Kristina Dam at northmodern

The creatively octopus-like Copenhagen-based Kristina Dam is making her mark on the design world as both an artist and interior designer, and recently she has even caught the eyes of the editors at both Wallpaper and Monocle, to mention a few. Here she opens up about the secret to her shooting star-career.

Please describe your thoughts behind your recent works.

“At northmodern I’ll be showing tables, mirrors, magazine holders and other items from my interior collection. I always work in the cross-fields between art, graphic design and interiors, and I aim to seamlessly blend these worlds in my designs. A mirror becomes more than just a mirror hanging on the wall, as it can also be viewed as a sculptural piece. And a regular magazine holder may be adorned with a marble plate on top so that one can also use it as a side table.”


How is design ideally supposed to affect the lives of those who consume it?

“I would like for more consumers to dare to display sculptural pieces in their homes. People are becoming more open to the idea of things not necessarily having a function but simply existing because they’re beautiful to look at. At the same time, though, a lot of my things do double as both interior and art, as I very much like to challenge the concepts of ‘normal’ interior design pieces and their most obvious functions. The fashion world and the way it has started to engage with interior design inspires me a lot. For some years when I looked to the fashion world, I always found it to be that one step ahead of interior design in terms of boundless creativity. But now the two are more on par.”


What makes design go from good to truly great?

“When it serves multiple purposes besides the obvious.”


Is it possible to uphold one’s individualism as a designer in the face of commercial success?

“I believe so, yes. As for myself, I have made a conscious decision not to feel pressured into designing certain objects or interiors just because they may be trendy right at this moment. I design exactly what I want to design, and as many or few of a given piece as I desire. Naturally you can’t ignore the business side of things when working as a designer, but because I do so many different types of design, some limited editions, other unlimited, I have the freedom to stay in control.”


What do you think is the key to your success as a designer in a world where so many people now work with design in one way or the other?

“The fact that I work with so many different aspects of design – illustration, furniture, photography, sculptural works. I have a design degree with emphasis on graphic design from the school of Architecture and Design at the Royal Danish School of Fine Arts, but even when studying I always had a strong interest in furniture design as well. I just can’t help wanting to work with all kinds of materials! Because I launched Kristina Dam Studio selling illustrations that were quite recognizable, over the past few years people have had to gradually get used to me doing other things as well. But thankfully I have a loyal following of retailers and consumers who seem to understand where I’m going. It’s essential for me to be able to construct my own universe of design in which I get to play around with different styles and materials, and to keep supporting my existing products with new designs.”


To what extent do you view your works and your design identity as Nordic?

“I most definitely see my designs as Nordic and myself as a Nordic designer. There’s no escaping the fact. There’s a certain characteristically Nordic simplicity that permeates all my designs, however individual they may be. In 2014 I created what has since become a pretty popular line of botanical posters, and I put great emphasis on the fact that each image had to convey this simplicity. The way so many people, a lot of interior design bloggers among them, have taken these posters to heart makes me infinitely happy. When design speaks to people individually, that’s when it really starts making sense to me.”