Heard



Caveat: I snapped the photos on the go, using my smartphone, so the quality varies.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should also mention that I did not see nearly all the exhibitions; in fact, I saw just a few. I am easily overstimulated. There is no doubt I would have come across even more beautiful quality products, created by dedicated people, had I had the necessary stamina.



Wow, were we ever ready to come out and play! And like cows being let out to grass for the first time in spring, we skipped on to the pasture to munch on more or less green and sustainable initiatives.

Did you see anything interesting, I routinely asked my many and highly valued professional acquaintances when we ran into each other in streets and squares or met at evening events over canapés and glasses of bubbly during 3daysofdesign last week in Copenhagen. When in turn they asked, ‘And what have you seen?’ I hesitated.

Because, sure, there were many really nice products to see around the city, spread out over a seemingly endless array of locations, but to be honest, I am not terribly interested in seeing yet another chair, another coffee table, another bed, designed by XX for YY, and I am even less interested in the fact that YY has relaunched yet another design classic.

What really interests me is why and how, and that is why I am even more focused on what I heard this past week than what I saw.

This is not to say that I don’t appreciate the value of quality design. My everyday life would not be the same without the added value design brings. But form without content and forethought makes no summer; on the contrary.

What we talked about

At Designmuseum Danmark, which is otherwise closed for renovation, the Lifestyle & Design Cluster hosted the exhibition Circular Furniture Days. Here, the young company Tekstilpap (Textile Cardboard) stood out; together with the paper mill Bruunshåb Gl Papfabrik, which I wrote about in HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 4, (sneak peak here) they have developed cardboard with a high share of textile fibres – from fabric that was slated for incineration! I am looking forward to following their progress.

The Designmuseum also hosted a series of talks that welcomed both an in-person and an online audience. I enjoyed ‘The Future Power of Crafts); if you would like to hear the talk you can stream it here

Another talk, this one hosted by the basement gallery Udstillingssted for Tekstil (Exhibition Venue for Textile), spoke to my understanding of the sort of design approach that is needed to meet the call for fewer but higher-quality products in order to reduce the resource impact.

In this talk, Marie Louise Rosholm (whom you can read about here) and Luca Niehetto spoke about their collaboration to create the world’s first ‘fully fashion’ knitted sofa (meaning that the fabric is knitted into the form of the sofa, with no waste).
Among the several interesting points in their talk, I was particularly intrigued by three. The first point was that it took 15 years from the idea was conceived until the product was launched; a degree of patience that is only possible when the idea in question is truly innovative. This first point leads to the second: Marie Louise explained that the process was only possible because the two innovators were able to engage hands-on in product development at the factory together with their Italian manufacturer; a manufacturer who believed in originality. The third point was Luca’s explanation about how this process differed from most of his other design projects. Usually, he is asked to design a product that ‘the market demands’; in other words, a product that already exists, which consumers have been found to have a good response to and which other companies now want their own version of! Fashion furniture, in other words.

This latter point explains why, in showroom after showroom, I saw almost identical furniture designs – same design expressions, same colourways, same target groups. Furniture that any experienced observer will know is not going to survive for long, as it has no originality but is simply a decoction of the spirit of the time.

Friends, those days really ought to be behind us.

Apropos of friends, at A. Petersen I ran into my old friend from Stockholm, Stefan Nilsson. Stefan is an international trendspotter and commonly known as Trend Stefan.
Like many others in the design business, Stefan has travelled all over Europe this past month, in his case to report back on what he observes. He shares his observations on his own website here and also acts as a commissioned trendspotter for clients. Stefan’s assessment was unequivocal: the strongest trend right now is anti-consumption, which means if you want to make money, you have to offer maintenance and repairs and experiences!




HØRT

Forbehold: Billederne er taget med mobilkamera i farten, derfor blandet kvalitet.
Jeg skylder retfærdigvis at sige at jeg langt fra har set alle udstillinger, tværtimod, jeg har set relativt få. Jeg bliver meget hurtigt overstimuleret. Jeg kunne med sikkerhed være stødt på mange flere fine og gennemarbejdede produkter, fremstillet af dedikerede mennesker, hvis jeg havde været mere udholdende.


Øj, øj hvor vi trængte til at komme på græs. Som en flok forårskåde kører tumlede vi ud på engen for at mæske os i mere eller mindre grønne og bæredygtige initiativer.

Har du set noget interessant? spurgte jeg rutinemæssigt mine mange og værdsatte branchebekendtskaber, når løb på hinanden på gader og stræder eller til aftenarrangementer med canapeer og boblende vinøse drikke under forgangne uges 3daysofdesign i København. Når de kvitterede med et ”og hvad har du set” blev jeg tøvende.
For jo, der var absolut mange fine produkter at se i byen, på uendelig mange adresser, men for at være ærligt, så interesserer det mig ikke så forfærdelig meget at se endnu en ny stol, endnu et sofabord, endnu en seng, designet af xx for yy, endnu mindre interesserer det mig at yy har relanceret endnu en klassiker.

Det som for alvor interesserer mig er, hvorfor og hvordan, og jeg er derfor mere optaget af hvad jeg har hørt i ugens løb, end af hvad jeg har set.
Det skal ikke forstås som manglende anerkendelse af værdien af gennemarbejdet design. Min hverdag ville ikke være den samme uden den merværdi design tilfører. Bare gør form uden indhold og omtanke ingen sommer, tværtimod.

Det talte vi om


På det renoveringslukkede Designmuseum Danmark var Lifestyle & Design Cluster vært ved udstillingen Circular Furniture Days. Her brillerede blandt andet den unge virksomhed Tekstilpap, som sammen med Bruunshåb Gl Papfabrik, som jeg skrev om i HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 4, (du kan læse et udsnit af artiklen her) har udviklet pap med en høj andel tekstile fibre, vel at mærke tekstiler, som ellers ville være endt på bålet! Jeg glæder mig til at følge deres videre færd.

Samme Designmuseum var vært ved en række talks, alle kunne følges både live og online. Jeg hørte med interesse ”Håndværkets styrke i fremtiden”, hvis du vil høre denne talk kan den streames her

En anden talk, som fandt sted i Udstillingssted for Tekstil, talte til min forståelse af hvilken tilgang man nødvendigvis skal have til design, når kravet er færre produkter af højere kvalitet, for en mindre resursemæssig belastning.
Her fortalte Marie Louise Rosholm (som du kan læse om her) og Luca Niehetto om deres samarbejde om verdens første ”fully fashion” strikkede sofa (dvs. at testilet er strikket i den form sofaen har, uden nogen form for spild).
Der var flere interessante pointer i deres talk, jeg hæftede mig især ved tre:
Den første, at det har taget 15 år fra ideen blev født til produktet blev lanceret. En tålmodighed man kun har, når man for alvor skaber noget nyt. Første pointe fører til den næste. Marie Louise fortalte hvordan processen kun har været muligt, fordi de har haft adgang til at produktudvikle sammen med deres italienske producent, ´hands on´, på fabrikken. En producent som har troet på originalitet. Tredje pointe, Luca fortalte hvordan processen i dette tilfælde, har adskilt sig fra de fleste af hans andre designopgaver. Oftest han bliver bedt om at designe et produkt ”som markedet beder om”, læs et produkt som allerede findes, som man har registreret at forbrugerne responderer positivt på, og som endnu en virksomhed vil have fremstillet deres version af! Modemøbler med andre ord.

Denne pointe forklarer hvorfor jeg showroom efter showroom så næsten ens møbler, samme formsprog, samme farveholding, samme målgrupper.
Møbler som det trænede øje ved, ikke vil overleve mange år, fordi de ikke er originale, men blot et afkog på tidsånden.

Venner den tid bør være forbi.

Apropos venner, hos A Petersen løb jeg på min gamle ven fra Stockholm Stefan Nilsson, Stefan er rejsende i trends, og går under navnet Trend Stefan. Stefan har lige som mange andre i designbranchen rejst Europa tynd den seneste måned, for hans vedkommende for at rapportere. Rapportere det gør han dels på egen hjemmeside her dels trendspotter han på bestilling. Stefan er ikke i tvivl, stærkeste trend er antikonsumption, det betyder at hvis man vil tjene penge, så skal man tilbyde vedligehold og reparation og oplevelse!