German designers Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub celebrate twenty years of creating the most elegant, sensuous and perfectly useful designs. From furniture to interiors, this duo creates magic with the simplest objects.
The Stuttgart-based design studio Jehs+Laub celebrates twenty years of successful contemporary design this year. The studio was established in 1994 by Markus Jehs and Jürgen Laub, both considered leading names among German product designers of their generation.
Jehs and Laub met in 1988 at the College of Design in Schwabisch Gmünd, a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Following an internship at Henry Dreyfuss Associates in New York, they established their own studio in 1994.
The studio focuses on designing objects and residential and commercial furniture. Their sleek and modern shapes have been produced by reputed international design companies such as Knoll, MDF Italia, Cassina and Fritz Hansen.
From tables, chairs, armchairs to beds and storage, their impressive portfolio of furniture has one striking quality: the designs are sensuous and full of thought.
Take, for example, their A-Chair for Brunner. It is not just another stacking chair (although the design might, at first glance, look familiar). The A-Chair is designed to be fitted together so seamlessly that placed in a row “only the width of a single leg will be visible, which has a great calming effect on the overall impression.”
The Jalis range of furniture has similar thought processes. Inspired by the Orient, ‘the Arabic tradition of relaxation is transformed here into a furniture concept.’ The Jalis Chair is reminiscent of comfortable cushions found all over the Eastern world. Here they are raised higher to European seating standards, but the squishy comfort of cushions remains. The Jalis bed is equally alluring and is based on the idea of sleeping on a huge folded cushion with a solid wooden frame underneath.
The Asienta range for Wikhahn has an elegant sofa and chair combo that calls you to sink into its plush goodness. The aluminium frame blends well with the cube shape of the sofa.
The Blox sofa, on the other hand, has a very strict geometry ‘conjuring an urban landscape of flanking and superimposed volumes.’
Chairs aimed at different markets have varied thought processes behind them. The Asienta was designed for a corporate market and was therefore built for strength and durability. The Graph chair meant for the boardroom has a flexible stem inspired from the suspension of a car. The Ora chair (also meant for the boardroom) shifts to the other extreme with a fragile, delicate stitch detail on the circumference of many concentric circles.
The Space Lounge range for Fritz Hansen is like “sitting in a nice, big hand.” To control the softness of the seat, the pieces were assembled separately, “like in the production of a car”.
One of my favourite Jehs+Laub chair designs is the Cloth Armchair for Cassina. This sensual and vibrant chair begins from “a mere piece of cloth and ends as a comfortable armchair.” The supporting frame has glass reinforced plastic and the fabric or leather upholstery is completely removable. The colours of the upholstery and the sinuous curves of the chair make it a truly iconic design. Apart from furniture, the duo design lighting solutions and products such as clocks (the ‘Stelton Time’ clock which has the minute hand attached to the outer rim of the clock), hot-water bottles (the ‘Pill’ which is inspired by traditional flat hot-water-bottles) and items like mailboxes, house numbers and door lamps, appropriately gathered under a collection called ‘Entrance’.
For Mercedes-Benz, Jehs+Laub designed the master concept of their worldwide showrooms and among their numerous interior projects is the Suite 606 at the iconic Icehotel in Sweden.
Jehs+Laub firmly believe in the longevity of a design. They build things to last. A glance at their designs proves it. From the traditional to the iconic, there is nothing overtly startling about their design. And why go down that route when you’re so good at what works? The beauty of their designs comes from understanding each product, of thinking about who is going to use it and caring enough to make it the best design possible.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer