as you may know, we have a certain sympathy for the rebels and crazy ones (see also: our manifesto and interview series). we find it all the more exciting and fitting to finally be able to present ernest igl for once.
ernest “igl” hofmann was on an artistic mission: in 1970, for example, he designed the legendary „igl jet desk” as a rebellion against „a style of furniture prescribed by woodworking machines – smooth, angular, pompous, aggressive and repulsive“. conventional materials such as wood, glass and steel were therefore out of the question for the furniture reformer. its harmonious contours – as igl found out – could only be formed from plastic in industrial series production.
but first back to the beginnings: ernest hofmann (1920 – 2001) graduated from the commercial academy in karlovy vary in 1938 and attended the college of fine arts in prague and the academy of applied arts in munich. after the war he worked as a graphic artist and enjoyed a high reputation as one of the best illustrators for new school books, then came arts and crafts in all materials and soon he distinguished himself as an internationally sought-after industrial designer, developing body moulding for commercial vehicles such as excavators, loader wagons, forklifts, road rollers, caterpillars, combine harvesters and tractors, followed by commissions in mechanical engineering, the shoe industry, lighting, furniture and household goods like tableware.
he didn’t see himself as a designer, but rather as an universalist and artistic problem solver: supported only by handicraft workers, he designed and produced models up to 10 m in length in a 400 m² studio. his principle: to reduce ideas from three-dimensionality to two-dimensional flatness by unwinding them, and then to transform them into plastic messages by reshaping them – as a synthesis of analysis. with his education and degree from the karlsbad commercial academy, he was well aware of the commercial aspects of design: so when he designed his iconic “jet desk”, it was years ahead of its time in terms of work ergonomics, (for example see the bevelled edge on the front for more comfortable leaning against the table) and a patent application was filed for this desk in the U.S.. in fact, there are hardly any desks that surpass an igl jet in exclusivity and elegance – if you are not attached to the representative oak desk of the company patriarch.
we found this Jet Desk in a sad state, at least as far as the table top was concerned. The wood fibre board, which sits in a plastic frame, had cracks where moisture had entered and thus the wooden part had swelled up. When sanding, the top then simply crumbled away as the moisture had put the glue out of action.
Our perfectionist carpenter milled the top 8 mm of the swollen fibreboard out of the plastic frame with absolute precision and replaced it with an identical new wooden panel. Our car painters also did their best afterwards.
the jet desk standard colours (white, black, old, orange) were a bit too standard for us, so we opted for a creamy Sahara beige. not so much out of rebellion against ourselves, more because it just looks damn good.
Jet Desk with 6 drawers, everything is functional. Only the drawers are no longer lockable, as we did not get any keys for them.