Eclectic, Sustainable Furniture: Studio Visit with OUT Objekte Unserer Tage.
A couple of weeks ago we visited the gorgeous studio showroom of OUT — Objekte Unserer Tage — a vibrant young furniture brand based in Kreuzberg, Berlin. We were huge fans of their expressive approach to design and fresh ideas around sustainable furniture, so wanted to talk more. So we dropped by and sat down with Reinhard — the marketing and creative mind of the trio — to hear more about the brand and their principles.
We were first interested to know who these guys were and what led them to found the studio.
“So it was in 2015 and it was basically a collective of creative, very diverse personalities — everyone had special talents, ideas and backgrounds. Now, some years later it’s the three of us; David, Christopher and me. David is our designer — he studied in Potsdam — and his approach is for very straightforward design. Very reduced to the essentials. And then we have Christoph — he has a finance strategy background — and then me, Reinhard, and my background is Public Relations. I used to work for luxury brands, but it was a bit boring at some point and I also felt like I wanted to create a brand that has a DNA that is sustainable and fair — which didn’t exist in the luxury brand market at that moment.”
“We all felt like there’s no German successful, well known interior brand with a strong message out there. I couldn’t name one that could be compared to iconic Scandinavians or Italian brands. And so we felt like it was about time to try and change that.”
“You can compare furniture to fast fashion. As a teenager you go to Zara and H&M because what else is there you could do? That’s the price range you could afford. And that’s the same as furniture. So that’s the gap we’re trying to fill pretty much as you guys do, I think.”
The more we talked, the more it seemed like the secret to their unique and playful approach is a willingness to be guided by their own personal feelings and fascinations.
“We have no investors — it’s just us — so we really can just do what’s making us happy and what feels right for us. That’s why the collection is actually so eclectic and colorful, because we don’t want to fully be reduced to a single style. That’s not us. We are three personalities with different ideas.”
“We really feel like it’s a beautiful, eclectic approach to friendship where everyone can find something beautiful and our personalities are reflected — and also Berlin as a city. It shouldn’t be super strict and sleek, it should be fun and diverse, like the city, that is our home.”
Reinhard went on to explain the intertwining nature of their approach to design with their approach to sustainability.
“We try not to waste too much material. Like this Taro Shelf. The metal is so cleverly folded that you don’t need much material, but you still have a very stable and nice design object.”
“Our design approach is not very fashionable, actually. We try not to design objects that will be jumping in your face after one or two years. Some might consider it a bit too lowkey, but for us, it’s part of the sustainable aspect to our design objects.”
And this intention prevents them from being tied to seasonal, trend-focused collections.
“We don’t have collections — we have a permanent collection. We try to have everything forever. We try so that every piece stays here in the collection forever, as well as in the homes of people.”
I wondered if any one piece from the collection held particular significance for them. Reinhard then told the story of the X-CHAIR.
“It was created with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin, and it’s also there now in an exhibition until the end of August. It’s 100% recycled. We found a company in Brandenburg that produces stuff for animal keeping, and everything that falls down in production gets put together in a blender and we create this piece. So it’s really 100% things that would go to garbage otherwise, and so we are super proud of this one.”
Though the permanent collection includes a diversity of materials, Reinhard revealed their notable favoritism of wood.
“It’s just such a warm thing. Of course, we have metal pieces and everything, but in the end, a wooden table will always give you the homey feeling; protected, safe, warm and cozy... Whoever puts his arms on a stone or metal table will never have the homey feel of someone who puts his arms on a nice, wooden piece.”
“We use sustainably sourced wood. And mostly from Germany and Austria. Because something that some brands do is use ‘sustainable’ wood, but if it comes from the other end of the world, it’s not that sustainable, you know? But they still use it. So we mostly get it from Germany and Austria, and sometimes Croatia, but we never go further.”
“The big players in the market usually use veneer wood for tables just because it’s cheaper. And so in the short run, it is cheaper to buy a table made of veneer wood. But, in the long run, you have to buy three tables, whereas you could buy one table made of solid wood and keep it forever, basically. So that’s always how we source and use our materials.”
“For our objects — for instance, our tables — we use finishes and materials that can be repaired. Even if it has really deep scratches. We have a care kit where you can repair [the object]. That’s something that was also missing in the market, so we always try to use [materials] that can be repaired. That’s part of the sustainability approach.”
OUT has relationships with a series of small businesses for their production, and work with a specialised family-owned company for each discipline of the process.
“What they bring to the table is the knowledge of generations, and so from them, we learn.”
“No one gets exploited here. No one. Not the materials of the planet nor the people. And that’s the two pillars, economically and ecologically. Those are the two things that are really important to us.”
Thank you to Reinhard and the OUT team. You can find their links below.
Words & photography by Ewan Waddell.