January 12th, 2022 Written by: Bernhardt Design


In an industry where hand made furniture is becoming a rare commodity, industrial designer Defne Koz defies conventional wisdom to create pieces made with great care and attention to detail. Inspired by the art of stonesetting, Koz brings this precision to Laine by combining traditional craft with new technology in her first product for Bernhardt Design.

Laine is a truly distinctive object that took more than two years to perfect. Crafted from solid walnut and stainless steel, every seat is carved to fit the four connecting points. Koz explains, “With Laine, I focused on the relationship between all of the shapes. I wanted something more interesting than the conventional leg that usually hides under the surface, so I designed a detail that carefully shows the meeting of the two materials. I found the best solution was in the four small metal ‘hands’ that seem to embrace the wooden seat in the same way a ring holds a jewel. The two materials meet with an exactness that is possible only by combining handcraft with contemporary technology like CNC machining and precision metal casting.”

Koz, who is based in Chicago and spends her time between US, Italy, and Turkey, collaborated with Jerry Helling, President of Bernhardt Design, during the design process. Their shared passion for craft, well conceived design details and the quality of the user experience are evident the moment you sit on the stool. Laine’s walnut seat is contoured with delicate curves that are pleasurable to the touch and the eye. The subtlety of the stainless steel loops allows the generous seat to appear as if it were suspended in space.

“We wanted to create a barstool that was a beautiful and functional object – something you would remember,” said Helling. “This project took over two years because we explored so many options with Defne searching for a detail that was truly unique and memorable. The visual of a gem in a metal setting is one that we all know and appreciate, and Defne found a way to translate that image into a piece of furniture in a way that appears effortless and natural.”

Laine will be available this November in an oiled walnut finish with the option of either a polished or brushed stainless steel base.


Award-winning industrial designer Defne Koz was born in Turkey and raised professionally in Italy. Her idea of design is influenced by her training in Ettore Sottsass’ studio in Milan, by the combination of her Turkish and Italian culture and by her curiosity for very different product types.

Her interests span from humanizing new technologies to rediscovering the tradition of hand made products.

Common to all her projects are her distinctive design language and the research on the sensorial qualities of materials.

She is partner of Koz Susani Design, based in Chicago, with Marco Susani, where she designs iconic, emotionally engaging, innovative award winning products and experiences. Their designs bridge domestic objects to high-tech devices, from hi-touch materials to interaction design, from luxury crafts to mass-manufactured products, always focusing on hi-quality design that embraces vision and innovation while preserving human, emotional qualities.

She is member of the board of the Art and Design Advisory Board of Akbank and was member of the Board of the Istanbul Design Biennale 2012. IMM KoelnMesse invited her to be a Trend Board Member for 2011 and to design the exhibition “Surprising Empathy” during the Koeln Furniture Fair. She has been jury member for Italy’s Compasso d’Oro Award, Germany’s IF and RedDot Awards, and France’s Cannes Lions Award.


Bernhardt Design was founded in 1980 by the 125-year-old Bernhardt Furniture Company and continues to be a leader and innovator in furniture design and production. During the past 10 years, President Jerry Helling has assembled an extraordinary creative team that has positioned Bernhardt Design as one of the leading international design companies with a roster of talent that includes: Ross Lovegrove (London), Arik Levy (Paris), Jaime Hayon (Barcelona), Yves Béhar (San Francisco), Patrick Jouin (Paris), Fabien Baron (New York), Monica Förster (Stockholm), CuldeSac (Valencia), Suzanne Trocmé (London), Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance (Paris), Jeffrey Bernett (New York), Charles Pollock (New York), and Claudia and Harry Washington (San Salvador).

Taking a proactive approach to sustainability, Bernhardt Design is one of the first furniture companies to have achieved level® certification, BIFMA’s multi-attribute standard assessing the environmental aspects of products, processes and facilities.

Setting a precedent for leadership within the corporate community, Bernhardt Design founded and annually sponsors an interdisciplinary course with the world-renowned Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, challenging students to create world-class designs for mass production. The company also sponsors the ICFF Studio, a scholarship program that provides emerging design talent exposure to manufacturers, retailers and media from around the world. In a collaborative partnership with creative consultancy Aruliden and The School at Columbia University, Bernhardt Design initiated the Tools at Schools project introducing design into the school’s 8th-grade curriculum.

American Design Honors, an annual award to recognize the most noteworthy American designers, was established by Bernhardt Design in 2010. Internationally, Bernhardt Design supports young designers through their sponsorship of The Carrot Concept, a cooperative conceived to advance the design profession in El Salvador, and America Made Me, a program to promote new brands and young American design talent abroad.

As a founding member of Be Original, Bernhardt Design is committed to the importance of preserving original design through education and informational programming.

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