As a Nordic design lover, I am always inspired by pieces from the past. Yet what I find truly exciting is how these strongly held values and deep-rooted traditions are being reimagined to reflect our lives today.
The recently launched KIN collection from longstanding Danish homewares brand ArchitectMade is the perfect example of this.
Working in collaboration with the renowned, award winning Norwegian designer, Lars Beller Fjetland, these beautifully crafted and honest pieces combine a modern sustainable approach with the timeless design qualities we all know and love.
So, when ArchitectMade, a brand I’ve featured on the blog many times, gave me the chance to chat with Lars Beller Fjetland about the project I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Here’s what Lars had to tell me:
You have collaborated with leading Danish design brands before, but what for you makes ArchitectMade so special?
I personally believe that every AchitectMade product has an iconic essence to it, and the designs are always original. Their bench of designers is undoubtedly one of the most impressive in the industry and separates them from their competitors.
ArchitectMade are also successful at launching completely new products, they don’t cater to short lived trends, but instead aim at creating timeless pieces that can outlive their owners.
Your latest series KIN, produced in collaboration with ArchitectMade, focuses on friends and family, but what was the inspiration behind it?
This project developed in an organic way over several years. I designed a collection of wooden birds back in 2012 and I had so much fun playing around with different shapes and material combinations. I knew that I wanted to further challenge the materials and level of detailing that could be achieved by solely working with solid wood. The main challenge however was to come up with a suitable concept, that would allow me to design a family of related objects.
The first breakthrough occurred when I came across some traditional Kokeshi dolls while doing research for another project. I was amazed by the visual strength of the simplistic yet refined shapes that define these traditional hand painted dolls. The oversized heads balanced so perfectly on the cylindrical bodies giving these dolls an unmistakable visual signature. It was love at first sight.
I decided that I wanted to incorporate some of the ‘Kokeshi-dna’ into my project, but the challenge would be to solve all the details in solid wood rather than using the traditional method involving paint.
The overall theme of “friends and family” presented itself once I started to develop the different sizes and characters. I loved how the various figurines interacted with each other, displaying emotions and manifesting relations. This phenomenon was further strengthened by the introduction of the moving head. It can only be described as a Eureka moment.
The KIN figures are made from a combination of walnut, mahogany and maple. What is it about combining natural materials that you find so fascinating?
Combining materials allows you to create both visual and tactile contrasts and harmonies, which I believe is evident in the KIN collection.
The material combination I chose for the figurines is all about designing high contrast to emphasise the various elaborate details and at the same time creating something that you immediately want to touch and interact with.
I really want to encourage people to play with them, as this type of object should be more than just another pretty thing to look at.
As a responsible designer, who consciously works both sustainably and ethically, what for you, does this bring to the finished product?
I exclusively work with natural materials and the main reason for this is because I’m 100% convinced that it is the most sustainable option in the long run. Natural materials like wood gain beauty as they age, and I believe this is key in terms of increasing the life expectancy of a product.
I also aim at operating on the sideline of the ever changing trends, creating objects that have the potential to also appeal to future generations. Long lived products are sustainable products.
What other exciting projects and partnerships can we look forward to in 2020?
I’m working on a variety of new project ranging in scale from small accessories to larger architectural products. 2020 is definitely going to be a very hectic year with launches in Europe and in the US.
Thank you so much to Lars for chatting with me. To find out more and to shop the KIN collection please visit the ArchitectMade website.
ArchitectMade kindly gifted the products featured in this post, but all words and opinions are my own.
All images by Nicola Capper.