of knowledge about these materials as humans have been using them for 1000’s of years. They are easy to manufacture and recycle which was an important factor when choosing them.”
Leading a new generation of Danish designers, the present is as important as their past. The pair spend time experimenting with new materials and collaborating with production to optimise their products for the environment.
As Laurits concludes, “For us it’s about being curious and finding what there is to work with. We know many of the standard materials like wood and steel, but it is up to us as the new generation to find new materials and experiment. This is important to us.”