Artist Thomas Franke

An example of fine art by Thomas Franke

Photo of Thomas Franke


Artist Statement:
Many of the greatest architects also designed chairs and other pieces of furniture. I was drawn to furniture design because I think of it as a more immediate, intimate and less rigid form of architecture. Buildings can take years to complete, but with a piece of furniture, it is possible to conceive, design and construct a project in a much shorter span of time. Modifications or improvements can be easily made as the project develops or as inspiration dictates.
I began my career primarily as a furniture craftsman. As I progressed, I spent more time designing on the computer, and less as a hands-on craftsman. I have been fortunate to have had my designs sold worldwide. I have also had the benefit of working with a Danish Manufacturer, and I’ve been greatly influenced by the clean contemporary lines of Danish design.
In the last few years I’ve returned to my roots as a designer/craftsman. There are few things more rewarding to me, than taking a concept from the initial spark to completion with your own hands. I currently focus mainly on clocks and contemporary chairs, as these items seem to allow just the right combination of function and artistic freedom.
Influences: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Gerrit Reitveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Danish chair designer Hans Wegner
Born and raised in Milwaukee, I became interested in furniture as a design student at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
I have worked as:

Prototype Craftsman at Joerns Furniture, Stevens Point, WI
Exhibit Designer for Discovery World Science Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Product Development Manager and designer for Techline – hired by Marshall Erdman, who was a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright
Designer for Tvilum, an international furniture manufacturer in Denmark
Founded Thomas Franke Design, furniture design consulting business


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