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Werkraum Werkbank, Wolfgang Lässer

Form follows Bregenzerwald

Form follows Bregenzerwald

Isabella Natter-Spets of the designforum Vorarlberg covers everything old and new in design in Bregenzerwald.

Wolfgang Lässer has little time for clichés. He has worked independently as a carpenter for more than two years – without having his own workshop. Instead he earns his keep with colleague Caspar Meusburger in Großdorf. Having thought long and hard, he decided that it would be better to keep things small: Putting himself in debt would have an effect on his creativity. So when it comes to big projects, Wolfgang prefers to collaborate with his many good friends in the business – the talented craftsmen of the Bregenzerwald. Who else?As opposed to designing table and chairs, Wolfgang has instead created things that other carpenters might not, such as a hammer, a tool box, wooden glasses (designed with Edgar Höscheler), a tea cart or even a mobile, height-adjustable and multifunctional workbench.

This workbench was contracted by the Werkraum Bregenzerwald, an internationally known cooperative of craftsmen in Bregenzerwald, who have now started their own school with the goal of weaving together apprenticeships and training into a solid foundation for young talent. Such an innovative school requires extra special furniture, a workbench on which one can really work (and write, learn and present of course as well). The contracting for such a task was both comprehensive and challenging, explains Wolfgang Lässer. “Four people expressing different perspectives… I took everything in and then decided to see the whole thing as a challenge,” he says with a grin. They wanted furniture that could be used as both a desk and a workbench with plenty of functionality. Such pieces should also be beautiful enough to be displayed elsewhere, so that the customer base might extend beyond the school itself.

The result is something that Lässer modestly describes as “ready to go, as it is.” It is a furniture-like workbench with plenty of functionality thanks to the perforated plates: for bench hooks, for perpendicular fastening, for straight-line cuts, for clamping projects to allow planing, and for sawing, chiselling, gluing, sanding and attaching a metal vice. This is something with purpose beyond the workshop, which could even be used at home. This special hybrid took plenty of time, planning and development to create. “I really very much enjoy drafting, either on paper or the screen, but also while working.” His tools of the trade include a welding tool and a metal turning lathe.

Lässer particularly likes building prototypes individually and then “coworking,” completing a series along with colleagues. “I make the workbenches in collaboration with Bundschuh Holzhandwerk in Hittisau. They specialise in work and planing benches. The collaboration with them is uncomplicated and I really couldn’t ask for more.” Networking, he adds, “is so important. I always think about who can do things faster or with more joy than I can, and how people can help me do my work better.”

Author: Isabella Natter-Spets