How Overgaard & Dyrman link past and present
In the age of mass production, there are still plenty of creators protecting the tradition of their craft ― Overgaard & Dyrman fuel their built-to-last furniture with that in mind.
Founded by two friends and classmates with different backgrounds in engineering and fine arts, the practice refuses to be boxed into a single identity ― instead operating with an open mindset able to embrace the best of both past and present & form and function, to achieve products able to inspire for years to come.
Despite their commitment to classic artisanship, they constantly push the boundaries on what is possible with 21st century tools, effectively merging the best of both worlds in combination with carefully sourced, premium material for ideal results.
We chatted with the founders Jasper Overgaard and Christian Dyrman on how their distinct approach sets them apart in the industry. Scroll down to read.
How do you approach your creative process to achieve the most cutting-edge contemporary results while honoring traditional craftsmanship?
To make relevant and original furniture and products we believe it is important to accept a creative process in which you do not know the outcome before you start ― and which you embrace the fact that you will meet many bumps on the road.
In fact, if you accept there will not be one certain and obvious path and instead make unforeseen challenges an important parameter of the process, the best chances for creating original, meaningful pieces occur.
In the same way, when starting a new project, we try not to lock onto specific materials and manufacturing techniques. Instead, we focus on what we want to achieve with a specific design, and then we begin to explore how to get there in the best possible way.
We often say that our designs bridges the past with the present, meaning that we try to combine the best from both worlds: traditional craftsmanship and modern technology.
For example, during the process of creating our Wire Collection pieces we found that a combination of soft, thick tooling leather, combined as we knew it from traditional saddlery, could fulfil our ambitions to make it tight looking and comfortably padded. On the other hand, we needed a modern CNC wire bending machine, to make the complex 3D-bended steel rods used for the structural frame.
What impact does the preservation of traditional craftsmanship techniques have on both your products and the industry as a whole?
We are not romantic in a way where we want to dwell on the past. On the other hand, we believe it is worth preserving our great heritage of skills and knowledge, built up over generations. Skills and knowledge that might not be relevant in their original form but looked at from new perspectives they might be relevant in a contemporary context.
With today's technology you can 3D-print a chair in almost every kind of material, which is amazing, but I doubt these products will be relevant 20 years from now. Instead, you can simply see and feel when passion, skill and knowledge has been put into a product.
And that is why many furniture classics from the 50’s and 60’s are still relevant today, while most of the trendy, ‘fast’ designed furniture made within the last 50 years only last for a very short period. So, let us preserve what is worth preserving.
Define your personal meaning of "a legacy of quality."
Our goal is to create beautiful, original, and meaningful objects that not only stand the test of time, but improve as they age, objects that will inspire and delight today and for generations to come.
We believe the most efficient way to increase the longevity of a product lies not only in the use of great materials, durable construction, and overall design, but also to a great extent in the ergonomics and in the attention to functional details. Therefore, we put a great effort in every single part of our products and hopefully this effort will be our ‘legacy of quality’.
Top-quality, ethical materials are a cornerstone of your practice — how do you seek out the premium leather you use to ensure it's quality and sustainably sourced?
We always work with local suppliers, with whom we share the same values and can closely collaborate. We are transparent in what we do, and therefore that's something we require from our suppliers.
Our supplier of all our standard leather is Danish Sørensen ― an eco-conscious, global brand with the most high-end, sought-after sustainable leather in the world.
How do you balance functionality and aesthetics through organic shapes? Why do they carry so much relevance in contemporary furniture design?
Overgaard & Dyrman is founded by two craftsmen, one with an engineering background, and one a Master from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts within Spatial and Furniture design. We believe this mix of skills is reflected through our designs. We honor materiality and we love to work with form, but it always goes hand in hand with function.
Organic shapes and geometric forms are found everywhere in nature, and there is no doubt these shapes please the human eye. We also find clever, strong structures fascinating and beautiful, but comfort comes with organic shapes ― and therefore the beauty appears in the balance between the two.
An open mindset and commitment to quality goes far.
Meet more traditional artisans creating in a modern world at our [metcha originals].