Today we’re going to take a trip back in time to look at the life and works of designer Ferdinand Kramer, also we get to see how these designs have now been beautifully reproduced by German furniture manufacturer e15. Interestingly enough e15 was named after the postal code of its first workshop in London, not too far from Stratford where the Olympics are currently taking place, and was co-founded in 1955 by architect Philipp Mainzer. Philipp has a great eye for design and over his career has worked on an exceptional amount of projects, he’s also very diverse in the areas that he covers, for example he works on full architectural work, interior design, exhibition design, and has also dabbled in furniture design (hence co-founding e15).
So e15 have really pulled it out the bag this year in my opinion by launching re-editions of Ferdinand Kramer’s ground-breaking furniture designs. They’ve worked very closely with Kramer’s second wife who knows his designs like no other, so it’s been interesting to see what was involved in this capsule type collection considering Ferdinand had designed many pieces over the years that he was alive. What we’ve got is a lovely rounded selection, one being a daybed, a side chair and a stool, all were designed in 1925, they’ve also produced some more modernist objects which were designed later on in the 1950’s such as the coffee table and the coat rack.
Looking at Ferdinand himself, he was born in 1898 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and in 1916 he started to study architecture. Three years on he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar; however, he returned to Munich after a few months due to being disappointed with the lack of regular architecture training. Extraordinarily Walter Gropius wrote Kramer a handwritten letter expressing his dismay at his decision, but Kramer didn’t change his mind and completed his studies in Munich at the Technical University. During the war he followed his wife to the USA where he worked for various architecture and design offices, developing presentation systems for shopping centres, producing a transportable electric mini kitchen, and his very successful DIY “knock down” furniture.
Hopefully this post gives you a glimpse into his life through these archive images, which are absolutely superb, and also the photos of the newly produced furniture itself photographed by talent photographer Ingmar Kurth. I have to say I think my favourite pieces are the side chair and stool, they’re so simple and elegant and feature a woven seat surface finished in either textile of vegetable tanned leather. I like how these could sit apart from each other as individual objects in a room, but at the same time they work together aesthetically and are also highly functional. Broken down to the bare essentials. I hope you enjoy and share what you see below.