Interview with the Founders of the WertelOberfell Studio
Studio WertelOberfell was founded in 2007 by Gernot Oberfell and Jan Wertel. Initially, the studio was located in London, then in Munich and a branch in Berlin. The works of Jan and Gernot are a combination of logic and the perfection of organic forms.
They optimally use the properties of materials, production processes and especially ergonomics.
Aniela Serek: The Iker brand offers a lot of your products. At the beginning "Maple", then "Cell", "Zig-Zag", "Flower" and "Mannequin". Now it was the turn of the Cheri's chair. The "Mannequin" collection has been a real sales hit of recent years and has become a showcase for the Iker brand. Do you think "Cheri" will match the popularity of the extensive "Mannequin" collection in the coming years?
Jan Wertel & Gernot Oberfell: It is always very difficult to predict whether a product will be commercially successful or not. However, we believe that Cheri has all the ingredients of a popular chair - interesting, contemporary design, comfort and high quality of materials and the product itself, all at a reasonable price.
AS: What was the design process for "Cheri"?
G&J: The original concept of the Cheri chair was actually born 10 years ago with the aim of reducing production costs thanks to using the same part to create the seat and backrest. This idea has evolved, and based on it, we have developed the final version of Cheri, keeping the look and feel of the initial design. We always cooperate with the Iker brand, exchanging ideas and discussing them until we feel it is time to build a prototype to evaluate the design and check the feasibility of production.
AS: "Cheri" strictly follows the current trends. What, in your opinion, distinguishes the Cheri chair from the multitude of products inspired by the post-glamor style?
G&J: Cheri is characterized by extremely harmonious, gentle and consistent forms, which are perfectly complemented by a velor fabric. What really distinguishes Cheri is the contrasting frame which gives the chair a slightly industrial, almost utilitarian style. This combination is particularly clear in the gold version of the model, Cheri Gold.
AS: When designing "Cheri", what kind of interiors did you think about? Where is "Cheri" best?
G&J: We believe that Cheri is a chair that is very versatile and will be perfect for many different interiors - from modern to Scandinavian ones adorned with stucco.
AS: You have two design studios. You are hundreds of kilometers away. How do you deal with this distance in your daily work together?
G&J: What matters is trust, mutual understanding, shared values, and Skype.
AS: In addition to furniture, your portfolio includes electronic devices and products made with 3D printing technology. In which field do you find 100% personal fulfillment? What do you consider your specialization?
G&J: We specialize in complex structures and geometric 3D forms, but we like to work in each of these areas. 100% fulfillment is a matter of various projects, various product typologies, and the diversity of our customers and opportunities to work across different cultures around the world.
AS: The near future - what are you planning to design in 2018-2019?
G&J: A few months ago we started participating in a 3-year EU project that combines elements of materials science, industry and design. In addition, we are heavily involved in several projects in the field of 3d printing, where we discover new and innovative operational models in design and business models in this innovative and exciting industry.
To see Cheri chairs CLICK HERE
photo: Ikershop, photo: WertelOberfell
text: Aniela Serek