Mathias Hahn's Kin collection for Zeitraum stacks to adapt to life's needs
During Zeitraum's launch of the Kin collection at IMM Cologne, Germany-born, London-based designer Mathias Hahn discusses the details that he believes add a magical touch to the modular timber elements.
What was the initial concept for the Kin collection?
MATHIAS HAHN: The idea was to create a flexible system and range of storage furniture in wood. We wanted to make a solid timber cabinet collection that could meet the demands of and be relevant to modern life. Our environments and domestic circumstances are constantly changing, and our furniture needs to be able to accommodate these changes.The pieces in this collection are not defined by typology, but instead allow for multiple configurations and living scenarios. The volumes can either stand alone or be combined, depending on the user’s needs. You can be playful and stack them on top of each other, or use them as individual pieces. I think this is the beauty of it. It’s a collection that can adapt to your environment. It’s not a modular system in the classic sense, where you have one unit that multiplies, but rather it’s a family of distinct proportions and sizes that are designed to fit and work together. They are each individual, with their own presence, but together they create a larger whole.
Why was wood a good choice for this line?
Technically speaking, we could have gone with any material, but we decided to go with solid wood because that’s Zeitraum’s speciality. It’s what the brand stands for and what it does very well. It just made sense.
It looks like wood is making a comeback. Why do you think that is?
What I like about Kin is that it is intelligible long term, and I think the material plays a big role in that. I don’t think wood will ever lose its appeal. Fashions in finishes and colour will come and go, but wood will always be relevant. Wood is an elementary material. It has longevity.
Are there any elements or details in the series that stand out to you?
I am a very detailed person, and so I love focussing on detailed elements and solutions. The main feature of this collection is the Tip On function. It’s a simple gesture that adds character to the cabinets and makes them more than just a series of wooden boxes. The Tip On mechanism is typically used for kitchen cabinets to create a seamless aesthetic. It’s nice to touch and feel, so I thought ‘why not use it for the Kin cabinets?’ If you look closely you’ll see that the button is on a different plain, and that the door gently curves into it. I think it’s important to have these semantic signs. The button is almost asking to be touched! I really enjoy seeing how people react to it. There is some magic to it.
How do you strike a balance between craft and functionality?
Making modular furniture can be tricky because once you make a decision on a detail, it impacts all the other elements. You might only have a handful of details, but getting them right can take a lot of work. The key is to think in systems. It sounds simple but it involves a lot of investigation and understanding. You need to be knowledgeable about the manufacturing and technical processes involved in each step. You also need to be clear about what is achievable. It can be easy to get caught up on a single detail, so getting some distance is very important. Each time you look into a technical detail you need to step back again and ask yourself: ‘is it still doing what I want it to do overall?’
Photos courtesy of Zeitraum