Danish furniture company Overgaard & Dyrman was established in 2013 by designers and craftsman, Jasper Overgaard and Christian Dyrman. With a passion for traditional craftsmanship and refined details, their designs result in timeless pieces with modern appeal, bridging the past with the present.
What’s the story behind Overgaard & Dyrman?Christian Dyrman and I met at the Engineering Studies in Aalborg in 2005 and almost from day one we realized we had the same ambitions and shared the same values and passion for great craftsmanship and design. During the studies our friendship and collaborative skills evolved. We ended up doing almost all projects together at the engineering education and also later on when we both, with a half year gap, changed to The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation in Copenhagen.
After graduation, we split up. Christian went back to northern Jutland and got a job as designer and product developer at a textile and furniture company. I stayed in Copenhagen and was employed as product and furniture designer at a strategic design consultancy. But we kept in touch.
Two years later we decided to team up again. We quit our jobs and formed Overgaard & Dyrman. We wanted to make a platform from where we could pursue our own ideas and dreams without compromising.
What is the creative process like, from initial conception to final completion? We advocate a design process where we constantly switch between hand-drawing, 3D computer drawing and building of 1:1 mock-ups and prototypes.
Due to the complexity of many of our designs, a big part of the process lies in the design and development of custom made tools and fixtures.
My primarily focus is on the creative direction and the overall design of the projects carried out at O&D and I often make the first sketches.
Christian’s focus is on the technicalities of the projects. He benefits from his background as a blacksmith. In general, we work on the product together for a period and then in the end Christian takes over. In my opinion Christian is a genius when it comes to the design and execution of the special jigs, fixtures and moulds required in the production set-up.
We believe the most efficient way to increase the longevity of a piece of furniture lies not only in the use of great materials, a durable construction, and in the overall design, but also to a great extent in the ergonomics and in the attention to details. Therefore, we put great effort into every single part of our designs and no detail is insignificant.
Given the unique shape and structure of the collection, where do you draw inspiration stylistically? Some would call our style classic, some contemporary, and others would say eclectic. But we try not to put our furniture into a certain era or style. Simply because we do not feel they fit into a certain box. Sure we have been inspired by the past but it’s more an inspiration and fascination for traditional craftsmanship, clever engineering structures, and the attention to details.
The Wire Collection started as a dining chair. We are both fascinated by clever structural constructions so optimizing the strength combined with our aim for a beautiful shape and the attention to details became the starting point. Based on Christians experience as a blacksmith we challenged the possibilities in bending and welding organic shaped steel rods and we tested the possibilities with modern CNC-wire bending.
The leather upholstery is inspired by traditional saddles where thick full-grain leather is combined with soft aniline leather. We decided to use this technique while it allows us to make a sharp looking, comfortable, and long-lasting upholstery.For the Wire Collection, the functional meeting between the leather upholstery and the metal frame, where leather straps are intertwined with the steel rods, has become a very essential part of the design.
If I should get back to the initial question, I would say that we find inspiration in various crafts and in all the small things that you do not always see at first glance, but in the end are what makes all the difference.
What do you believe sets you apart from other furniture manufacturers, whether in technique, material, or craftsmanship? I believe our greatest strength as furniture manufactures is our background as designers and craftsmen. To be able to design complex products, it’s important to know about manufacturing methods, craftsmanship, and material properties. And when you develop tools, jigs, and fixtures in a production it’s an advantage to think as a designer. When considering these aspects, I believe Christian and I make a good team.
For example, we have made the first hundred, if not more, furniture pieces from the Wire Collection with own hands. Therefore, we have a unique understanding of each and every little detail both in the design and manufacturing and that allows us to constantly develop and improve the production set-up in collaboration with our fantastic craftsmen.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned as you’ve embarked on this new endeavor? When we established Overgaard & Dyrman, we were designers and craftsmen but not businessmen. From the very beginning we have had a dream but we have also been aware that we would need consultancy from more experienced people related to the establishment of a furniture brand, etc. Luckily, we found those people but we have also been in contact with many people that did not share our values and ideas.
During the process, we have been advised numerous of times to make simple and thus cheaper products. Furthermore, the question, ‘why not make them in China’ has been a standard question. That’s simply because it’s a common opinion that the main goal for all companies must be to sell as much furniture as possible and often in spite of focusing on the quality. I think that’s a shame. In my opinion, there are already too many ‘businessmen’ in the furniture industry.
A great lesson is that it’s important to get all the advice you can from all the clever people willing to help, but remember to stay true to your own ideas and values, and to remember it’s your dream and not theirs.