Dezeen Magazine

Studioilse uses UNESCO-nominated craft technique for furniture collection

Ilse Crawford's Studioilse has collaborated with Bosnian craftspeople to create furniture using a UNESCO-nominated traditional carving technique (+ slideshow).

The Zanat Touch collection features stippled surfaces created by hand-carving small scoops out of the wood using custom-made metal tools.

Zanat Touch by Studioilse

Studioilse worked with Bosnian brand Zanat, whose technique is a current nominee for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The register draws attention to specialist regional skills in need of preservation.

Zanat carvers use techniques dating back 150 years, and work without referring to drawings, meaning the surface of each bench is unique.

Zanat Touch by Studioilse

Together Zanat and Studioilse created benches, tables and accessories, with each piece taking up to two days to complete.

"Our collaboration with Zanat was framed by their commitment to preserving cultural heritage and improving socio-economic development in Bosnia-Herzegovina," said Ilse Crawford.

"In this digital age we crave more tactile surroundings, so we explored using these carving techniques as a texture, rather than a pattern, to create tactile surfaces that engage our instinctive impulse to touch and understand our surroundings through our hands."

The studio tested several different techniques in an attempt to find something that would evoke an immediate tactile response in people using the furniture.

Zanat Touch by Studioilse

"Since woodcarving is a part of Zanat's DNA, we agreed to experiment with carving patterns to add a new aesthetic dimension to a minimalist, modern bench," said Zanat CEO Orhan Niksic.

Each piece is made from solid wood in Zanat's factory in Konjic, and benches also have optional cast bronze legs.

The company has worked with other contemporary designers to showcase its heritage technique. It collaborated with Swedish architects Wingårdhs to create a set of stools that were "tattooed" in hand-chiselled carvings.

With Stockholm designer Monica Förster, Zanat created a collection of furniture and accessories that featured decorative edges.

The Touch collection launched during Maison&Objet Paris, which took place from 2 to 6 September 2016, The furniture also featured in the Designers' Studio hub Crawford built for the fair.