Carsten in der Elst creates furniture by using industrial by-products "a bit like Lego"


A chunky rough-hewn coffee table made from discarded quarry sandstone is among a selection of furniture pieces by designer Carsten in der Elst, currently on display at Stockholm Design Week.

Called Greywacke Offcut Collection, the furniture by In der Elst is on show at the Stockholm Furniture Fair as part of the city’s design week.

Carsten In der Elst designed rugged furniture from surplus German sandstone

In der Elst sources materials that are industrial by-products, which he handcrafts into amorphous furniture.

For his most recent collection, the Cologne-based designer visited a quarry in Lindlar in western Germany, where he salvaged large slabs of Lindlar Greywacke – a variety of hard and dark sandstone – that would’ve otherwise been waste material.

Chunky floor lamp by Carsten in der Elst
The Greywacke Offcut Collection includes a chunky floor lamp

“It’s a very hands-on approach, so I went to the quarries myself and selected these things,” he told Dezeen at the fair.

One piece is a modular coffee table made up of three jagged hunks of dark-hued stone. These were left largely untouched except for a flat tabletop, which was sanded down.

Dark-hued textured bench
A textured bench also features at the fair

“You can see that the elements of the objects are completely unchanged in their dimensions,” said In der Elst, who explained that the furniture was created to evoke the texture and materiality of large rocks.

“The key is to patiently search for the right one among the accumulated offcuts,” continued the designer. “Nothing is processed after finding it – so it’s a bit like [building with] Lego!”

Dark-coloured sandstone chair
In der Elst designed a tombstone-style chair

Among the other pieces in the collection is a chunky floor lamp crafted from the discarded sandstone, which was fitted with a large, orb-like bulb.

In der Elst also created another coarse coffee table and a bench, as well as a squat vase and an angular chair that was made to playfully resemble a dark-coloured tombstone.

The designer is showcasing reworked versions of older products from his Soft Works collection alongside his stone-based creations.

His 2022 “pasta chair” – geometric seating with protruding latex tubes that look like jumbo tubes of bucatini – was recreated in black, rather than its original blue.

In der Elst’s Aluskin Sofa was also present at the fair – a revised version of a previous foam armchair. The sofa was created from polyurethane foam, an industrial byproduct salvaged from a mattress factory.

Soft Works furniture collection
The designer also showed reworked pieces from his Soft Works collection

The work is part of the design week’s annual group exhibition Älvsjö Gård, a platform created to showcase experimental pieces that straddle one-off pieces and industrial design.

Elsewhere in Stockholm, Dezeen’s deputy editor Cajsa Carlson spoke to Iittala’s creative director Janni Vepsäläinen about her vision for the renowned Finnish brand, while design studio Form Us With Love invited architects and interior designers to test out an experimental pop-up workspace called Testing Grounds.

Stockholm Design Week takes place in Stockholm from 5-11 February. See Dezeen Events Guide’s Stockholm Design Week 2024 guide for information about exhibitions and events taking place throughout the week.





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