David Geckeler creates contemporary pieces deeply rooted in Scandinavian traditions

Designer David Geckeler is known for his detail-oriented approach and his love for the Scandinavian design heritage. Muuto's acclaimed Nerd chair created by Geckeler has swiftly reached the status of a coveted modern classic. Design Stories sat down with David Geckeler to find out more about his inspiring work.

Industrial designer David Geckeler
Industrial designer David Geckeler lives in Berlin.

Hello David! Could you first tell us a bit about you and your background: what drove you to become a designer and what has your path been like?
“I think I found my profession long before I even started studying industrial design. Inspired by my art and design loving mother and my father who is an architect, I feel blessed to be working professionally as a designer and to implement my own visions in concept and form.”

Technical drawings of Muuto's Nerd Chair.
David Geckeler's Nerd chair was taken into production by Muuto in 2011.
A miniature of the Nerd chair by Muuto.
“My goal was to honour the heritage of the Scandinavian furniture industry and fit it with a contemporary appeal”, says David Geckler when asked about his vision for the Nerd chair.
Muuto's Nerd chairs around a dining table.
The Nerd chair features a staggering amount of considered details, still carrying a calm, minimalistic mood.

The award-winning Nerd chair for Muuto was one of your first designs taken into production. Where did you get the idea for Nerd?
“I developed the Nerd Chair during my studies at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts back in 2011. Muuto was a rising young furniture brand with promising new perspectives on Scandinavian design and they put my chair design in production.

“For me, Nerd was always a Scandinavian chair, communicated through its focus on Danish craftsmanship.”

My goal was to honour the heritage of the Scandinavian furniture industry and fit it with a contemporary appeal. Mainly, the chair design focuses on calm contours to reflect my perception of Scandinavian design.”

We’ve seen an intriguing evolution with Nerd, will there be any more designs added to the collection?
“Indeed, it was a thrilling evolution over the years! The Nerd Chair and Bar Stool will stay an iconic furniture couple for now, but you never know if new perspectives on them might pop up some day.”

David Geckeler at this drawing board, sketching the Nerd Bar stool.
“My design language should stand for itself and it takes its qualities out of the pathbreaking past and out of my contemporary expression”, says David Geckeler.
Muuto's Nerd bar stools at a counter.
Fresh shades give the Nerd bar stools a playful touch.

Your designs carry a very distinctive and courageous look. Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
“I am convinced that the challenge of making progressive design within the conditions of marketability is one main aspect of my design’s expression. It is a narrow ridge between those different parameters, but I feel a lot of potential for relevant design decisions here. Formalism is great if aspects of ergonomics, production and product durability are not ignored.”

Has there been a project that you hold especially close to your heart, a project to remember?
“I do have emotional sensations when it comes to all residential or public projects where my designs are in daily use by people. Every Nerd Chair or Bar Stool out there gives me a warm feeling.”

David Geckeler holding a white Nerd chair.
Muuto's Nerd chair designed by David Geckeler combines solid wooden elements with thin plywood shells in an unseen way.
Muuto Nerd chair
The clever, calm design of the Nerd chair makes it both contemporary and timeless.

You created the GECKELER MICHELS design studio together with Frank Michels. What brought you two together? 
“Meeting Frank Michels during my early years at university was a great win. Today we work together as GECKELER MICHELS with our team on our very own vision towards contemporary design in various fields. We complete each other very well and we inspire each other.”

Would you like to reveal some of the projects you are currently working on?
“We are still adopting new thematic fields in our work, and we are currently developing lighting projects and new upholstery designs. Due to the pandemic crisis, we are trying to concentrate on more work-intense project developments which will come to life and market in 2021.”

David Geckeler sitting at his drawing board sketching.
“My work always aims for an individual product language, at the same time following the demands of a functional, marketable design”, describes David Geckeler.
Muuto's Nerd bar stools next to a kitchen counter.
The Scandinavian design heritage is visible in the considered design of Muuto's Nerd chairs and bar stools.

You are living in Berlin, can you tell us more about your apartment and maybe share some tips on how to decorate? What is your favourite spot in Berlin and why?

“I live in a typical Berlin Wilhelminian style apartment together with my family. I like the atmosphere of an almost empty flat, equipped with some selected solitary furniture designs. I try to keep as much space and airiness in my flat as possible.

“Decoration comes with living and collecting eclectic beloved items.”

Berlin still has extremely appealing old places, but I recommend the Lobe Block, a contemporary brutalist architectural highlight in Berlin Wedding. Created by architect Arno Brandelhuber, it hosts the restaurant Baldon where you can also spot some GECKELER MICHELS designs and of course the Nerd Bar Stools from Muuto in a beautiful setting.”

See also:

David Geckler's designs at Finnish Design Shop >
Muuto's products at Finnish Design Shop >

Text: Mira Ahola Images: Muuto

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