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Interview with founders of Vermland, Thorup Copenhagen and Veark

During 3daysofdesign, Vermland will present existing and new design releases while joining fellow Danish brands Veark and Throup Copenhagen for a curated exhibition that aims to challenge the concept of materialism through a strong focus on craft and materials. Here, the three founders of each brand, Anton Bak, Kasper Thorup and Christian Lorentzen discusses their view on design and try to articulate a manifest for a new era of Danish design.


Christian Lorentzen: The common thread between our brands is that we all strive to create honest designs. Everything is laid out on the table; you can see the joints and how it is constructed and produced. Perhaps we draw inspiration from Bauhaus, perhaps we stand on the shoulders of previous generations of Danish architects and designers who created simple, durable, and above all, sincere furniture. We have at least discovered an honesty that I think has been tucked away for many years.

Anton Bak: We lean on a long tradition of design, where one is deeply involved in the process. A love for the untreated material, which is allowed to live in its purest form. This is what we want to emphasise with our design at Vermland.

Kasper Thorup: For me, the material is the starting point in the creation of a design. Once I have figured out which material I want to work with, I move on to the craft itself. I am always curious to acquire new skills, and I seek to work with people who are so skilled in their craft that they dare to challenge traditional methods together with me. I sketch very little before I start shaping my models. That is how I move forward. All three of us cultivate a design that is more rooted in a curiosity about the capabilities and shaping of materials, and we work more traditionally in the creation of products rather than starting by sketching a shape on a computer screen.

Anton Bak: Form follows function.

Kasper Thorup: And material follows function. New things are constantly being created in the world, and much of it focuses on profit and mass production, so there needs to be a very good reason to create a new design. There is so much design that does not last very long, and that is what we need to move away from. Our common ground as brands is that we select materials that last a long time and only become more beautiful over time. The product should be something the owner can pass down through generations.

Anton Bak: I do not have a burning desire to be wildly original in my design. For me, it is more important that I can vouch for what we produce. I believe it is the quality of both the materials and the fact that we have had our hands in every part of the production that makes you attracted to our products. Because you sense everything that precedes the finished product.

Christian Lorentzen: In terms of expression, it does not have to be a grand spectacle.

Anton Bak: It is important to me that the atmosphere in the workshop can be sensed in the final product, so you can almost see the wood shavings flying in the air and inhale the scent of wood being cut. This is also the purest way to eliminate the alienation from the furniture

and objects we live with. Once you understand how your kitchen is sanded and cut, you have a completely different connection to it. Maybe even love.

Christian Lorentzen: We need to get back to where the consumer also has an understanding of the material and where it comes from. That it is actually wood or iron and not some hocus pocus material that was just invented. For many years, innovation has been a buzzword. It has been about optimising processes in factories and inventing new materials. New features. For a long period, you should not be able to see fingerprints on your products. Ideally, you should not be able to see that they were used.

Kasper Thorup: The greatest compliment I can get is when people are drawn to my design and want to touch it. For me, a complete design is one that makes you want to use your senses; listen, touch, and smell when you interact with it. Sometimes it takes a bit of a deeper material explanation to get people to understand the beauty in, for example, brass patinating over time. Others appreciate the patina but want it to happen a little faster. Patina develops if they live with the lamps, interact with them, and let them breathe. Then they develop infinitely beautifully. A design should invite use and be cherished for many, many years.

Anton Bak: I also think you can place more responsibility on the customer and say that if they buy this product, they also have an obligation to take care of it. Consumer awareness of surrounding themselves with quality products that require some attention is, in my opinion, important if the enormous consumption in the world is to be reduced.

Kasper Thorup: Our ambition as designers must be to create products where it is possible to replace broken components and where the owner has such a love for the product that they want to care for and maintain it. If something is sustainable, it must be such a product.

Christian Lorentzen: It is a balancing act between insisting on making the best possible product, which may never break, and being a company that makes money...

Anton Bak: But if you insist that your knives are something to take care of, then your customers will pass the story on to their neighbors. It is about getting ambassadors for your product. When we have made kitchens and other larger solutions for people, and they beam with pride over their homes, then we have done our best to get more customers.

Christian Lorentzen: Yes, you are right. The things we surround ourselves with are identity-forming. Whether we like it or not. The chair, the kitchen, the table, the knife, or the car, they all tell something about who we are. And we need to appeal to those who appreciate good craftsmanship, quality materials, and honest design

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