Natalie Weinmann's slate furniture "not designed to fit one purpose"

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Natalie Weinmann's slate furniture "not designed to fit one purpose"

The three pieces in the Samt Rau collection by Hamburg-based designer Natalie Weinmann are made from natural stone and solid oak with their potential uses left open to interpretation by the individual (+ slideshow).

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

Despite being named Bench, Table and Newspaper Rack, after their most likely functions, Natalie Weinmann describes her Samt Rau collection as "erratics" – rocks or boulders that differ from the surrounding rock and are believed to have been brought from a distance by glacial action.

"You can find a million ways to use an erratic," she told Dezeen. "Sit on it, lean against it, lie upon it. It’s up to your imagination since it’s not specifically designed to fit one purpose."

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

Bench is made from a large slab of slate on two long timber beams, its surface partially left raw as it came out of the ground having fractured along naturally occurring mineral layers. Elsewhere it is sanded and polished to a smooth finish.

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

"I like the complexity of working with natural stone. Its appearance is heavy and powerful but at the same time elegant with a soothing effect," said Weinmann. "It is rarely predictable, you never know how it will behave when it’s processed, and you need to know how to find the beauty within it."

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

"Slate looks very natural and rough with its broken surface but at the same time, processed in the right way, it develops a very precious appearance."

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

Table is made from a smaller hunk of slate with the same surfaces and a horizontal circular piece of oak inserted into one corner just below the top edge.

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

"Oak was added for two reasons. On one hand it is also a naturally grown material with similar unpredictable patterns showing up when processed," said the designer. "On the other hand oak is lively, visually pleasant and tactile. The warm timber, when combined with the blackness of the slate, makes the objects complete."

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

Newspaper Rack is made from a similar piece of slate upended with a flat, square piece of oak inserted into one side at a sharp angle, creating a v-shaped niche.

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

The slate comes from Mayen in Germany and is cut to shape using a circular saw. The same saw creates the slots for the oak pieces before the cut edges are oiled and polished. The timber pieces are made by a carpenter and inserted into the slots on installation.

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

"I hope people will see the beauty of the naturally kept stone in these objects," said Weinmann. "I love the way people are surprised and fascinated about the haptics of the different surfaces when touching the objects. This is something you can’t see in images, you need to experience it."

Samt-Rau by Natalie Weinmann

Samt-Rau developed out of Natalie Weinmann’s Master Degree Project from the State Academie of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany.

Photography is by the designer.