Just as long as it’s
an exciting read.
The back of this book refers to this volume as a monograph – and it delivers all that this promises, providing for the first time what is virtually a catalogue raisonné of the works of Gert Weber from 1967 to the present day. So far so good. As for the commentaries to his furniture, his furnishings and his architecture, there's no mistaking their strong biographical bias.
The text accompanying the beautiful, tall cupboard, for example, tells us that it was dedicated to Max, his newborn son. His other works are similarly placed within a biographical context. The text becomes wholeheartedly autobiographical as it takes the reader from the monograph, printed in black, to the chapters printed in red, the very midst of the Weberean autobiography. Three in-depth chapters with stories about three women testify to this.
Those who prefer the story of a man’s life to be neatly arranged will not find this book easy going. Although the typography and layout make for a wonderfully generous and clear structure, Gert Weber’s life and work follow a line of their own and merge into one another. In Weber’s case it makes little sense to divide the professional from the autobiographical, for that is simply not the kind of man he is. The various phases of his life and creativity are connected in ever new and, at times, pretty complex ways. The way in which his works present themselves are as strict and consistent as his life lines are impulsive and carefree.
A similar contradiction is also to be found between the craftsmanlike precision present in all of Weber’s works and the nonchalance and hedonistic talent of the man who created them. This is probably a classic case of opposing natures, as is often apparent among the creative.
The orderly reader need not fret, therefore, if he is unable to decide whether this is an autobiographical monograph or an autobiography in monographic form. The best thing is to see Gert Weber as a man who likes to tell a story and who does so in an unusually open way – and also to realize that works that are convincing as a result of their functionalism, coolness and self-confidence do not necessarily have to originate from a life based on straight lines and right angles.
In addition to an exciting life story and an overall picture of the Weberean œvre, this book also offers the reader a personal note of encouragement: to live what he has dared to dream.
Gert Weber – Life & Work
To encompass the œuvre of Gert Weber stretching back over the past forty years means leaving the spoken and written word behind and instead diving into the senses – all the senses at once. His work is an invitation to see, to touch, to feel and, finally, to explore the space within and around us.
It is impossible to talk of a career. That would be too simple for such a complex vision. Life and work continually intermesh. But it is his projects that best express the unusual trajectory of his life, with its highs and lows, its delights and sadness, its insights and revelations. His works ultimately give a sense of bringing everything together where what is in his mind and its material expression are at one.
What comes first is never easy to know. Did the way Gert Weber lived his life shape the work or was it the other way around? In retrospect, his individual cosmos has long had a unity with some key features at its core: simplicity, proportion, a passion for detail and quality, but also a surprising edginess.
Gert Weber is an architect driven by curiosity. He understands his mission to communicate and create a dialogue within archetypal principles. His well-crafted work exudes a calm presence, yet it resonates and inspires. You want to touch it and what you see and feel then becomes one. His ideals are materially translated into spaces for life, for work and even act as a showroom. You experience it as a playground, and living with it, as I do, the private and professional intertwine. Your body in these spaces feels open and giving.
He has a great feeling for materials: stainless steel, leather, wood, glass, stone. He tries to bring out the best in them, whether creating a home in which to feel at home, a flat, a house, a penthouse apartment, or an office to work in, even a mobile one.
The aim is to provide comfort and to create surroundings that encourage people to go beyond their own imagination. The resulting spaces have precious objects, yet also enough emptiness to enable us to take a long, deep breath. These skilful interventions allow each space to radiate a sense of freedom whilst focusing us on the essentials. The spaces he creates seem to expand and convey both individuality, lightness and even a touch of glamour. Neither more nor less.
Gert Weber is a craftsman. He loves function and beauty simultaneously. Function guides everything he does. His sense of balance gives the projects proportion. Often they feel perfect – there is nothing to add and nothing to get rid of. This gives his work a kind of nobility. He seems to exude an inner strength which eases itself into the way he uses and combines materials. This lends Weber’s work a special sensitivity and unique sensuality.
It is quite unusual for someone with such strong inner motivation, reliable intuition, thoughtfulness and a straight way of thinking and performing to have no philosophy in his work. Yet Gert Weber does have a philosophical personality. It is just craftsmanship following its idea – this is how he explains. A very simple formula indeed, but one that requires natural talent and a lifetime of experience where the inner life is let out and expressed in form. Weber is primarily an observer and listener and prefers to let his products do the talking. This enables him to create timeless values from the objects he designs.
His products are antiquities for the future. They have a quiet vibrancy, which comes from a profound understanding of his materials; they seem to speak to him. Every object has a subtle something that makes the apparently ordinary extraordinary. His signature is sensed at first glance.
Standard, Weber’s company name, speaks of his ambition to create his own standard of quality and his own currency. It suggests permanence and credibility. The objects are contemporary and yet timeless, and could therefore already be in an antique shop.
Gert Weber’s life, his work and the spaces he makes and shapes are interconnected and inseparable. This is how he understands the world and humanity, so customers become friends and friends become customers. It also affects how he goes about his work. Weber needs to grasp and encapsulate the precise context for living of those he works with, the kind of interaction that will take place. This brings about the necessary coherence.
The intention of Gert Weber’s work is communicated so well because of his vast experience as a craftsman, his introspection and deepening perception and insights over time. There is a sense of empathy, of the parts and whole being one, of unity in diversity, of timelessness or the permanence of change. How these processes of communication are stimulated and how ideas get transmitted is only now being understood by science. But perhaps none of that matters; instead we should enjoy Weber’s work without asking questions.
Life is not a straight line, it is far more a space filled with curves reflecting our ups and downs. Each period of life has differing qualities and sources of inspiration. For Gert Weber, the essential source of inspiration throughout his lifetime has been the Feminine. It is not surprising, therefore, that this monograph is dedicated to the Feminine principle – the only permanence in Gert Weber’s life.