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After spending last week in sunny Copenhagen, I thought it only right to share with you a recent chat I had with one of Denmark’s leading designers, Mads Sætter-Lassen.
As one half of the design studio, Krøyer-Sætter-Lassen, this talented creative is already responsible for an incredible array of furniture, accessories, and lighting. Working in collaboration with some of the Nordic regions leading brands, his must-have pieces include the Torso Table Lamp for MENU, the Eiffel Wall Lamp for FRAMA, and the Buddy Lamp for Northern.
It was as part of my freelance writing work for the Norwegian design brand that I had the opportunity to catch up with Mads and find out more about his design values, creative practice, and the inspiration behind his Northern award-winning product.
Can you start by telling us a little about your journey and how you discovered your way into design?
As a Dane you grow up surrounded by good design even if you don’t realise it, and throughout my childhood I always had the most fun building things.
The older I got the more curious I became in how the things around me were created, but it wasn’t until I started at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts that I knew furniture and product design was my passion.
It was during my studies that I also met my design partner, Emil Krøyer, whom I founded my design studio, Krøyer-Sætter-Lassen with.
Who are your design heroes and what influence have they had on your creative practice and processes?
Of course I should mention a lot of the old Danish masters, such as Kaare Klint, Børge Mogensen and Poul Kjærholm, but if I had to choose one, it would have to be the Italian modernist, Achille Castiglioni.
For me he was a true innovator, his approach to design was to keep it simple, yet his work was always packed with expression. He continually challenged an object’s practical purpose, and each piece is as useful as it is beautiful.
How would you describe your own design philosophy? What values and principles guide the pieces you make?
I’ve always been an advocate of democratic design, focused on honesty, simplicity, and functionality.
Through my work I like to combine traditional craftsmanship with modern industrial production, preferring to showcase the integrity of the materials rather than embellish products unnecessarily. That being said, I try not to be afraid of ornaments as long as they serve a functional purpose.
What impact and opportunities did winning the Northern Design Award have on your career, and what advice would you give to any aspiring designers?
It was after winning the Northern Design Award in 2015 that I began to take myself seriously as a designer. Anyone looking to turn their passion into their profession needs to truly believe in what they can achieve, and this was the huge confidence boost I needed.
After all, it was my Buddy Table lamp, selected from design schools across the region that was being put into production by a renowned Nordic company. It may have been my first big break, but it still embodies the approach I take today.
What was the initial idea for the Buddy lamp and how did this concept grow into the final product we know and love today?
Like all my work the Buddy table lamp was designed to solve a problem. As a student I had a rather small desk in my room to work from, so the idea was to create a lamp where I could save some space by merging functions together. I like to call it ‘the little helper everyone needs.’
There were plenty of challenges along the way, as getting the balance and proportions right was key in this design. I’m really happy with how strong the final design looks and the series of products it has now become. All three lamps are very minimal but at the same time have a lot of character.
What might we find on your desk right now, what design projects are you excitedly researching and developing?
From our studio in Copenhagen, Emil and I work on product, furniture design and interiors for clients across the world.
At the moment, I am developing a number of different lamps as well as working on a large-scale public fountain, so very different projects. I guess it is this constant variety I enjoy most about being a designer.
Thank you so much to Mads for chatting with me. This interview first appeared on the Northern website.
To find out more about Northern and to shop their collection please visit the Northern website.
All photography courtesy of Northern.