200% times two
jehs+laub – the plus sign and lack of space between their names is no coincidence. It is a statement. The two creatives complement each other wonderfully. So it's perfect that there is no room for anyone else. Two lone wolves have joined forces.
At the beginning, Jürgen Laub certainly had his reservations about this arrangement: "I always thought that if I worked with someone, they would just depend on me and then the result would be 150% instead of 200%." That was before he started working with Markus Jehs: "Together it is 400%!"
The decision to work together and keep doing so was a very deliberate one. The reason: Markus Jehs. He was certain: "We don't employ anyone to do drawings or handle engineering or Instagram. We leave all that out and do what we can do, so that we have time for the most important part."
What they can do is a great deal. Designing furniture, chairs, lights, sofas, an ice hotel – and the Brunner A-Chair.
A chair for the 21st century
The A-chair appealed to both of them. Designing the right chair. One that can do it all and appeals to everyone. A sensible product that they would purchase themselves. Sensible means well thought-out and made.
Laub remembers the commission from Brunner: "Make what you want. Think how you want. Just make us a stackable row chair for the 21st century." And Jehs is still delighted about the outcome of this great liberty: "It became wonderfully minimalistic, the A-chair. When placed in a huge room, you don’t get the impression there are thousands of chairs, as the individual chairs merge together."
When we are making a chair, we have to judge it with our senses.
Both describe their collaboration with Brunner as a partnership. And they are well versed in partnership: "We see each other often. Then there are a wide variety of initial impulses: Either we have an idea that emerges from a conversation or Brunner specifically requires a solution," explains Markus Jehs.
Sometimes the phone rings, sometimes we receive an enquiry via SMS: "Could you perhaps mull it over?" During this process, Brunner proceeds as intuitively as jehs+laub create:
"I first contemplate the idea on paper, whereas Jürgen goes straight for the computer," says Jehs. This quick visualisation helps them enormously. As does the feeling of assurance that soon appears: that's it! Let's make that.
This feeling was also quick to arrive with the A-chair. Jürgen Laub remembers: "We cut it out of paper. In one piece. And then folded it. That’s when we knew: it was incredibly stackable and perfect for linking into rows. It is minimalistic with a brand new look. At that point, it was essentially finished as far as we were concerned. Now we just have to get to work."
What he refers to here as work firstly means finding answers: how can we turn the idea into a product? And what materials should be used?
One question was answered quickly: what should the chair for the 21st century be called? "There is this jehs+laub rule: If we think of the working title within 30 seconds, then the final product name will usually also come later on," says Markus Jehs. "A-chair – that was the working title. A so-called A-stacker and the double meaning: a chair." And a theme. "The perfect seat. It can certainly be found at Brunner. They have made them hundreds of times. Why not once more? Why should it suddenly be a problem?" Jürgen Laub and Markus Jehs agree on this point. Doing things better. This is a constant point of discussion between the pair. One that is so typical of jehs+laub. The duo made up of two total individualists.