Backenzahn means “molar” in German and is an apt moniker for perhaps one of Philipp Mainzer’s best-known pieces for e15. The enigmatic Backenzahn stool can also function as a side/occasional table and features a structure of four “post-like” legs that have been joined together to create the atypical volume. Each of the legs has been articulated as a separate element – the narrow gap between posts becomes a cruciform element at the top when viewed aerially. This gap also creates a wonderful shadow along the sides of the Backenzahn stool not only highlighting the three-dimensional nature of the respective elements but creating an engaging depth within the overall composition.
The wood used in creating Backenzahn is northern European oiled oak or walnut through which Mainzer celebrates the natural irregularities of the wood – striations, grain, and splits. As a result, every Backenzahn stool created is slightly different from the other – the only homogenizing features are its uniform size and the type of wood from which it has been created. The base of each of the post elements has been cut to create a stylized form that mimics the roots of a tooth. The tops of each are slightly concave – when joined they form a shallow depression to engender ergonomics as a seat. While this concave top can also be used as a surface, e15 also offers the Backenzahn stool with a flat top better suited to its use as a side/occasional table.
Backenzahn has an amazing sculptural presence; given its narrow footprint, it becomes a perfect solution as an impromptu stool or table in any interior.
Born in Germany, Philipp Mainzer studied product design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and architecture at the Architectural Association both in London. In 1995 he co-founded the modern furniture brand e15. Having established the progressive, enduring philosophy and unique branding of e15, he has received international awards for many of his designs, which are identifying icons for e15 and part of several permanent exhibitions in museums. Parallel to the creation of e15, Mainzer practiced architecture in New York and continues to do so since his return to Germany in 2001. He is a member of the executive committee of German Design Council and regularly gives lectures on architecture, design, and branding.
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