Born in 1958 in Essen, Germany, designer Axel Kufus grew up in Recklinghausen. After high school, he worked as a cabinetry apprentice in Kempen from 1977 to 1979. From 1979 to 1982, he collaborated with sculptor Richard Mühlemeier in Hesse. From 1982 through 1986, he worked with artist Ulrike Holthöfer in Berlin and Munich. In 1983, he earned his Master of Carpentry certification from Bad Wildungen. Between 1984 and 1986, he studied industrial design at the University of the Arts, Berlin. In 1986 to 1993, he participated in the Crelle Workshop (which he also co-founded) in Berlin, designing and producing furniture. Between 1987 and 1992, Kufus collaborated with Jasper Morrison and Andreas Brandolini on a variety of installations, city planning projects, and exhibition designs under the umbrella of Utilism International. He established his own Berlin studio in 1988. His clients to date include, among many others, Cappellini, Magis, BMW, and the Berlin Academy of Arts.
Kufus has actively participated in education for much of his career. From 1993 to 2003, he was a professor of product design at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Since 2004, he has served as a professor of design at the University of the Arts, Berlin. Between 2007 and 2011, he was also director of the Institute for Product and Process Design at the University of the Arts. Between 2009 and 2011, he was part of the management team of the Graduate School for the Arts and Sciences at the University of the Arts. Between 2011 and 2012, he also lectured at the Graduate School for the Arts and Sciences.
Kufus lives and works in Berlin.