Custom building bunk-beds at a young age was just the beginning for Phillip Behrens. As a childhood interest became a passion due to span over 35 years, Phillip earned a mechanical engineering degree Utah State University. After college, Behrens returned to his home country of Germany for three years to take part in an industrial woodworking apprenticeship.
Following his education in Germany, Phillip moved to North Carolina and worked for a couple of furniture companies for about 13 years, before he "tired of working other people's aesthetics out."
From there, Behrens was looking to break ground in an industry that didn't pose as a conflict of interest with his previous employers (bedroom furniture, office furniture). He and his wife attended the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market and, from there, his relationship with the outdoor furniture industry first began.
In 1995, Behrens opened his own design firm, Natura Designs in Winston Salem, N.C. Natura translates to natural in German, which relates to his inspiration — simplicity and truth.
"I like all my designs to be natural, true to themselves. I don't like ornamentation for ornamentation's sake. I operate more on a level on what kind of identity are we trying to make. I'm an inside-out designer, not a stylist. I enjoy the hunt for the experience of the idea we are trying to do. That is above and beyond everything else - that is very thrilling and totally unpredictable."
Influenced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ron Arad, Behrens begins his designs with CAD design software, then "hardens" the design with line drawings and a 3D computer model. A firm believer in creativity as science, ideas often come as he is relaxing. "Creative thought is not a moment of eureka," he said. "It's a science, an art, a method to the madness.”