From the roots up

When a tree defines a function

Designer Kaspar Hamacher’s roots are firmly settled in the green and wooded ‘East Cantons’ of the German speaking territory of Belgium, an often-forgotten part of the country, but a place that Hamacher defends with some fervour. “My father was a forest ranger and I grew up in and around the woods,” he enthuses. “At home, I experimented with all sorts of wood from a very early age. It was the material that was available, I didn’t have to look far.”

Now 37, the designer is renowned for his wooden sculptures and whimsical functional objects. With his tall stature, it is not surprising that he likes to work with full oak, the king amongst trees. Sometimes Hamacher will work from a fixed idea, but often, he’ll allow the wood to dictate the outcome. “When I allow myself to be led by the wood often something unexpected and surprising emerges. Look at my ‘Boombank’ (‘tree bench’) for example,” he says. “Nature seems to dictate the formal language, it becomes a mutual interplay between my task as a designer and the vagaries of nature. I am always on the lookout for the correct balance between the two.”