Meet Your Maker

Martin Goebel Crafts Furniture to Last a Lifetime

Photo by Demond Meek

Meet Martin Goebel, a St. Louis furniture maker crafting pieces to last a lifetime.

What’s the most important thing when you’re building a piece of furniture?

“First and foremost, functionality. If it doesn’t function as a piece of furniture, it doesn’t matter the aesthetic choices that you make, it doesn’t matter the wood selection. If it doesn’t function, it’s going to be one of those nuisance items that might look good in the corner of the room, but doesn’t have that interaction with the family or with the individual or the dog that sleeps in it. It needs to have that function that makes it not [just] the pretty thing in the corner.”

So your furniture isn’t about creating beautiful objects, but an object that creates beautiful experiences?

“It is. We most definitely want to create aesthetically pleasing design, but we would more like to create an aesthetically pleasing and emotionally pleasing lifestyle.”

Is there an experience that you’d be most proud of cultivating with your furniture?

“I don’t think there’s one in particular I’d be most proud of because they’re so personally significant to each individual that its not about me as the maker. One of the few things that I’m happy I was able to do was for my parents. My parents renovated their kitchen and there was a nook in the kitchen with a bench. My nieces and nephews were all being born at the time the kitchen went in and my mother said to me, ‘I want a bench that is large enough for my grand babies to sleep in while I cook for them.’ Benches for a one-year-old don’t need to be adjusted all that much, but I didn’t want that experience to only occur when they were extremely young. So we made this bench that was about 24 inches deep [with] a rather thick pad on it somewhat concealed in the surface of the bench seat; so you didn’t have a thick pad that was out of proportion with the rest of the bench, but you did have a very comfortable surface to sleep on. I believe every one of their grandkids and probably my 6-foot-2-inch brother has taken a nap on that bench while my mother has cooked.”

cpyright 2007 William F. Leslie

Photo by Noah Alexander


Photo by Noah Alexander


Photo by Noah Alexander