MatzForm has recently opened its new shop at 302 Jalan Besar in Singapore, offering high quality, classic Danish designed furniture. Soren Matz, the founder of MatzForm, talks to ScandAsia about his philosophy and plans.
Soren Matz, founder of MatzForm was born and trained as a cabinetmaker in Denmark. The unique structured Danish furniture is a result of personal experience and skills, and former Danish Designers, behind the epoch of Mid-Century Danish Furniture.
Soren Matz spent almost two decades in Japan studying Japanese design and aesthetics, and bringing it into harmony with the Danish Modern character, of his earlier training. After finding that balance, he moved to Shanghai to create his own line of furniture that is simple, elegant and impeccably built, and unusually for fine furniture – affordable.
MatzForm makes life long furniture based on the five principles: Quality, Functionality Beauty, Authenticity and Sustainability.
A family history
Soren dedicated his life to Danish quality and handcrafted furniture. Soren comes from a shipbuilding family where his great-grandfather founded his own shipyard in 1910, building wooden ships for the fishing, shipping and leisure yachting markets. This was woodworking where commitment to quality literally meant everything, and this is a philosophy Soren has maintained in his own lines of furniture.
A few months ago, Soren found a great location for his shop at 302 Jalan Besar in Singapore. The people next door are the partners up in Shanghai that MatzForm do things as workshop together with. And the Singapore showroom opened its doors in July, offering fine collections of Danish furniture.
Besides being a cabinetmaker Soren has done exhibitions, three books and lectures, making him a scholar in Scandinavian furniture. He mainly specialises in Danish furniture and he has also talked about resembles between Chinese and Danish furniture.
“The story we are telling is about the classic Danish things, everything is hand made in Denmark and we are taking the handmade crafts onto China and doing it the same way it used to be produced.
Danish design is all about nice curves and nice features, and we believe that the more you use our furniture, it will become more valuable and nicer. We believe our furniture will increase in value and become prettier the more you use it, as it will age with charm,” says Soren.
MatzForm offers Scandinavian Mid-Century modern furniture, many of them are chairs. These products are done from contracted work to special projects. The MatzForm designers have done famous projects for Qantas Airlines Sydney: The Business Lounge, and the First Class Lounges around Asia. They have done the furniture for Georg Jensen and the Royal Café Copenhagen. They also do a lot of hospitality, fine dining restaurants, embassies, boutique hotels and nice cafes. One of their aims is to be very chique,” says Soren.
“We believe that classic designs last forever and that they are here to stay. Many of our products are designed in 1956, back then launching in black and grey. Today, we do it in sustainable oak, and we use some very fresh and funky fabrics. We are taking it up to date from 1956 to today, and the furniture is still a very modern piece as seen in our chairs. This kind of modern and simplicity is what we are now re-launching here in Asia.
In the old days it was teakwood from Thailand. Soren says MatzForm does not cut tropical trees, but instead gives them a bit of teak stain, so it resembles. If customers wish to have the real 50s-60s style they can supply the wood with a teak colour so they have the same feeling,” says Soren.
Pricewise, some of the original prices of MatzForm designs reach very high prices at auctions – sometimes the ‘real thing’ sells up to 25,000 US dollars, but Soren insures that they can recommend a regional price out of here for 2,500 US dollars or less.
Mid-Century Modern Furniture
Mid-century went very popular in America in the 50s, and when Danish furniture went floating around America and became a boom, it was a brand. Mid-Century Danish furniture is today in Northern Europe, America and in Asia.
“If you say, I bought a mid-century Danish chair; people would know what that means. This is not the case here in Singapore, as the Chinese find this relatively new to them. People who have been to school may understand Art Deco furniture or maybe Baroque furniture. But this Mid-Century Danish furniture is like an epoch, like jugend, like art deco like barroq like any other – it is a complete epoch by itself. We are screening for the good products and we are finding available beautiful pieces, and we have the licence to produce. The furniture is refined and used in a contemporary house,” says Soren.
The original designers have passed away, and MatzForm has about 15-20 designers on contract. MatzForm mostly works with the designers’ offspring as their IPR (the Intellectual Property Rights) belong to their families, 70 years after their death. In China or in Singapore IPR may be unknown, but in EU and Scandinavia it is a rule by law.
“To make people more comfortable about what they are buying we are putting on our own plaque that gives the customers, our brand name handcrafted, the name of the designer and the furniture’s number. People are then really buying a registered piece of design. It is like buying a fancy watch, or an expensive car, and we too like these vendors, insure the client that we certify their purchased product so he or she, is sure that they are buying Danish Mid-Century furniture.
MatzForm offers five standards of stained oak wood; Natural Oak, Teak, Walnut, Espresso and Tobacco. For an approx. 15 per cent price increase the furniture can be made in solid American walnut
Fabric by Kvadrat, and Luxury & Italian Leather
Kvadrat is a Danish textile Company, and MatzForm only offers their fabric upholstered products in textile from Kvadrat. There are about 500 colours to choose, from 11 types of fabrics. Some of the fabrics are very smooth and easy to work with, and then there are some which are more of wool and rough surface. MatzForm uses about six types of leather. The leather types range from a luxury Pull-Italian leather to more commercial leather for restaurants usage. The leather types are displayed in the Singapore showroom, for people, customers and clients to walk in, feel and touch before ordering their furniture products.
ScandAsia’s Correspondent was offered to try out the Danish furniture and to highlight some of MatzForm bestselling chairs, these were;
– Bodega: a very suitable chair for wine bars, nice to sit for a light meal
– Sushi: very comfortable and elegant and it carries the carpentry tradition
– Mama Bear: great support to legs and back, the woollen surface gives ‘a homely feeling’
Newly Wed Couples
MatzForm mainly targets newly-wed and young people, as usually, the elderly seldom re-furnish once they are over 50. From time to time, couples from mainland China buy apartments here in Singapore at retirement age.
“We are very happy you have Ikea here in Singapore because it helps training people’s ability to judge, understand and to look at designs. Before one jump from IKEA and to international import furniture, it gets really pricey. We are trying to fill out this gap.
There is a market in between that is not very well covered here – a segment that allows people to buy very high quality and branded furniture, guaranteed with a plaque certificate at an affordable level. Our products are very easy to blend into in modern households.
I think the shop here in Singapore will cater to people with that taste of education and little bit of money, who want to upgrade their houses step by step. There is a two-month lead time for people to come in and select whatever wood and fabricated furniture they wish. They mostly end up buying the piece which is typical in western procedure. People with the love of designs understand this type of orders,” says Soren.
In September 2013, MatzForm will hold an official opening party at its shop in Singapore.