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MFA Furniture Design

Nicolas Girerd

Swedish Wooden Boats, and Where They’re Going


This project aims to investigate, analyze, and contextualize the rich historical and traditional craft of wooden boat design in Sweden. Through individual research, material explorations, and interactions with a broad community of experts as well as amateur boat enthusiasts, this project aims to discover how the methods, techniques, and mentality of boat building, can be used in applications for contemporary furniture design and construction. The project demonstrates one way in which humans can continue to practice and promote traditional artistic practices and skill set involved in boat building, while remaining relevant in a modern furniture context. By applying such traditional construction processes and techniques, the project provides an example of how a younger generation of furniture designers and makers can develop and nurture the wood furniture platform in a more conscious and circular direction.

The project embraces the idea that wood furniture can be designed and constructed more sustainably, by moving away from the familiar single life cycle, and embracing circularity. Following a mindset of “how would a boat builder build furniture”, the three prototypes shown are clearly influenced by the aesthetic and practical qualities that have become identifiable features of Scandinavian Boat craft. The Pettersson chair, the Archipelago Bench, and the Clinker Roll are presented as prototypical furniture pieces that push to challenge the common notion of what it means to be furniture by envisioning a new approach to how we can design, build, and maintain furniture.