Excavating buried talents from the Danish Sixties.
With the current spotlights on iconic mid-century furniture design from Denmark (Wegner, Juhl, Panton, etc.), a group of “unknown” designers with exceptional talent, who also juggled the complicated discipline of designing chairs, are going unnoticed. These designers can be considered ‘neglected talents’ whom no-one really dared to pay attention to; until now! Søren Matz has over the past decade cherry-picked and collected 60 original Danish chairs from the sixties. All chairs in the collection are genuine creations representing the booming Danish furniture industry at the time.
马书文的曾祖父 Richard Matz 成长于丹麦图罗伊岛，从小学习造船技艺。由于表现出色，他被成立于1916年的 Nakskov 造船厂相中并前往纳斯特担任总经理一职。在此期间，他挂帅营建了多艘著名的船只，包括“丹麦海军受训船”和1923年建成的格陵兰远航舰 Gertrud Rask。此外，他组织建造的贸易船只曾漂洋过海来到上海和亚洲的其他港口。精湛的船只及家具建造工艺传统深深地刻在了 Matz 家族的血液里。
16岁那年，马书文在哥本哈根开始了长达4年正统而严格的传统木工培训，课业则涵盖了手绘及其他工坊科目。八十年代中期，他远赴纽约苏富比修缮部打磨技术，并在一年后东渡日本京都，于著名的细木艺工作室（Nakamura Komuten）潜心学习工作，并与五十位优秀的细木工匠一道度过了近二十年的时光 。
Cabinetmaker with Shipbuilding Heritage
Søren Matz’s great grandfather Richard Matz was born and raised on Thurø Island, Denmark, where he apprenticed as a shipbuilder. From there he moved to Nysted, before taking the role of Managing Director for Nakskov Shipbuilding, which was established in 1916. He had many great ships built over the years – among them the “School Ship of Denmark” and the pictured four-masted schooner/Greenland expedition ship Gertrud Rask (built 1923) which was wrecked in Allied service off Nova Scotia in February 1942. Other ships built at the shipyard became trading ships and ventured as far as Shanghai and other Asian ports. The tradition of creating long-lasting fine woodwork for both ships and fine furniture has been handed down for generations in the Matz family.
Søren Matz grew up in an old romantic apple plantation north of Copenhagen, apprenticed in Copenhagen in the early 80’s – one year later with Sotheby’s New York – then his dream came through and he received a scholarship to go to Japan in the mid-eighties and ended up with Nakamura Construction in Kyoto – who built for the Japanese Emperor, The Rockefellers, John Lennon among many others in a workshop where he worked along with 50 Japanese carpenters for almost 20 years.
马书文先生早年摄于在京都的 Nakamura Komuten 大型工坊
让我们回到一百年前的“黑暗时期”。上世纪二十年代丹麦传统工匠家具行业陷入绝境，国外流水线工厂大量输入粗制滥造却便宜的家具。市场被蚕食，匠人们无所适从。1927年，曙光初现：哥本哈根匠师协会举办了一年一度的「Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition」——该展让设计师和木工开始携手合作，设计感、细节、技艺的角逐也日趋激烈，百家争鸣的局面开始呈现；家具从此不再只是家具。普通的丹麦家庭开始视家具为可以传承的资产，中产家庭甚至将家具视为一种身份认同和投资工具——这样的价值观渐渐输出到全世界，尤其是美国。汉森家具公司的「汉斯·瓦格纳」系列产品席卷全美，截止五十年代末竟陆续发展到拥有两百多家经销商。“黄金时期”正式到来，巨大的商机裹挟进时代的洪流，媲美当今中国如日中天的电商产业——大大小小的家具厂在丹麦的各个小镇生根发芽。他们抓住了美国消费者对于生活方式的需求，引领着世界家具的风尚和审美。当然机遇越大，竞争越强；为打价格战而降低质量的产品最终被市场淘汰。
To The US
In 1927 the yearly Cabinetmakers’ Guild Exhibition was established in Denmark. The idea was to have designers collaborating with the cabinetmakers. The cocktail was right – from 1937 the guild exhibition moved to the Museum of Applied Art where they were held all the way up till 1968. It was a huge success and VERY influenced. The competition was fierce, and everyone was trying to surpass one another in detail, techniques, and design. The timing was right – the cabinetmakers' salaries compared with the average person’s spending abilities – peoples could afford the furniture and relate to the craftsmanship; they bought the furniture as a lifetime investment they could pass on to their children. What today seems like extravagant luxury was then looked upon as a necessary up to 50 pieces of furniture investment for a good family household with 2 children.
The rumors of the quality of the furniture and design soon went worldwide, and people (mainly Americans) stormed the little country on a shopping spree - to get a piece of the action – And action it was – the provincial Danes could not believe their eyes. Suddenly they were famous. The first breakthrough was Johannes Hansen’s cabinetmakers with their Hans Wegner furniture collection sold by no less than 200 dealers throughout the USA by the late fifties. This did not go unnoticed with the creative furniture businessmen in Denmark. It was a huge success channeled into millions of dollars in today’s money. Soon after there was hardly a self-respectable township in far-flung rural parts of Denmark that didn’t foster a small furniture factory; pumping out furniture for the new huge American consumer market – which at the time seemed as infinite opportunistic as the Chinese online market have today. All these chairs were riding in the wake of the famed Danish designers who had already captured the hearts of the Americans for their simplicity and comfort. The Scandinavian furniture business soon became so competitive, that the quality tragically worsened - and soon after finally ‘killed’ by giants like the newly established IKEA.
值得注意的是，本次参展的藏品椅子几乎均由两种珍贵木材制成；一是树龄超过五百年的泰国柚木；还有一种是来自巴西热带雨林的黄檀木。这两种木材生长期缓慢，质量上乘；它们消耗日趋殆尽，并正式在七十年代被全面禁止砍伐。有趣的是，将近一半的藏品椅子的软包材料是 PU 皮——该材料在“摇摆的六十年代”被设计师视为前沿科技，竞相采用。
Worth mentioning is that the entire chair collection is practically manufactured in two extraordinary types of woods; more than 500-year-old teak wood from Thailand and exotic rosewood from the Brazilian rainforest - which both have been banned entirely for exploitation since the early 70s. And finally, it is worth noticing that almost 50% of the chairs have been upholstered in the newly invented PU (faux leather) – which in the days of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ was considered far superior to old fashioned leather.
Due to Søren's personal love and passion for Danish furniture – he had worked with several Danish furniture exhibitions over the decades – mainly in Japan with Finn Juhl, Verner Panton, Poul Kjaerholm, and Hans Wegner exhibitions throughout the country.
在日本，瓦格纳被近乎神化，以至于单单在95年的展上，马书文先生就卖出了近六千本相关图册。98年至00年，马书文受丹麦设计博物馆的邀请策展「100 Years of Danish Master Cabinetmaking」，该展最终在克伦堡宫成功举办。马书文先生对中国明式家具也颇有研究，并在四年前的北京红砖美术馆成功策展，对明式家具如何影响了二十世纪中期的丹麦家具设计展开了探讨。
In particular, Hans Wegner is a hero in Japan – at the Tokyo exhibition in 1995 he sold almost 6000 hardcover copies of the accomplishing catalogue. From 1998 up to 2000 the Danish Design Museum flew Søren Matz back and forth from Kyoto to produce the wonderful exhibition called “100 Years of Danish Master Cabinetmaking”. And was held inside the grand ballroom at Kronborg Castle seen above. It was made to honor the cabinetmaker who executed the furniture rather than the designer behind it. See images above. His most recent exhibition was produced 4 years back at the ‘Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing’- and was created to compare the Chinese influence of Ming Furniture into the Danish mid-century chair design.
About the Collector - Curator
Søren Matz is a creative enigma and source of boundless energy. Cabinetmaker, designer, collector, innovator, and curator, he can only be defined by his works and his passion for perfection. Born and trained as a cabinetmaker in Denmark, Søren spent almost two decades in Japan studying their design and aesthetics and striving to bring it into harmony with the Danish modern ethos of his earlier training. After spending 18 years in Japan making fine cabinetry, Søren moved to China in 2005 to establish his own label – a line of elegant, quality furnishings made to the highest standards of quality, manufactured under license in China to the strictest of environmental considerations.
MatzForm is one man’s dream come true. For over 40 years, master cabinetmaker Søren Matz has been dedicated to quality in furniture. He has made furniture for the rich and influential across four continents, but what he dreamed of was to bring finely designed and superbly manufactured furniture to the world. With MatzForm, that dream has been realized. MatzForm brings fine design, heirloom-quality, and eco-awareness together.
（上图均为位于上海的餐厅项目；图中餐椅为麦兹弗拥有授权的 Kirk 扶手椅，由设计师 Erik Kirkegaard 于60年代设计）