The Fundamental Group

Words

We meet the founders Gunnar Rönsch and Stephen Molloy of ‘The Fundamental Group‘, a Berlin based design and architecture studio, in a spacious loft of a friend and client in Berlin Kreuzberg. As we enter the flat, the main reason for our visit strikes the eye immediately: it’s a geometric designed table of the designer duo, which builds the centre piece of the dining area. The surface of the table is commonly even, put together with a periodically geometric pattern made of more than 200 triangles. In fact it consist of more than 500 prisms and pyramids. They give the table a clean patterned appearence and turn out to look like a mountainous surface at the bottom. This association provided the name of the table – Atlas.

The Fundamental Group was founded by Gunnar Rönsch and Stephen Molloy. They became friends after they both studied architecture at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. They shared a flat, located in Berlin Mitte, where soon after the first studio of the young architecture and design team also found its place. When the requests in the field of architecture were not enough yet, they decided to expand, creating furniture and home accessories. They developed clever objects out of valuable material, which are attractive for various groups of people.

When Gunnar and Stephen show us their studio – and at the same time domicile – on the top floor of a typical Berlin building, we find a pleasantly arranged space in which two employees work on new projects. Next door we find the living room which leads to the kitchen and to a workplace arranged in the attic. It gets quite clear that The Fundamental Group follows traditional precepts, although they add a modern twist. One of them is to orientate the design of an object on the texture of the material. ‘We work with, not against the material, says Gunnar. It wouldn’t be a solution to print a particular pattern on one of the furniture, if the material doesn’t provide this pattern by itself actually. They appreciate to work in a natural and innovative manner.

A signature feature of their drafts is their preference for repetitive patterns and geometric surfaces. This association probably contributes to the fact, that the works of the designer duo can claim a timelessness for themselves, which doesn’t get out of style even after generations.

Text and images Caroline Kurze

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