Frank Buchwald

Frank Buchwald

Berlin-based Frank Buchwald was born in Hannover, Germany in 1956. After studying design at the University of Arts in Berlin, Frank worked as a freelance artist and science-fiction illustrator until 1993 when he turned his attention to designing and manufacturing metallic furniture.

Frank Buchwald workshop

He created all manner of metal furniture, gradually turning his focus and efforts toward making lamps, however it took Buchwald many years before he felt that the designs of his sculptural lights were satisfactory.

Buchwald's studio, where he meticulously creates everlasting objects, is located in Berlin inside an old-time industrial building outfitted with bricks, large windows, dark staircases, antique electric switches, and visible scars from World War II. The entrance is stuffed with steel bars and metal plates. In the heart of his studio, the walls are lined with comprehensive sketches and work tables covered with lathes, welders, and hand tools – all the skilled artist needs to imprint his characteristic look onto raw materials.

Büsser has been fortunate to witness Buchwald at work. “It was a fascinating experience,” says MB&F’s founder. “Frank is incredible, as is his workshop – it is full of metal bars and blocks of metal. He designs, machines, assembles, and finishes everything himself. It is really a way of life for him.”

“Frank Buchwald’s Machine Lights typify the mechanico-artistic excellence that forms the cornerstone of the M.A.D.Gallery,” Büsser adds, “Frank creates machines that give light, where his craft transcends a practical purpose and his creations well and truly assume the status of artworks.”

Buchwald’s soul embodies each work: his dedication is apparent in the artistic fabrications expressed by every minute detail of their unique creativity.

Machine Lights

Buchwald's Machine Lights are majestic hand-crafted lamps featuring an almost anatomical form thanks to their alien-like, four-footed bases and quasi-corporeal symmetry.

Describing his creations, Buchwald says, “The attentive observer will not fail to notice that the Machine Lights live from a source other than the hand of man. Although I have worked for over ten years on them, I don’t really regard them as my own work: they are beings in their own nature.”

It took Buchwald many years before he felt that the designs of his sculptural lights were moving in the right direction and an even longer time until he could say he was completely satisfied. “The individual lamp models were not designed spontaneously in a moment of inspiration,” he elaborates. “It was rather a long groping for a hard-to-comprehend, meaningful form.”

Each lamp is made using more than 200 individual components in an intricate combination where burnished blackened steel throws the rich patina of brass and the warm, yellow glow of visible light filaments into sharp relief. Every brass component is meticulously hand-polished, while the steel is repeatedly hand-burnished with chemicals to achieve an impressive silky black oxidation. The creation is often completed with the addition of a hand-blown glass globe.

After dedicating more than a decade to the collection of his Machine Light designs Buchwald admits, “I have the feeling that the Machine Lights now portray what I imagine them to, I think that they have now reached the right level of completeness and perfection.”

Frank Buchwald - Machine Lights
Frank Buchwald - Machine Lights Machine Lights Type No. 1
  • L. 30cm H. 47 cm
  • Price: HK$96,000

Frank Buchwald - Machine Lights
Frank Buchwald - Machine Lights Machine Lights Type No. 5
  • L. 64cm H. 38 cm
  • Price: HK$93,000


The purpose of Buchwald’s work is to endure through generations. He does not follow a specific design formula, which provides him with the freedom to create objects that eschew modern trends or market requirements, nor does he feed from the positive reactions of customers and art connoisseurs.

Frank Buchwald - Sketch

Buchwald’s philosophy and inspiration result from past and everyday experiences. “Pencil, glue and cardboard...railway stations, steam engines...childhood memories. Creativity and enthusiasm form the golden thread that has weaved through my life. They’re my fuel.” he explains.

The development process begins with a simple, quick sketch that usually forms the foundation of a new project, followed by several iterations of drawings. Typically, the rough drafts are executed with pencils and marker pens, allowing Buchwald to find the essence of a new object by effortlessly making changes.

“My work has to be open, capable of being quickly modified: any detail can change with one stroke at any given time. It's an evolutionary process in motion.” Buchwald explains, “I follow ideas and impressions. I am passionate about sketching and drawing because they allow me to bring my visions to life. If I don’t manage to make something of the ideas in my mind, then I feel unsatisfied.”

Once the sketch is complete, an engineering draft follows, but the artistic process continues in the workshop. The nature of the material or a spontaneous idea can still transform the original concept, making for an excitingly dynamic process.

For Buchwald, metal is the perfect material with which to creatively work, and he applies a variety of techniques: melting in blast furnaces and shaping by massive machines feels like an "act of creation" for him, bringing energy and power into the metal.

Frank Buchwald - Workshop