Austrian designer Irene Maria Ganser’s stunning furniture pieces and accessories demonstrate the softer side of metals and bring a luxurious lustre to any interior.
Born in 1974 in Linz, Ganser traveled throughout Europe gaining work experience and studying at a number of institutions along the way. She first earned a Masters in Fashion Design from the Instituto Marangoni Milano, graduating in 1996. In 2005, she followed this up with a Master of Science Management Development and Communication in Krems, before returning to the field of design; establishing her eponymous studio in Vienna in 2007 and subsequently graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture from the New Design University St. Pölten in 2012.
Alongside her formal studies, Ganser credits her years working with Kris Ruhs and Como Corso 10 in Milan from 1998 to 2000 as a particularly formative and educational experience, calling it “better than university.” Ganser was the assistant of American artist, designer, and goldsmith Kris Ruhs—partner of Como Corso 10 founder Carla Sozzani—and supported him and his studio on interior design projects for Como Corso 10, including the new design for the Corso Como restaurant in Milan, as well as working on a wide range of jewelry, textiles, printing, photography, and product design projects. Of the rich learning experience, Ganser says “I learned a lot about shape, different materials, experimenting… and finding different combinations. This is still what I like doing now; experimenting with materials, shapes, and colors.”
This enthusiasm for creative experimentation is evident in Ganser’s diverse practice, which ranges from metalwork, jewelry, and furniture design through to site-specific installations, commercial art, and painting. Her spectacular metal furniture designs are a highlight; pieces like the tree trunk-inspired Albeo series of side tables succeed in bringing a magical sense of warmth and organicism to the metal. Ganser works with a foundry just outside of Vienna to create these impeccable pieces, applying the finishing touches herself in her studio.
Ganser’s work has been exhibited widely in Europe, including at Salone del Mobile (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014), Venice Design Week (2016), Design Space Skopje, Macedonia (2016), at ToolsGalerie in Paris, at MAK in Vienna, and at the Austrian Embassy in Montenegro, amongst others. She continues to live and work in Vienna, Austria.