INTERVIEW - CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF NEW WORKS
A few words on your background?
I’m born and raised in Norway, Bergen, and moved to Copenhagen when I was 20 years old to study architecture at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts. During the process of becoming an architect my interest for creating furniture grew. I started working for HAY, drew furniture besides my studies and participated in exhibitions and contests within design. This gave me the first small successes you need as a student, if you want to stand out in the design industry being an upcoming designer and architect. Despite my growing interest for furniture, I did finish my education as an architect. A decision I am very happy with, since it gave me methods, concepts and different understandings of creating – which I still use today when working with furniture.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment, we have a high focus on our furniture collection. We are working on some exciting news for the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair in February, where New Works will attend. According to news, there is one collaboration in particularly I want to call attention to; A Chinese design team named Lim + Lu. They have created an innovative interpretation on a basic lounge series, where each part functions independent as well as in group.
If you could choose a design you wished you've had designed, which one would it be?
That surely is a difficult question, since there is so many good designs to choose from. I would like to start by narrowing it down to the category of lighting, where I do have a favourite. It is a small table lamp called Cappello, made by Canadian company Molo. The lamp has a unique construction which holds references to an idol of mine; Archille Castiglioni. The marble base of the lamp is a byproduct of the floor lamp Arco, designed by the Castiglioni brothers. The base tells a story by its remaining machine marks and stands in great contrast to the very light paper cap which you slide along the steel wire to adjust the light. I have it at home and I repeatedly get fascinated by the details and the clever thoughts behind the construction of it. Within companies, I must mention FLOS as an idol company of mine. They do, in my opinion have some of the best products within the category of lighting. Their technical and honest design methods continue to fascinate me.
What inspires you?
As the creative director of New Works, I always look back at our four core values; Natural, Experimental, Rough and Craftsmanship. These topics are definitely what appeals to me the most, when working with design. In addition to that, we are in New Works very fond of the Scandinavian design heritage, but not in the obvious way. With that said, it has been very important to me for New Works not to appear as a direct offspring of the Scandinavian design style. I wanted New Works to be a brand whom challenged the commercial Scandinavian design industry, by adding a more unpolished feeling. With this point of view, I find great inspiration in the work of artists and craftsmen. They have played a big role in the making of the New Works identity.
"We have a philosophy in New Works which says; if a collection contains ten products, three of those should be an experiment – an artwork originated from a collaboration with craftsmen."
This is a decision I made not only because of my own interest and inspiration in the profession, but also to push the boundaries of the commercial design industry. Some of these projects will maintain their status as an art piece, while others can evolve to become commercial successes, and thereby change the understanding of what commercial is – little by little. As an example of this, our Crowd Candle Holder by David Taylor has been a great success for New Works. In addition to that, I would like to mention our collaboration with David Derkson, concerning the newest lamp of New Works: Moiré. A whole new proposal of how a wall light can work and look. Even though, as mentioned not all art pieces become commercial successes, these are not conceived as failures. They will function as a statement for the brand of New Works, and thereby to a higher extent work as a marketing element.
What is your favourite material to work with?
Wood, without a doubt. I know it sounds a bit odd since the New Works collection does not contain much wood. As mentioned earlier it has been our intention from the beginning to prove that New Works is able to showcase the Scandinavian style from a different point of view, where materials such as metal and stone can prove their worth through craftsmanship. By taking a step out of what I would call the Scandinavian bubble, I wish to prove that in the future, New Works is capable of containing wood in the collection. In a tighter and more sophisticated context than seen before.
Greatest inspiration during your career?
I have a lot of personal favourites of modern times, but I want to start out by mentioning my first meeting with the world of architecture and design - I cannot get past Arne Jacobsen who was my first great inspiration. It was in the beginning of my career as an architect where also the Danish architects Kay Fisker and Finn Juhl caught my attention. If we should discuss international architecture I would like to mention Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier. These men have created a great amount of elegant architecture which at the same time stands out as rough and ahead of their time. If I should mention the stars of today within architecture, design and art, Olafur Eliasson will be one of them. He creates incredible things and I truly respect his work process.
Best Life advise ever given?
Within the design field, there is something I often notice about people – and something I once was caught up in myself; mixing your work-person with your private-person. I always remind myself how privileged I am that I get to work with what I love the most, but also that it is just a job. It can give you an awful lot of stress and worries if you equate what you do with who you are. In the design industry, the amount of personality in the outcome of what you do is fairly big. Everyone sees you as a designer through your work and relates this to who you are as a person. And right there, at the end of the day, it is so important to tell yourself that it is just work. You must lower your shoulders and remember who you are as a person.