The crude wooden block look is so passé – The new wooden furniture caresses our senses

Designs with the appeal of a wooden block are passé - the new generation of wooden furniture is simple yet sensual.

Rarely have designers agreed so clearly on their currently preferred material: wood! Blond, brown, red, no matter what colour – the main thing is that the wood is natural and that it exhibits its texture, grain, growth rings and branches like a work of art. But while not long ago designs with wood were mostly massive and masculine, they now show their subtle side.

The new generation of wood furniture also includes the designs by the Finnish maker of wooden furniture, Nikari: their latest product, the „Perch“ bar chair, is a delicate, long-legged design with fully rounded shapes. The young designers Wesley Walters and Salla Luhtasela designed the slender oak wood chair, and can hardly hide their joy about working with the new manufacturer: „Nikari is the dream company for us,“ they say, adding that „their design is beautiful, stylish and made to last a lifetime.“ At a time when the world seems to be turning faster every day, the timelessness of wood is its greatest advantage. But there is more: over time, wood shows traces of life that tell stories, making it all the more precious. As with good friends, these shared stories are the essence of the relationship between an object and its owner. In times of mass production this is why more and more people are looking for handcrafted wood designs, such as those of Franz Keilhofer, a young man from the region around Berchtesgaden, who works as a wood turner (but also as a model and maths teacher) and is on the road to success with his handmade wooden objects. As casual as Keilhofer is in private, his designs lean towards minimalism and are timeless, almost poetic. There is no sign of crude design. His bowls, pots and cutting boards are soft and almost look as though they have been moulded from a soft mass. With these shapes he meets the nerve of the time, but above all its aesthetic aspirations.

The rough shapes of wooden industrial-style furniture that have been influencing interior design for a long time are slowly being pushed into the background. For example, even if dining tables stand on steel runners, the wooden table top has curved edges or still carries its natural bark as a decorative element. Seldom seen nowadays are also archaic furniture and objects that resemble wooden blocks – these have long been equated with craftsmanship. A new love for purism seems to have sprung up among the designers. Gone are the days of coarse and rugged design! This new style of wood design can be found wherever the shapers and pioneers meet. But also large furniture manufacturers and traditional manufacturers follow this new, leaner wood-design code. One example is the Munich-based manufacturer Anton Doll, whose benches and tables have details such as rounded wooden legs, elegant dovetail joints or filigree dovetail batons. They are often sanded several times and are refined with natural wood oil so that they feel almost velvety – wooden designs are now meant to caress the senses.

„Through digitisation, a lot of tactile activities and objects have disappeared from our daily lives,“ explains the Belgian trend researcher Hilde Francq, referring to this phenomenon. „Writing by hand and with a fountain pen, for example, or touching a real book that smells of printed paper. We remain emotional and sensual creatures and long to touch and to be touched.“ According to Francq, we have intensified our search for sensuality in other areas of everyday life, for example in our living environment as well as furniture and other design objects. Wood offers a haptically exciting surface, which, unlike almost any other material, can be anything from rough to velvety. You can immediately feel whether it is real wood or not, as genuine wood radiates a pleasant warmth. In the age of tablets and smartphones, these tactile qualities are unique characteristics of wood. Wood almost cries out to be touched. Even the traces from use are no longer regarded as flaws: every fingerprint is an individual signature on a wooden piece of furniture. This patina is just part of the „compelling story“ that people are so eager to hear.

An article by Janina Temmen


  • Designs with the appeal of a wooden block are passé - the new generation of wooden furniture is simple yet sensual.
  • Comfortable and elegant: using just a minimal amount of material, the design of the " alt="Comfortable and elegant: using just a minimal amount of material, the design of the "Perch" bar stool performs a balancing act." class="swipebox full-image-available image-with-copyright grid-image" copyright='' src="">
  • Franz Josef Keilhofer trims wooden objects such as these bowls: they are softly polished and only oiled naturally.
  • " alt=""Bornholm" is a collection of feminine little tables that need neither colour nor unnecessary extravagance. Its oak wood creates its calm ambience." class="swipebox full-image-available image-with-copyright grid-image" copyright='' src="">
  • " alt=""Less is more" is the guiding principle of the British designer Jasper Morrison, and his "Pon" side tables are proof that he can transfer this principle to solid wood." class="swipebox full-image-available image-with-copyright grid-image" copyright='' src="">
  • The accessories of the Republic of Fritz Hansen collection are in line with the Scandinavian style: they are natural, sensual and pure.
  • Breaks with visual habits: the " alt="Breaks with visual habits: the "Poppy" vase is made of wood and not, as is typical, of glass or porcelain." class="swipebox full-image-available image-with-copyright grid-image" copyright='' src="">
  • Steamed beech wood sounds poetic - and poetic is the look of this chair.
  • Human feet have a myriad of nerve endings: if they touch a parquet floor like this - with a retro textured 3D surface - our whole body goes on a sensory journey...

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