ANREI, a family business founded by Anton Reisinger in 1894, is one of Austria’s oldest existing furniture companies and has been a leading producer of solid wood furniture for generations. Located in the midst of Austria’s largest contiguously forested area, ANREI is not only a pioneer in the sustainable management of natural resources, but also a catalyst for economic development in the surrounding region. A shared interest in traditional hand craftsmanship in conjunction with contemporary design led to the collaboration between this producer and Thomas Feichtner. For ANREI, the Viennese designer and professor of product design at the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel has designed an entire furniture collection made of solid wood. The 18-piece collection, which is to see its first public presentation in 2013 at the trade fair IMM Cologne, consists of dining tables, benches, chairs, cabinets, shelving units and a secretary desk, as well as smaller items such as a stool and side tables.
Feichtner’s design strategy was to eliminate the heavy and massive quality typical of solid wood furniture while retaining its constructive materiality. All furniture models from the collection have a chassis of sorts, a light subconstruction connecting legs with other elements such as a tabletop or a leather-upholstered seating surface. Precisely this intelligent method of connection is evident in all of the collection’s models, giving the product line an identity all its own. The designs derive their quality of lightness from the interaction of straight elements and joints, as well as from conically shaped table-edges and legs that are tapered toward the floor. Such designs entail liberation from the static, monolithic quality that often afflicts furniture made of solid wood.
Even so, the extent to which the idea of the collection as such can be allowed to come to the fore needs to be gauged with caution—because this collection is not to be understood as a static unit. In Feichtner’s conception, each piece of furniture is not only combinable as one likes with any of the others, but can above all be complemented by unrelated furniture or even just stand alone unto itself. And no matter what the context, each piece of furniture is meant to reflect this collection’s good design, perfect craftsmanship and high standards of ecological sustainability.