Ștefan Zwart’s work is fueled by passion and inspiration. We challenged him to design an object made of cold, hard metal – but that expresses the heart and soul of our portfolio and the people behind it.
I do lots of different things, in lots of different ways – but always with a strong sense of passion. I’m an architect, carpenter and designer based in Bucharest. I work with concrete, wood and metal, and I’ve made a huge range of objects during my career, from houses through to small pieces of furniture.
Every project is unique and complex. I have to consider specific requirements for everything I create. Ultimately, design is like a symphony that brings together technical, cultural and spiritual elements. Sometimes, I just surf on a wave of inspiration. That’s why I fell in love with my work.
I got excited because this is such an unusual request! Typically, a design project is supposed to stay in one place – like a house, showroom or public space. This chair was unique because it’s the centerpiece of the “BONDERITE goes around the world” program. It’s going to travel the globe and lots of different people will interact with it. I liked that idea.
The chair also opened up intriguing challenges. I believe design is about emotions, and the Henkel team wanted a design that could capture people’s hearts and minds. However, steel and aluminum are cold and hard. It was exciting for me to explore ways of giving these materials spirit and telling the story of BONDERITE’s innovative and sustainable surface treatments. I wanted to give the metal surfaces a soul.
More than you might expect. The design had to include steel and aluminum, and it needed to be very easy to disassemble and reassemble. It also had to feature a steel tube, which isn’t typical for a chair. Beyond that, I was free to immerse myself in the project and create something special.
Design projects are often hard to describe! Inspiration comes and goes in waves. I gradually got a picture in my mind that became clearer over time. I started by diving into the emotional part of the project, then spent more and more time focusing on the technical constraints like the different surfaces, ways of connecting parts with bolts or the need to include space for the logo. I stayed in close contact with the Henkel team and the design is a great reflection of the passion of everybody involved. I’d say it took about four months from the first briefing to the final production.
Of course! Some parts of the process felt natural for me, but there were also times when I needed to try a few different things before I found the best solution. I worked with thick metal sheets and had to learn lots of new things about metal surfaces and their characteristics, as well as about the BONDERITE product range.
It took me to places I’ve never been before and opened up new horizons, which was really inspiring. I think I’ll probably produce more pieces containing large metal parts in the future.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime project and I’m really proud to have been involved. With every new design, I learn a bit more about myself. I'm grateful for the whole experience and excited about following the “BONDERITE goes around the world” program. A good design is something people can feel – even if they aren’t sure what they like about it. For me, that means it has soul. And I think that’s something very special.
Ștefan Zwart is a young, emerging Romanian carpenter and designer with a passion for furniture and contemporary design. He lives in Bucharest, and is known for his best-in-class work and his love of details. His explorations feature precise lines and solid pieces balanced by delicate features. Ștefan is always seeking beauty in natural materials and simple proportions.
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