"Gallery" - A Working Process.
It is not without precedent to get inspiration from Africa. Last century it was done by a number of European painters - most known is probably Picasso.
Africa was also a source of inspiration for the stool "Gallery". The idea for the stool was brought about by a visit to the art museum Trapholt in the summer 1995. The museum showed an exhibition of African chairs from the Vitra Design Museum in Germany - the title of the exhibition was: "The first general survey of the vanishing culture of sub-Saharan Africans." Some stools from Zaire and the Ivory Coast especially fascinated me. The stools were beautifully carved in solid tree, covered with leather, and fitted with brass sprigs. However, it was the shape of the stools, which caught my attention. I saw great quality and potential in their shape. This shape in moulded veneer - it would be perfect.
I went home to work on this idea. I made a model in cardboard. A year later, Kunstforeningen in Copenhagen - sponsored by the Danish National Bank´s Jubilee Foundation of 1968 - ordered a stool for their exhibition rooms. They accepted the stool based on the cardboard model - and it was named "Gallery".
However, no manufacturer wanted to support the project - they found the idea technically insoluble and hopelessly unprofitable - they believed it to be impossible. Therefore, I had to produce the first model of "Gallery" myself. I took ten pieces of 0.6-millimetre thick veneer - 530 X 1250 - smeared it with glue between the layers, and pushed them into a primitive form. Then the form was rigged with a lot of clamps, thread bars, iron beams and jacks. The seat was pressed down - and then the sides. The hardest challenge was whether or not the double curvature passage between the two flat pieces could stand the pressure. Finally, it did! And then a bold manufacturer occured: Fredericia Furniture. All this happened before the first model of "Gallery" was exhibited at SE´98 in Copenhagen.
The result of this working process is a stool - a quiet stool. It is not supposed to be the first thing you notice when entering a room, as for instance at Kunstforeningen. But it meets its demands - it is nice to sit on, and it can easily be seated. However, even though it is quiet it also persists self-awareness. It rests in its own quietness, because it has reached its unique form.
"Gallery" is a highly industrialised product, which is indebted to African craft tradition. What seemed to be a hopeless project became a success due to a great source of inspiration, stubbornness, hand power, sponsorship, and a bold manufacturer.