Elegant eucalyptus

With its new HOKKA brand, MDT-tex is expanding its portfolio to include outdoor furniture. For “Genua”, the first collection, Danish designer Kasper Borchers has created products that are as sustainable as they are flexible.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 6/8/2020

“One year ago, Wilhelm Müller and I met in Copenhagen and he told me about his intention of developing a brand for outdoor furniture,” recalls Kasper Borchers. The idea was for the results to be sustainable, from the materials right through to the production system. “In the project, we wanted to give sustainable, regenerative raw materials a chance in order to treat outdoor spaces on a par with interiors,” comments Wilhelm Müller, Sustainability Manager at MDT-tex. Up until then, the corporation’s focus had been on developing high-grade solar protection systems. “HOKKA”, MDT-tex’s new brand, expands the portfolio’s reach and will also be marrying the company’s strong tradition in processing wood with a new approach. Borchers is a trained cabinetmaker and therefore well versed in handling natural materials. For him, the challenge was the design of the collection as he did not find any of the existing outdoor solutions satisfying. “I always found myself thinking it must be possible to do that better, to make it more elegant,” he says. And what he did not want was the furniture to show how sturdy it was, and therefore to seem massive, let alone outsized. “What interested me was to try out how filigree a frame can be without sacrificing stability,” Borchers avers.

“Genua” is the first attempt, and features no less than five products: An armchair, chair, two tables of different sizes, and a two-seat bench. All made of bright, slightly reddish eucalyptus wood that grows not far from the MDT-tex factory in Portugal and is processed on site with no long transportation involved. Flax and coconut ropes are hand-weaved to form the airy backrest and seat covers. Technological know-how and stainless steel team up to hold all the elements together, and add a gleaming touch, too. “I very much appreciate the freedoms that MDT-tex gave me when designing the first collection for the new HOKKA brand,” states Borchers. Essentially, the designs had to meet a sole criterion: The chairs had to be stackable. Thus, the “Genua Lounge Chair HK1”, the “Genua Lounge Chair HK2” and the “Genua Chairs HK4+5” can all be moved easily and flexibly – and if required swiftly be put to one side to save space. Moreover, the minimalist Nordic aesthetic provides an ideal basis for individual additions, such as colorful padding or cushions. Not that these are needed as regards comfort, as all the seating surfaces in HOKKA’s “Genua” Collection are extremely comfortable thanks to the weaved covers. “The goal was to make certain you felt good on the chairs even without padding,” Kasper Borchers insists. And is already busy thinking about the next advance to the HOKKA range: “We want to expand the collection step by step, one idea being to include a daybed,” the designer reports.