Faißt Cabinet Making

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In 1993, Markus Faißt took on the cabinet maker’s workshop from his father who had founded it 60 years before in Hittisau, where it still is today. The family’s roots in craftsmanship reach far back in history and were recorded for the first time in the 19th century in a journeyman’s notebook. This is the heritage that Markus Faißt took on after completing his training as a cabinet maker and several stints abroad. His understanding of making furniture is that it has to follow the principles of building biology and meet ecological criteria. He sees himself and his team as makers of everyday cultural goods. Early contact with Roland Gnaiger, a renowned architect from Vorarlberg who also designed the modern building flanking his family home, greatly influenced his approach to cabinetmaking. Following a holistic understanding of his work, Markus Faißt has also been teaching academically for several years. Students and teachers from all corners of the world come to visit his Holzwerkstatt (wood workshop), a place of knowledge and skill and a place where wood is met with respect and appreciation.

Workshop, Place of Knowledge: Understanding a workshop as a place of knowledge means caring about its every aspect and detail, it means looking into all the processes involved and, if possible, controlling them. The 2.000 m² premises comprise the actual workshop, a separate building for timber storage and an exhibition space for cultural exchange. When it comes to production, choosing the best ingredients — or materials — comes first and foremost. Using only the highest quality is key when turning solid wood into products of purpose and beauty. As a commitment to the region and the environment, seven local types of wood are being used in the Holzwerkstatt: spruce, fir, beech, sycamore maple, ash, oak and elm. Sometimes the wood of fruit-bearing trees like pear or plum is used as well. Keeping his timber close-by in an airy, sun-protected storage allows Markus Faißt to always have an eye on it throughout the ageing and maturing process. Skilled, reliable members of other trades, often accompanied by the master himself, select the trees in the forest and chop and saw them. The team in the workshop, including the boss, his wife and all the apprentices, consists of no more than 12 people, a manageable company size. The comprehensive education and training of apprentices is a vital element in securing the future of the craft and the business.

Both machine and manual work is involved in the production of a furniture, some parts are chiselled out and connected by hand. Processes include ageing and maturing wood, sawing, cutting, miling, chiseling, planing, sanding, polishing, manual treating of surfaces (soaping, greasing)

You cannot buy just a chair in the House of Faißt. A chair belongs to a certain table, a table to a certain room. It is the volume that brings out the atmospheric qualities of wood. Still, this chair is the exemplary manifestation of how work is done here, how style evolves, how technology is developed and improved over time. Its name — Landluftstuhl — includes all the elements that characterise this piece of furniture: land, meaning also country or ground, air and chair. Derived from traditional interpretations, these elements are the constants in an ever-changing world. In the seating, made from classic solid wood, sit the tapered, heavily inclined legs. It is connected to the chair’s back through a dovetail strip in the centre, bundling the static forces in a new way. The chair is made of solid yet elastic ash, a light-coloured and high-quality furniture wood. Both machine and manual work is involved in its production, some parts are chiselled out and connected by hand. Also, in the treatment of the surface the hand is more accurate than the machine. In its formal appearance, the chair combines Biedermeier elegance with laid-back stability. Its low position not only makes for comfortable seating, but also enables new forms of communication.