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Åke Axelsson

What’s you best time of day for creative thinking?

Between six and eight in the morning, when the brain is fresh and rested. I’m on my feet, I’ve had my morning coffee and I’ve sat down at the drawing board or gone out to the workshop.

What’s your favourite material?

Wood. The demands on the product decide the choice of wood, but beech is my personal favourite.

What’s so special about beech?

It’s a slow-growing tree. It takes about 120 years to mature, whereas birch needs 80 years and pine 60 to finish growing. The longer growth time makes beech dense, hard and strong – important properties, all three of them, in furniture production. So when I’m working with beech, I can use thinner gauges than would be possible, say, with birch. And anyway, beech is beautiful, with its smooth surface and its pleasantly soft colour.

What does your creative process look like?

It comes as the result of what is sometimes protracted and always had work. Ideas don’t just come to you… But then, no two situations are alike. Some products I spend ten years working on, bearing them within me till I feel that they have ripened. It’s a complicated process. I factor in all the preconditions and aspects. Function, shape, environment, ecology – they all have to be melded into one entity.