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Studio visit: Designer Maria Bruun

With great respect for Danish design history and based on this heritage, Danish designer Maria Bruun creates furniture and objects with an uncompromising approach to the subjective and the artistic. Her preference for wood and its impact on us as humans contributes to transforming creative visions into sculptural and tactile furniture that you feel compelled to admire and use. 

I often see my works as sculptural and then take them into a functional world and try to transform the artistic ideas into functional furniture.

Maria Bruun

Designer bio

Maria Bruun is a graduate furniture designer from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design in Copenhagen, focusing extensively on furniture, interiors, and exhibitions at the intersection of artistic forms and functional designs. As an already recognised name, Bruun aligns herself with the longstanding Danish design tradition, crafting furniture with an innovative approach and an elegant visual language. She strives for a balance between visual lightness and the strong, confident spatial dimension of the design. 

Bruun incorporates a minimalist approach in her work, conveying clear visual narratives through carefully selected materials emphasising wood. Her design expression is characterised by purity and distinctive lines, often based on simple constructions with just the right amount of details. This design approach, which she has named sculptural minimalism, has become a hallmark of her many designs. Bruun has received support from the Danish Arts Foundation and has been awarded numerous prizes and recognitions, including the Finn Juhl Prize, the Wegner Prize, and a nomination for Dezeen's 'Emerging Designer of the Year' for her captivating design approach. 

An intuitive process towards meaningful design

For Bruun, creation is a highly intuitive and subjective process. She often designs outside of a brief to avoid restrictions or limiting frameworks, allowing ideas, forms, and materials to flow freely and transform with the project. This iterative process, where each step informs the next, involves creating physical models of ideas early in the design process, almost like a set designer. This enables her to visualise how her designs interact with different environments. Her curiosity and respect for form and design are evident in her always thoughtful and sculptural solutions. 

"In collaboration with Thomas and Rasmus Graversen, the family behind Fredericia, I often design outside the brief, creating a bold product - a concentrate that is me. It's bold of the manufacturer, and not very typical of our time, to listen to the designer to such an extent. Here, considerations are not solely based on the existing portfolio, competitors' actions in the market, or large volumes, but instead, on a meaningful design that encompasses the designer's vision translated into a commercial framework. We believe that if good design matters to us, it also matters to the consumers." 

According to Bruun, one of the best steps in the process is working with machines and skilled artisans, where she can optimise and explore. She must listen to experienced professionals but sometimes challenge techniques and the notion of 'this is how we've always done it.' The challenge is not an end goal for Bruun. However, questioning may be necessary to push the conventional production methods and possibly make mistakes to discover new techniques or potential, thus challenging established traditions. 

"For me, it's important to stand firm that good design means something and that a design contributes more than just functionality. Design is a profession that creates value and meaning for those who use it. I personally like to add something to my designs that raise a question or piques the curiosity of those who use it. That's where I feel I engage in a dialogue with the end-user." 

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