Gesa Hansen’s latest designs for Tivoli Audio aren’t just elegant, simple pieces of wooden furniture created to house and complement the brand’s trademark wood-framed stereo components – they also avoid the common modern-day phenomenon of kabelsalat or, in English, ‘cable salad’.

The young German designer, now based in Paris, comes from a long line of Scandinavian architects, designers and carpenters. She originally studied graphic design at Bauhaus University in Germany, but experienced a change of direction after visiting a lecture by Axel Kugel.

“I was so amazed by his personality I changed all my courses to product design. He’s the reason I became a designer,” says Hansen.

After graduating, she went on to work at Jean Nouvel and H5 in Paris, and the NDC in Tokyo, before starting up her own furniture design studio, The Hansen Family, in Paris after finding her grandfather’s design archive at the family home in Germany.

“My father is into minimalistic steel and glass design, which I never liked,” she says now. “When I was little, my grandfather and I used to build dollhouses together, and then little boats, and then bigger boats that could actually do stuff in the water. His theoretical design work is inspiring to me, and the way he worked wood is amazing.”

She subsequently re-opened her grandfather’s wood workshop, to the amusement of her father. “My dad was like, sure, go ahead, play,” says Hansen, laughing.

Walking the streets of Paris one day, she fell in love with a coffee table in a shop window. After finding out it cost €30,000, she decided to make her own in the atelier the next time she visited her parents.

Two years later, her Remix collection – a line of furniture influenced by Scandinavian and 1950s American design, and produced using the oak that grows in the forest next to her German atelier – won two red dot awards and the Good Design Award at the Chicago Athenaeum.

As well as the sideboard and coffee table produced for Tivoli Audio, she has produced a limited edition (Black Remix) for Surface to Air, and collaborated with Masaya Kuroki to design a travelling trunk that turns into a display case for Kitsuné clothing at Barneys New York.

“My family finally started getting excited about it because I get so much press attention,” she jokes.

From her base in France, she uses the family business for backup – her mother, sister and brother are all working for her label, but are still part of the larger company. “Memory is a huge part of my work,” says Hansen. “It’s not high-fashion, but based on a family tradition, so it’s not only the furniture you buy.”

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