Timber: American maple
Furniture and homeware designer Anna Maria Øfstedal Eng has a rebellious streak that plays out in the works she produces. Her unique shape language, which takes inspiration from the wild forest landscapes of rural Norway, developed as a reaction against the linear geometries that otherwise dominate the design world. “I was so bored of seeing straight lines everywhere,” she says. “I wanted to make something different.”
Her process is highly intuitive, often taking cues from the material she is working with rather than a preconceived idea of how the object will be used. “Some people like to sketch on paper, but I prefer to think through my hands,” she explains. When working with wood, she experiments with tools that range from the chisel to the chainsaw, to create forms that explore the irregular contours of the grain. The results may be smooth or multi-faceted, but they all feel highly rooted in the natural world.
In American maple, Øfstedal Eng was surprised to find a durable hardwood that behaves similarly to the Norwegian ash she is familiar with, but offers even more striking grain patterns. “When you carve it, it creates an organic, double-curved landscape that is so aesthetically pleasing,” she says. This inspired her to create a trio of furniture objects that combine her free-form geometries with the linear volumes that, until now, she has avoided.
Taking cues from the way that moss spreads across the surface of a rock, Øfstedal Eng’s designs include a shelving unit that juxtaposes CNC-milled shelves with highly textural armatures and a footstool and stool that celebrate maple’s annual rings.