Early coffee. Downloaded fresh apps. Different technical achievements, that his children have never heard of. Sketches on the edge of the notebook waiting to be transformed into the technical drawings folder. Maris Vahter talks with Radis Furniture’s designer.
Raul working (courtesy of Radis Furniture).
Maris Vahter: I’ve never seen you without a pencil?
Raul Abner: In childhood, I had a good hand in drawing, but my favorite subject at school was math. The boys of that time were still attracted to any available technical activities. This resulted in the entry of a technical school that was not completed in the end. My first job was in an automated telephone station as a montage specialist. After the military service, when my family was established, I had to think about income, and then I got into the woodwork and studied to become a carpenter. So I suppose I’ve been involved in furniture manufacturing for the long term.
M: Were you destined for furniture design, Raul?
R: I was working in a construction company that could not withstand the economic downturn. This where Radis’ development truly started. At first, a small production space was rented and entirely hand tools were used. We started with garden furniture. The first product was a garden swing. Then we moved towards the interior furniture. Son assisted with sales and marketing. In this way, many products were caught between magazine covers. As the feedback was very positive, it encouraged me to design more. Then we rented a larger working space and acquired machine tools and started manufacturing furniture. Beginning with children’s furniture.
Radis very first product – a garden swing (courtesy of Radis Furniture).
M: What got you started?
R: At that time I was only designed for my home. More serious interest arose with the construction of my house. As I also helped architect during the construction phase, some of the furniture pieces born for the need. As it turned out to be more than friends’ excitement, so for the positive vibes and feedback I managed to design the rest of the furniture for the entire house.
M: Do you ever give your “career advice” to others?
R: During the phase of designing products, I always take into consideration the machinery capabilities. Also, the materials we use, the practical features of the product and, of course, the unconventional aspects. Looking at the current market situation, we have luckily been influencers or pioneers in various nuances.
M: Tell me about the last product collection you did launch, NOBLE. How does it shift between different designs you have done before?
R: Continuously we will be introducing new materials. In the new NOBLE product line, we use oak veneer plywood and furniture linoleums. Let’s take advantage of the good properties of plywood – for example, it’s strength.
Sideboard-shelf NOBLE by Raul Abner (courtesy of Radis Furniture).
M: Are you always “ON”?
R: Even though as a retired, I still go to the workshop for “dusting” to stay fit. It’s also a friendly benefit over other creators that if I have an idea, I can realize it in the short notice. And whatever the future might have for me in its sleeve, a classical notebook and a drawing folder welcoming me to scratch new fresh ideas. As thoughts are born unexpectedly, and unless you sketch them on paper as fast as possible, you may not re-think them in the same way again.
M: What did you do yesterday and what you do tomorrow?
R: I’ am such a hobby photographer in everyday life and love crossword puzzles and meditative sudoku. But designing some sort of original solution may also be fascinating (Raul smiles).
Short story: CEO Mauri Abner about blockbuster GEE rocking chair
GEE plywood rocking chair was our first indoor product. We immediately went to the Cologne Trade Fair and made the visitor’s heyday, they immediately sit and swing there. But as most of the visitors on the fair were slightly lower weight and weight than Raul, the rocking chair was a bit tilted ahead. When I explained it to Raul, he did not want to believe it and refused to make changes to the product, fearing that the ability to swing would be reduced. After a year, however, he agreed to make the change. More people in Germany also felt more comfortable and this was immediately reflected in sales. But still, Raul remains skeptical about the impact of the changes.
Rocking chair Gee by Raul Abner (courtesy of Radis Furniture).