In the Tradition of Augustus the Strong


Deutsche Werkstätten services:
Design, development, manufacturing

Manfred Schmid:
Design, Urushi laquering

Completion 2012


A cabinet that would have graced the palace of Augustus the Strong To celebrate the end of a long period of refurbishment and the opening of the third part of its permanent exhibition From Art Nouveau to the Present in March of this year, the Grassi Museum came up with a clever marketing slogan: “Es ist voll Pracht” (It is full of splendour) which, when read out with a Saxon accent, sounds more like “Es ist vollbracht” (It is complete). Quite apart from this witty play on words, the museum is well worth a visit – and not just on account of the many exhibits emanating from Deutsche Werkstätten.
We can also now rejoice that “it is complete / full of splendour”, by which we mean the unveiling of our latest ‘apprentice piece’ – a very special cabinet. We have the Bremen-based, urushi lacquer artist Manfred Schmid to thank for this wonderfully ambitious handcrafted project, the progress of which we have reported on at regular intervals on our website. Manfred Schmid had long entertained the desire to make a cabinet in the tradition of the lacquered furniture and cabinets of craftsman Martin Schnell who had a workshop in Dresden at the time of Augustus the Strong. As only the outer shell was to be finished with urushi lacquer and Schmid’s design saw the interior of the cabinet in wood, he had to find a partner who would take on this task. He found one in Hellerau – and we are proud to have been part of this project with Manfred Schmid. After approximately 18 months of development and manufacturing time, one cabinet (urushi and cherry wood) has been sold and a further exemplar (urushi and flowering ash) can be seen at the Museum für Lackkunst (Museum of Lacquerware) in Münster from 4th May 2012. Three further cabinets are envisaged in Manfred Schmid’s concept, but no more. Because some things in life have to be kept on a small scale in order to be kept beautiful. Price on request.

Text: Deutsche Werkstätten
Photo: Sven Döring