I got my studio space in Østerbro in Copenhagen about two months ago, after an autumn spent deciding on whether to set up shop in London or Copenhagen. Finding a studio was more important to me than finding an apartment. I need a space of a certain size to work in, as I experiment with all kinds of materials, as well as designs in wood. I spend every last penny on new materials and thus have tons lying around. To exercise my creativity and indulge in the playful side of designing, I needed a space with room to move around and make a bit of a mess sometimes. This basement studio, which I share with my girlfriend, who’s an artist, proved perfect for that purpose.
I graduated from Central Saint Martins as a product designer last summer, and initially felt a bit torn between going home to Denmark or staying in London, where I had built up a great network and where interest in my designs had really started to grow. But because of the huge differences in rental costs between London and Copenhagen, I ended up settling in Copenhagen, a decision I’m very happy about today seeing as I’m also now building momentum as a designer on the home stage. I will continue to travel back and forth to London, though, for meetings and networking – and not least because a handful of my Poured Table designs have recently been picked up by the design store The Conran Shop.
The Poured Table was what really got me noticed as a designer. It was a project focused on materials in which I investigated the behaviour and quality of a given material through quite intensive experimentation. When pouring different colours of a material into moulds, the material would come together to create its own patterns that were difficult to predict. These ‘frozen moments’ make every product unique.
There is a growing trend among young designers to work on the storytelling aspect of their creations as well as showing consumers the process behind the design. While working on my graduate project in London, I created a pop-up factory, The High Street Factory, in Clerkenwell, where people could come in from the street and watch me work. I rented the space for five days and it gave me an amazing opportunity to interact with consumers and ask them what they thought of the stuff I was doing. Inviting people into the creative process itself, sharing one’s thoughts behind the design, makes the consumer feel included and close to the design in a whole new way.
My collection of wooden chairs and stools in cherry wood, beech, and walnut are in some ways a bit less experimental than some of the things I’ve done, which have been a bit crazy. As a Dane I believe it difficult to escape the Danish design tradition, no matter how many years you spend abroad as a designer. Growing up in Denmark surrounded by the design classics of the 50s and 60s and with the everpresent design tradition that in so many ways permeates our society and daily lives – it just shapes you in more ways than you might think when you’re young. When I tell people that I’m from Denmark I can see something falling into place in their eyes. It’s something about the minimalistic approach to design we Danes tend to practise. Clean shapes, thank you. Not too many ornaments or frills here. Troelsflensted.com