Paul Hendrikx and Frank Hanssen are the founders of Studio Mango who met at the Technical University of Delft while studying industrial design. From there, the pair has gone on to establish a busy design practice and build a portfolio of products that range from lighting and furniture to medical and mobility-based accessories. They work with public spaces and architecture and one of their recent projects is the design of an African girls' school, which they did at no charge. As Paul says, "I think that design is a genuine tool to help people in need." More Studio Mango after the jump.
What we try to create is innovation design; not only do companies of designer furniture, lighting and accessories approach us for projects, but we also get contacted for more industrial design and technical products. And since we like creating, we take on most challenges if the company and people fit with our philosophy. We think that a product should have a reason for existing, that it should bring something new to the world. So the innovation we put into our products can be in a new type of material we use, a new philosophy or playing with a production method; as long as it isn't standard and straightforward we will make it. We don't want to limit ourselves to design always in a certain trademark style.
What were the most well-received Studio Mango products at Milan this year and why do you think that is?
Many people were amazed about the Jesus clock, and discussions broke out all around the item between fans and people who didn't like it that much. But that's good, design and art should be able to provoke discussion. All people left the stand smiling though, when we told our philosophy behind the product. "Jesus, look at the time" is a sentence uttered often nowadays: in this hasty, modern world everybody seems to have too little time. And really Jesus doesn't have anything to do with time, so we wanted to make the Christian religious icon important for people from all walks of life. From Jew to Hindu, everybody needs the time. Other products which did particularly well were the Wired Chandelier and the Lightdrop lamps.
This is a tough question, but if you had to pick just one of your products or projects to represent what Studio Mango is all about, which one would it be?
Indeed a tough question, but at the moment we all adore our New Persians carpet collection, which we designed for Umbra and is due late 2009.
We will have to wait, but we look forward to seeing those ... What's next for Studio Mango?
We are working on a large number of projects, but the design world is a bit quiet now in this time of crisis. We have about 50 products for 20 different companies which have all been put on hold because of the lack of investment funds. But our more industrial design-led projects are going strong. At the end of 2009 we have another exhibition planned in Amsterdam, and after that we'll see where the future takes us.