MR01 INITIAL CHAIR
BY MATHIAS STEEN RASMUSSEN
“In many ways, it seems as if you might have seen this chair before, but it is an evolutionary interpretation and development of Danish furniture traditions. It is completely its own, very honest and not pretending to be anything else – it just is.”
JACOB GUBI, OWNER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF GUBI
At once familiar yet strikingly modern
Originally designed for his own home as a lounge chair he could also use for meditation, the MR01 Initial Chair by woodworker Mathias Steen Rasmussen unites traditional craftsmanship with original ideas in a simple form that is at once familiar and yet strikingly modern.
A low slung profile
Much like the Danish masters, Rasmussen thinks with his hands – drawing sketches and building prototypes. The idea for this chair began with its seat, which extends into the back leg, providing support for the backrest. Its low-slung, gentle incline is designed to give the sitter a sense of floating, while still feeling connected to the ground, promoting a contemplative sense of calm – and was originally designed for his own home as a lounge chair he could also use for meditation.
Constructed without a single nail
Rasmussen’s deep understanding of the characteristics and potential of wood can be seen in the way the visible end-grain and directional grain of the wood are utilized to emphasize the geometry of the form. Because the wedged tenon joints go right through the frame, there is no left or right side before the chair is assembled, and four out its five cross bars are identical, simplifying construction and reducing waste.
The chair will acquire a pleasing patina as it ages, giving it a sustainability that the designer was keen to cultivate.
90 meters of rope
The seat and backrest are hand-woven from 90 meters of rope, using a method he developed himself, which locks the rope into the frame.
“The chair emanates from a simple construction, optimized for production and made with the intent of lasting as long as the materials themselves permit it to. It is honest in its construction, multi-functional, and is easy to understand. Because the rope gives the seat and backrest a certain transparency, it is so light that it almost appears to float.”
MATHIAS STEEN RASMUSSEN
MATHIAS STEEN RASMUSSEN
Mathias Steen Rasmussen (born 1990) is a young Danish designer with a seasoned and rigorous approach to furniture design. He has a background in art and cabinetmaking and completed his apprenticeship in 2019 with the highest honors.
When working on his own designs, his philosophy is “honesty in construction”. This means keeping the design process open to what an object consists of and how it is constructed, often with an affinity for showcasing the naked grain of the wood and visible joints.
As a trained cabinetmaker, wood is usually Rasmussen’s point of departure. He often brings in other natural materials such as glass, stone, and rope as textural contrasts, resulting in an aesthetic dialogue between colors, techniques, and surfaces. With an earnest respect for his materials and a keen sense of balance in form and function, his work respectfully nods to mid-century Danish design.