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Dean Toepfer – the urban minimalist

Dean Toepfer interview furniture designer

I had the pleasure of talking to Dean Toepfer, an Australian furniture designer whose background is in fashion design. His urban and physical understanding of shape and form is reflected in the modern and dynamic form language of his furniture pieces. Inspired by the great masters of minimalism and functional design, Dean achieves a cross between these established qualities while adding a modern and abstract twist to his designs!


Hallo Dean tell me a little bit about yourself

My Name is Dean Toepfer and I am an Australian furniture and lighting designer currently based in Adelaide. I have a degree in furniture design from RMIT in Melbourne and recently moved to Adelaide to undertake an associate position at the JamFactory where I will further develop my designs, style and aesthetic.


Dean Toepfer - Photoshoot - furniture designer zwei-design.com


Who has been a source of inspiration or role model in your design process?

Deiter Rams, Marcel Breuer, GamFratesi, Space Copenhagen & Lievore Altherr, to name a few.


Did you always want to be a furniture designer?

To be honest I’m kind of a late bloomer. I always loved the design/making process whilst in workshop classes at school; tho after graduating I took a different path. I studied fashion then worked in the industry for a quite a few years ending up as an international sales manager. Wanting to pursue something I felt was more meaningful and rewarding, I decided a change of careers was needed and went back to university. I have always had an appreciation for craftsmanship and the design process so decided to undertake an Associate Degree in Furniture Design.


Where do you find your inspiration?

I love to experiment with shapes, forms, and textures. I find inspiration for this in all sorts of places, whether it be juxtaposing architecture in the city or natural dispositions in nature. I also get inspired from less direct content like fashion and music by the style and sentiment they can evoke.

Dean Toepfer - Europa Stool via zwei-design.com
Europa Stool


What do you want to achieve with your brand?

Aiming to stand out from the crowd, I am committed to providing quality, functional and honest designs with an emphasis on detail and originality. My primary objective is to create an Australian furniture and lighting brand that can compete in the international market.


Describe your style

My style is somewhat contemporary and minimal, I like to strip back all unnecessary elements and let the form and shape speak for themselves. I’m always aiming to produce stylish and edgy pieces that can fit in effortlessly in today’s marketplace whilst avoiding trends that will out-date.


Dean Toepfer - House Stool and Buxton Pendant via zwei-design.com


What’s your philosophy?

Do what you love and love what you do.


What’s your favorite material to work with?

I always go through stages where I am obsessed with certain materials, right now it’s steel tube. Who knows what’s next?


Dean Toepfer - Ziggy Chair_ZWEI Design
Ziggy Chair
Dean Toepfer - Ziggy Chair_ZWEI Design
Ziggy Chair


What do you enjoy most while designing and creating?

It’s the process as a whole that I love. What starts as a thought or idea in my head slowly grows, If I’m still drawn to the idea weeks later I’ll put pen to paper (or mouse to screen) and start the ideation and concept process. There is then the development stages, this can be extremely frustrating at times as I come up against hurdles that I didn’t expect where processes or parts of the design have to be changed or altered. But overcoming these obstacles and refining the design to have an actual finished product is such an amazing feeling, the buzz I get is second to none. Overcoming the challenges make the success so much more rewarding.


Who are your objects made for?

Anyone and everyone one who appreciates my style and aesthetic.


Dean Toepfer - Hause Stool - via zwei-design.com
Hause Stool


What are you going to focus on next?

I am currently working on multiple projects which include pieces for my own brand and a few licensed designs for a number of Australian furniture and lighting retailers. Outside of that my other main focus will be on building my brand identity. There is an ever-growing list of things to do but that is always at the forefront when trying to establish myself as an emerging designer.


Thank you Dean,  for taking the time and telling me a little bit about yourself, what inspires you and drives your design process! I wish you all the best for your upcoming designs!



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