Tobias Brunner, Swiss designer living and working in Zurich and Lausanne.

— Hello Tobias how are you?

Thank you, about to head out to LA where I will spend my summer working on new design projects.

— Can you introduce yourself?

I’m a Swiss product designer, focused on creating new basic and essential furniture.

— Where does your interest in design come from?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs and engineers, but I was trained as a graphic designer in Zurich. I loved being a graphic designer but my passion was always to understand how things work and are manufactured. After my studies in Zurich, I was working as a graphic designer in New York for 2 years.
I quit to go study industrial design. Lucky enough, the studio I was working at (Doubleday & Cartwright) was growing really fast and they needed a new office space. They asked me to design a custom table for their office, and I’ve been a designer ever since.

— Can you explain to us one of your projects?

I’m inspired by the industry and the process of how things are made.

Let’s take the Saw Chair for an example. The idea is to not just to design a new chair but only use one and the most basic workshop tool. The circular saw. Made out of affordable construction materials, the invisible centerpiece holds the chair together, thus shaping the whole chair when wood boards are screwed to it. The shape doesn’t come from a pencil drawing; it’s the process that makes a unique figure.

— Do you have a favorite material to work with?

I love wood and aluminum because they can be crafted very easy and are long lasting, but I stay curious about other materials too. I recently just did a research project with polypropylene fabrics. It is very interesting to fool around with an unknown material and find unconventional ways to process them.

— A designer that you admire?

I admire different designers for different qualities. Enzo Mari for his social critical designs, Alberto Meda for his beautiful functional and technical design, and the Eames for playing around with so many materials successfully.

— Is there a book which opened your eyes about design?

I loved “How to See” by George Nelson. It reassured me in my work that gestalt is not an argument of taste, but you have to understand and speak a whole visual language to be able to create form that is functional.

— The last word…

Never make it too tasty, keep it raw and spicy.

Pictures and projects by Tobias Brunner.

Interview: Dennis Moya & Tiffany Bähler, 07.16