“Commercial design with an edgy price?”
That’s how the founder and creator of Made by Michael defines the focal point of his design. Its namesake, Michael Daae Christensen, has never wanted to design objects which only the well-off can buy; he wants to sell quality design at a price which most people can afford.
“I love ready-to-assemble furniture – I think it’s very exciting to work with the process of establishing a situation in which the user of the product assembles the product himself without any screws or glue etc. The design will then be more fun and challenging to work with – and you often end up with a more elegant product that isn’t disrupted by visible connections.”
Christensen calls himself a self-taught craftsman. With a bachelor’s degree in Furniture design from TEKO, Design and Business in Herning, and currently studying his Master’s Degree in Furniture design at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Design and Conservation, in Copenhagen, Christensen is busy but still finds time for developing his business.
When asked what his favourite part of the design process is, he answers firmly and quickly: “The part where I get to test the prototype. I have made it an essential part of the process to test my products in a workshop. I love to work in the space between the theoretical part of the process and the practical. You need to feel the product to know if it’s going to be good, if you only work on a computer you won’t know if it’s really going to work.” He then also explains that being able to present a well-made prototype to a potential dealer is more convincing and will emphasize the usage of the product.
When problem solving, he asks himself: “What would I want?” and “What am I missing?” – and this is often a big part of the design process. He aspires to start from his own experience and then solve any problems by designing something that exceeds what has already been made.
It all started with Töjbox, a furniture piece that was chosen to go to the Furniture Fair in Stockholm, along with other objects made by fellow students. That was a couple of years ago – now he is working on something new, and is still kind of secretive about it. The people behind the company will grow in number from one to three, and Christensen explains that hopefully he will then be able to spend all his time on the creative part of the process.
With Töjbox, Christensen managed to fulfil his requirements for good-quality design. The aim with Töjbox was to make it accessible and user-friendly, and, more importantly, to give it a design that would benefit the buyer. Furthermore, Christensen has a high regard for sustainability, and designs objects that are easy to produce, ship and which are also easily assembled in the home of the new owner.
Christensen is also inspired by creating an “Aha” experience and leaving the user with a feeling of why he chose exactly that design. He explains that he doesn’t expect the user to feel like that straightaway, but over time, when using the product and thinking about it. That is very important to him.