Based in Gothenburg in Sweden, Markus Johansson is the creator of some highly unusual furniture and lighting concepts. Completing a bachelors degree at the School of Design & Crafts (HDK) in Gothenburg in 2006, he immediately began a masters degree at the same college. He has shown at various design fairs over the years - the Stockholm Furniture Fair in 2011 and 2012, Superstudio Piú (Milan) and the London Design Festival in 2011 and most recently at Salone Satellite in Milan in 2013. His work is incredibly varied both in terms of materials and form but a mild obsession with interlocking, twisted and fluted forms seems to be evident.
While it's true that the majority of his celebrated products have turned out to be in timber, Johansson seems equally at home experimenting in sheet metal or plastics. His 2011 design 'Cirrita' involves the use of heat moulded Corian™ to create a delicate squid-like form.
One of his most well known pieces is the 'Nest' armchair from 2011 - now produced by Italian company Mogg. The solid beech chair is made up of 30 solid timber rods that are steam bent and drilled then painstakingly assembled into a complex nest shape that supports the sitters weight through it's distribution across multiple points. Available lacquered in white or in natural timber, the chair carries on the Nordic tradition for steam bending but in a new and elaborate way.
The design uses it's branch-like structure to support the body and create a beautiful organic form. While the design is highly geometric in reality, the treatment resembles a nest of sticks at first glance.
“For me, design is about conveying an emotion that affects human life and enhances everyday life”. Markus Johansson
Another product that seemed to excite the imagination of both critics and the public alike, is the 'Sapphire' cabinet produced by Olby Design. The cabinet is available lacquered in various colours but the electric blue is by far the most arresting. Designed in 2012, the cabinet uses computer controlled (CNC) cutting technology to create a symmetrical array of 'V' shapes cut into the cabinet's front surface.
In April 2013, Johansson took a number of new products to Salone Satellite - the young designers showcase at the Milan Furniture Fair (Salone del Mobile). His 'Walking' cabinet, 'Birdie' decanter and upholstered 'Harlequin' chair are stylistically diverse but show the breadth of the designer's abilities. "Birdie was produced for Swedish accessories brand, Sagaform and is available in grey purple, yellow and blue (not in the green and red as shown in prototype form). The 'Walking' cabinet is able to be joined together either flush or with a subtle shadow line. It's unique twisted angular form is nicely contrasted by the button backed 'Harlequin' chair, with it's diamond patterned upholstery detail.
The majority of Johansson's work has involved solid timber but for the 'Colibri' and 'Rainbow' chairs developed in late 2013, he has experimented with the use of fine plywood. 'Colibri' and 'Rainbow' are both manufactured by Swedish company Hans K - also the manufacturer of Johansson's 'Verona' range.
This year, the designer is again showing at Satellite in Milan. His new 'Fortress' side tables are an entirely new material and aesthetic - sheet metal cut and folded into a twisting, jagged geometric form. In addition Johansson will be launching a new table light design in the shape of a cartoon cannon called 'Carronade'. The power cable joins the light in much the same way a wick would enter the barrel of a cannon.
For an insight into how the 'Nest' chair by Markus Johansson (pictured) is made, click on the image below.