Across its 1000 sq meters of space, Original in Berlin presents an exclusive selection of furniture, design pieces, lamps and objects from the mid-century Modern Era. Design aficionados will find Scandinavian, French, Italian and American classics – from Paul McCobb, Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Finn Juhl to Charlotte Perriand, Gio Ponti and Marco Zanuso.
Customers and couriers can pull their vehicles right up to the front door, making it easy & convenient for loading and unloading merchandise. The in-house upholstery and carpentry workshop guarantees to leave no wish unfulfilled, no matter how unusual.
The Berlin showroom isn't only comprised of selected classics, but includes a comprehensive accessory collection by Austrian designer Carl Auböck. Gawking is expressly permitted.
Berlin is too far away, you say? No problem – Original in Berlin delivers. And we mean worldwide.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Daniel Wenger. I design and make by hand leather and steel chairs and glass and tables. This work started in the 1970s and was restarted in 2009. I am now working with my son Samuel.
Why do you do what you do?
I enjoy the process -- the design, the fabrication, the refinement and the final visual and functional product. I now have the enjoyment of working together with my son.
How do you work?
When I work alone, I work intensely for a couple of hours at a time, not everyday, in my semi-outdoor studio next to my home. I wait for the urge to work to come to me, unless we are preparing for a show or filling a commission. When I work with Sam, we work together harmoniously in a rhythm we have established over the past several years.
What’s your background?
I worked with my hands from a young age, learning from my father. In university I studied physics and taught for a couple of years, but realized that I preferred working with my hands. My physics and math training is used in some of my projects, especially in the design and fabrication of my unique Wenger sundial.
What role does the artist have in society?
The artist is a fortunate person, one who can explore the process of turning ideas into reality, but without the limitation of working on projects that are defined by the needs of others. The result is a free expression that can be enjoyed by others. Explain what you do in 100 words I have a thought, an idea, an image in my mind of an object that I feel would be interesting and of value in some way. The goal is to realize the object so that simplicity and beauty are qualities of the object, as well as the original goal of functionality.
How has your practice changed over time?
I used to work from morning until evening, waking up with an idea and pursuing it throughout the day. Now, at 80 years old, my energy allows me to work in my studio for only a few hours at a time. As our business has grown, I now spend more time dealing with the other aspects of our joint design and fabrication venture. This includes communicating with suppliers and sharing information with the people drawn to our work.
What art do you most identify with?
I identify most with my own art!
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Hand-on work. Making a new jig, choosing hides from a tall pile of leather at the tannery, and working with the leather.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
Working with my father designing, constructing, and finishing projects. Sailing with him in our 21-foot sailboat in Newport Harbor south of Los Angeles. Long camping trips in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My mother playing Brahms sonatas on the piano, and in our family quartet – with my father on cello, my older sister on flute and myself on violin. These are my best memories.
What themes do you pursue?
Functional art: simplicity, clean lines, comfort, durability.
What’s your scariest experience?
While teaching gliding in 1969, nearly colliding in the air with another glider flown by a student pilot. That ended my life as a flight instructor!
What’s your favorite art work?
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Going to the rock-climbing gym with my son in Wales after I retired from my university position in 1999, and seeing the beauty of this activity. I realized that climbing could be a part of my life, and I have made it so! It continues to inspire me.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
I went to a public dance event thinking it was a Halloween costume party, and I was the only person in costume.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Garlic crushing for a salad dressing company in high school, computer programmer and language developer during the time of Sputnik, university professor, glider flight instructor, sandal maker, Chinese tea distributor, computing and mathematics consultant for industry, director of computing services for the Humanities Division at University of California, Santa Cruz.
The joy of working with my hands and turning an inner vision into a tangible reality.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Some people who bought my chairs in the 70s still have them and love them.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
Food: simplicity in a meal. Not too many tastes at once. Drink: a good Riesling, artisanal Mezcal, California Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, peaty Welsh whiskey. Song: the Russian bass Boris Christoff singing the songs of Moussorgsky; Bob Dylan, Rodriguez, Leonard Cohen, Kate Wolf.
Is the artistic life lonely?
As a strong introvert, I enjoy being alone, and need significant time alone to revitalize my energy. Being at the ocean and watching the seabirds are especially positive for me. My wife is an extrovert so she keeps me engaged in the world and doing things I otherwise wouldn’t think to do!
What do you dislike about the art world?
The attention given to complex, “busy” art.
What do you like about your work?
Deigning it, making it, and living with it – looking at it and sitting in it!
What do you dislike about your work?
When an idea doesn’t come out the way it appeared in my mind.
What research do you do?
Properties of steel, and new sources for latigo leather. Name something you love, and why. My family. They feed my hunger for love and humor. Name something you don’t love, and why. Selfish people, because their hearts are closed to others.
What is your dream project?
To have one of my pieces in the permanent collection of a significant museum. Name three artists you’d like to be compared to. Mies van der Rohe, Richard Serra, Toshiro Mifune.
Favorite or most inspirational place ?
The Swiss Alps near my Wenger family origins. The Virgin Islands on a sailboat at sunset.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Your truest guru is within yourself.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To see my son Sam carry on with my work.
What wouldn’t you do without?
My sense of humor.
What is your favorite drink?
Gin and tonic with good gin, good tonic water and lots of lime.
What is your favorite movie?
Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston
Name your top 5 Record Album ever.
Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles Yellow Submarine, Moody Blues, The Band
Designer's Special #1
Who is Paul McCobb?
Designer's Special #2
Kipp Stewart –
”I can't do anything unless I see it first.”
Designer's Special #3
MOD CRAFT USA –
handcrafted studio furniture pieces at ORIGINAL IN BERLIN
Designer's Special #4
Designer's Special #5
ORIGINAL IN BERLIN offers the following design pieces of Daniel Wenger: