Fredrik Färg has been designing steadily over the past few years, but really seemed to burst onto the global scene with Coat, an armchair that represented the idea of slow fashion that could be updated gradually, and RE:cover, a series of chairs that borrowed from the past. Lately Färg has turned to current fashion as inspiration for his Modus Cover cabinets that incorporate fashion magazines. And if you'd prefer to read them, well, then there's the newly released Skyscrape magazine rack. How could we resist asking Fredrik a few questions?
Since I was a kid, I have been working with my mother's sewing machine. But it is actually just in recent years that more and more of my projects have taken visual inspiration from the fashion world, without me really ever wondering why. It was first when I did my master's degree that I begin to understand that I actually was taking inspiration from fashion more than other things, and this statement by noted French writer Anatole France expresses it well, I think:
"If I got to choose among the vast variety of books that will be published a hundred years after my death, do you know which one I would choose? No, I wouldn't from this future library pick a novel, nor a history book, for as far as it contains anything of interest it is also a novel. My friend, I would simply choose a fashion magazine to see in what manner the women dress, a century after my departure. And these rags would tell me more about the future man than all philosophers, writers, preachers and scientists."
I use fashion as a mirror of our society and history and just love to be seduced by its magical power ....
You have been inspired by old family portraits. What are some of the complications or difficulties in translating inspiration from the past into contemporary products?
In a certain way, the designer faces the same problem as, for example, a writer of children's books. It's all about adding layers of value that trigger the sense and fantasy, no matter the age.
Maybe the difficulty lies in the attempt to create objects that don't need explanations, but still keep the story that was meant to be told. And maybe when you tell the story, you discover yet another layer emerging before you.
For me, it also has been a way to administer my history as much as to express a slight criticism of today's design world. By this way also pay respect to the old things that I like but probably not would use in my home today. I wanted to give old chairs a new look with new combinations and innovations in material and keep something from before ... technology dates time.
You seem to have transitioned from designing lighting to furniture. Is this a permanent move? What do you like best about both areas of focus?
My background is in craft. I did two years of carpenter school between high school and the university of design and craft in Gothenburg, and then spent some years as interior designer working with architectural lighting. Working with lighting has given me knowledge of the value of contrasts. For example, it is not the measurable light that is important, but the contrasts, and how we experience the space. That I think you can only gain by trying and experimenting in the same way as everything else we create. So I actually don't separate the different areas... it's the opposite, they give each other fuel. I am actually working now with a Swedish lighting producer and will do some new design for them.
For the moment am working on a new homepage and some different furniture assignments.
In the autumn I will produce a limited edition of my RE:cover collection and my goal is to present an unlimited edition at Stockholm Furniture Fair 2010.